Lando Norris believes his crash in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix cost him a chance of pole position and he’s eager to make up for it in Sunday’s race.
After topping Q1 and Q2, Norris crashed in very wet conditions at the start of the final part of qualifying, losing control through Eau Rouge and hitting the barrier on the left side of the track before spinning across to the opposite side. Given how strong he had been up to that point, Norris feels pole position was on the cards but a combination of factors led to his error.
“Everything was going extremely well,” Norris said. “Since the first lap in Q1 things were going perfectly and the car was hooked up — I felt confident in the car. It was tricky going out in Q3 because even on the out-lap I was saying how wet it was and saying it should be stopped or something because I was aquaplaning quite a bit, so it was just a difficult situation to be in: how much do you want to push and how much do you not?
“I think it’s a combination of pushing a bit too much for the weather at that point, aquaplaning a little bit in the middle of Eau Rouge — which obviously doesn’t end too well and ends up being the way I was in the end.
“Of course I feel bad because things were going very well — the car was on fire. Q1 and Q2 were extremely good and I think I could quite easily have fought for pole position, but I’ve now given the team a lot of work to do and probably a very late night, but not a lot I can do now.”
Lewis Hamilton referenced a bump at the bottom of Eau Rouge where track resurfacing took place after the circuit was recently flooded. Norris believes that bump also played a part but that it just made it tougher for him to keep the car on the right line.
“There’s like a different tarmac strip at the bottom and it definitely makes it a lot trickier, especially when it’s that wet. I think it’s one of the laps when it basically wasn’t flat out. It wasn’t like I tried to do it flat out on my first attempt — I still lifted and whatever!
“But you get these tramlines from where people go and as soon as you go a little bit off-line at the speed I was going, you just hit all the standing water… and these bumps going through Eau Rouge were too much for what I had to do.
“So I think at the end of the day I guess it’s my mistake and my bad, but I didn’t think I was taking too many risks at the same time — it was just the conditions were so tough. From what I heard, a lot of other drivers were complaining that it should get stopped at the same time. Of course I’m frustrated and annoyed, but we’ll try and make up for it tomorrow.”
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Provisionally ninth on the grid before any potential penalties are applied, Norris believes he can recover to score points in the race regardless of where he starts, and is actually hoping for similar conditions on Sunday.
“I’m just excited that I’m OK. Obviously the car wasn’t and the boys have got a big job to do putting everything back as it should be for tomorrow. I don’t think we know just yet the extent of everything and where I’m going to be starting on the grid tomorrow.
“I’m very happy for George (Russell) as well, I was watching in the ambulance on the way — I wanted to watch quali still — and I was cheering on George to go for that pole.
“So I’m excited. Spa, anything can happen and we obviously had good pace, the car was really nice to drive today. It’s cool, it’s fun conditions to drive in — maybe not quite at the end but the whole of Q1 and Q2 was challenging and it’s what we love as drivers. Hopefully it’s not too bad tomorrow and I can try to come back through.”