Lando Norris says his qualifying session was “awful” after a small mistake resulted in his best lap time being deleted and dropped him from third place to start seventh at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
McLaren looked slightly off the pace on Friday but showed strong performance on Saturday, with Norris comfortably leading the way over teammate Daniel Ricciardo. On his final Q3 attempt, Norris set the fastest first two sectors and looked like he might snatch pole position before ending up just shy in second place, but before he was bested by Red Bull’s Sergio Perez his lap time was deleted for exceeding track limits by a tiny margin at Turn 9.
“It is a qualifying track,” Norris said. “Today is the day I did not want to make any mistakes and I made a pretty big one, so we will see what we can do tomorrow. It is going to be very difficult. We are starting around cars that are definitely slower, but the race is still a different story.
“It was not very easy to overtake last year here. But there are a few changes this year so hopefully we can take advantage of them and try to make up the places that I lost out today. We are doing a good job. We just need to keep it up and try to forget about now. I’m just looking ahead to the race now.
“At the moment I’m disappointed, maybe hungry tomorrow. But for tonight I do not feel great because we should have been second, third, fourth or whatever. But I am P7 instead which is pretty awful. Up until now everything has gone well. The team have done a really good job all weekend. But I let them down, made one mistake, which is quite annoying. I need to take it on the chin and accept the mistake and look ahead to the race tomorrow.”
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Despite facing multiple questions about the track limits, Norris says he has no complaints and sees it as his mistake rather than a harsh penalty.
“Without track limits the racing would be awful. There would be no rules, so they are there for a good reason. I do not feel like they have had me over — it is the same for everyone else. It is just that I went wider than everyone else. Simple as that, I made a mistake. I should be a lot higher up than I am.
“There is a rule and it is quite simple. You are not allowed to go over it. But when you are going 200, 250kph, it is quite hard to judge literally this much. It is not as easy as it might look on TV. As drivers we make it look a lot easier. But in qualifying you’re pushing and you want to go that little bit quicker.
“It is on the exit of a corner where you can have a small correction, a bit of wind or something, and just go that little bit wider. It is such a simple, small thing. But I took too much risk, basically, and I paid the price for it.”