Belgian GP qualifying: Lando Norris ok after big shunt at Eau Rouge

Belgian GP qualifying: Lando Norris ok after big shunt at Eau Rouge

Lando Norris was lucky to walk away relatively unscathed after a big crash at Eau Rouge, during a wet qualifying session at the Belgian GP.

McLaren driver Lando Norris’ qualifying session came to a quick end at a rain soaked Belgian GP. After putting his car in the top spot during both Q1 and Q2, he was the first to venture out on a waterlogged track for the Q3 session.

During his out-lap Norris conveyed over team radio the amount of water sitting on the track, and the fact that he had aquaplaned at several points.

It all came unstuck as he entered Eau Rouge, with his MCL35M losing grip, sliding him into the wall at high speed.

“First of all, I’m doing good, but I’ve been better! I think just a bit bruised,” Norris said. “Obviously, it was quite a big impact and I think my body’s just been thrown around a little bit but I’m good. I’m ready to race tomorrow and I want to get back on track already because it didn’t end the way I wanted it to.

“Everything was going extremely well. Since the first lap in Q1, things were going perfectly and the car was feeling hooked up. I felt confident with the car. It was tricky going out in Q3 because, even on the out-lap, I was saying how wet it was because I was aquaplaning quite a bit. It was just a difficult situation to be in. How much do you want to push? How much do you not? I think, a combination of pushing a bit too much for the weather at that point and aquaplaning a little bit in the middle of Eau Rouge obviously didn’t end too well.

“I feel bad because things were going very well. I think I could have fought for pole position, but I’ve now given the team a lot of work to do. We’ll see where we start tomorrow and try to score as many points as possible. Finally, a big thanks to all the marshals and medical staff for their help and hard work today.”

Norris managed to walk away with bumps and bruises, however was transported to hospital as a precaution. He has since been medically cleared and is expected to partake in Sunday’s race.

His MCL35M was not so lucky, suffering significant damage during the incident. While the chassis somehow managed to remain undamaged, a new gearbox will see Norris starting from 14th, after he received a five-place grid penalty for the addition of the new gearbox.

Questions surrounding the safety of Eau Rouge have also been raised. With several big incidents at the corner occurring during 2021 already, not to mention past crashes.

Aston Martin driver, Sebastian Vettel, was quick to condemn the running of Q3. Claiming the session should never have gone ahead. Running on track behind Norris, Vettel pulled alongside the damaged McLaren to check on the young Brit.

But while Norris will be starting towards the back of the field, teammate Daniel Ricciardo has enjoyed his best qualifying result with McLaren to date. Putting his car on the second row of the grid in P4.

“I think it kind of showed that it took a few laps to get that confidence and these conditions certainly reward some feel and some finesse but ultimately confidence as well,” Ricciardo said. “So Q1 I was still a bit off but I was making improvements and then Q2 still a bit off but I made a really good step, and then I think Q3 was another good step.

“So I don’t want to say that it’s perfect yet, of course, but I’m really happy with the progress and obviously I just expect Q1 to be closer and then I can be in the mix early on. But yeah, second row, I’m going to take it of course. With these crazy weather conditions and everything I’ll take it with a smile.”