Lando Norris performed brilliantly during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, despite still not feeling “100%” following his recent tonsillitis diagnosis.
The Brit will start from fifth at the Circuit de Monaco, ahead of both Mercedes F1 drivers.
Norris has spent the few days between last weekend’s race in Spain, and this weekend’s race in Monaco resting up, after being diagnosed with tonsillitis following the Spanish Grand Prix.
The McLaren F1 Team driver was ill all weekend in Spain, with his participation in this weekend’s GP initially in doubt.
Norris has recovered well though, despite still feeling slightly under the weather.
The 22-year-old out-qualified his team-mate yet again, with his position as number 1 driver at the British team continuing to look cemented.
Norris explained after qualifying how you “want to feel 100%” at Monaco, and that he’ll need to rest up ahead of the race.
“I think Monaco is a track where you want to feel 100% and I still don’t feel 100% to be honest,” Norris said.
“It’s tough, it takes a lot of energy out of you this circuit but it’s all worth it at the same time. It’s a lot of fun, especially when you have a good result, it always make it that extra bit better.
“I’m happy but I still need to recover tonight to make sure I do a good job tomorrow,” he added.
Norris and the team have been doing all they can to ensure he is as fit as possible, under the circumstances.
The British driver has been limiting his number of interviews, as well as taking onboard plenty of fluids and sleep.
Norris has also been receiving help from the team doctor and his personal trainer.
Overtaking is virtually impossible at Monaco, however, with rain predicted it could make for an exciting race.
The McLaren driver is hoping progress will be possible, but is aware that it’ll be “difficult”.
“The car was good all weekend and I think today we showed that we extracted a lot out of the car, and we put in some good laps,” continued Norris.
“It wasn’t quite enough to be ahead of the top two teams but good enough to be ahead of everyone else, which is always the next step. So, I’m happy but there is one more job to do tomorrow,” he explained.
“The focus is to try and go forward if possible – but it’s difficult – so we will try to stay where we are as a minimum and get some good points,” the 22-year-old concluded.
Norris qualified nine places ahead of his under pressure team-mate, with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying 14th at Monaco.
2016 World Champion Nico Rosberg is full of sympathy for the struggling Australian; the German explained how Ricciardo is in a “painful situation”.
“Daniel was just a couple of years ago a top-three or four driver in F1, and it’s so difficult to explain what happened,” Rosberg said to Sky Sports.
“I really feel for him because this is a painful situation.”
McLaren are reportedly becoming frustrated with Ricciardo not meeting their expectations, with the Australian only finishing in the top ten once so far this season.
Ricciardo, who crashed heavily in FP2, was clearly disappointed after qualifying.
“I just couldn’t build and get the grip and find that big step… that’s still the struggle,” explained the usually smiling Australian driver.
“Unfortunately another not great quali for Monaco.”
“It’s not the result I wanted,” he added in McLaren’s qualifying report. “I was just trying to get back into the flow of it in FP3, and then we made a few set-up changes for qualifying.
“Q1 felt a bit more competitive, and I think we did some decent laps,” Ricciardo revealed. “There were a couple of mistakes here and there, but I felt like the pace was in it at the time.
“And then Q2, when everyone was able to make that step, I struggled to get more out of the car and felt I was at the limit.
“We’ll keep at it and hopefully it rains tomorrow,” he concluded.