McLaren’s Lando Norris believes he could have done better than P7 in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix had it not been for a mistake on his final run.
The Briton testified after the two practice sessions on Friday that the track in Florida is difficult to navigate off the racing line due to limited grip on the marbles, and Max Verstappen was caught out in his final run when he lost control of the car at Turns Five and Six, giving Charles Leclerc the opportunity to snatch pole away from the Dutchman, which he duly did.
Norris reckons that a mistake he made in his own right, having gone third quickest in Q2, cost him relative to Valtteri Bottas and Sir Lewis Hamilton ahead of him, but overall has few complaints after making Q3 for the third consecutive weekend.
“I’m happy. It’s very tricky, very tough to put the laps together, just easy to make mistakes,” he said.
“Maybe not the happiest. I made a mistake on my final lap, I didn’t go as quick as I did in Q2. I just made one small mistake, it just cost me so much.
“It hurt a little bit because I could have maybe been two positions ahead. The mistakes maybe cost me a couple of tenths and that would have been two positions.
“So [I am] a bit annoyed about that, but nevertheless I’m still happy. It was a tough day. I think we made good progress all weekend from where we were.
“We didn’t think we’d be even in Q3, so I’m happy, and a good chance for us to score some points tomorrow.”
The 22-year-old observes that he has been running consistently this weekend, so he is optimistic that the promiscuous pace advantage in the midfield fight this season might not be abandoning him on race day, and some overnight rain at the circuit may also play a factor in the race.
“It’s tough, I don’t think we are out of position, let’s say,” he explained.
“I felt like I was driving well today and putting the laps in, even though I made the mistake at the end.
“Just because we are behind doesn’t necessarily mean we have a much better car than them, because of where I was in Q2.
“We will see, it’s a bit of unexplored territory with the race, doing so many laps on a single set of tyres, the track, how it will change throughout the race with the stones and the c**p that’s on it.
“But we are in a good position, so we can score some good points from there.”
Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo will start the race in 14th after a fire-up issue prevented him from warming the tyres properly ahead of his final run in Q2, compounding what has already been a difficult start to the year for the Australian.