Portuguese GP: Lando Norris dominates Daniel Ricciardo during qualifying

Portuguese GP: Lando Norris dominates Daniel Ricciardo during qualifying

Lando Norris continues his run of fine form, outshining McLaren teammate Daniel Ricciardo during qualifying at the Portuguese GP.

Saturday’s qualifying session at the Portuguese GP proved to be a mixed bag for McLaren. While inform youngster Lando Norris progressed through to Q3, his teammate was not so lucky. With Daniel Ricciardo knocked out in Q1.

Throughout all three-practice sessions, McLaren saw both cars bounce in and out of the top 10. With windy conditions and difficulty finding grip hampering the speed and handling of the MCL35M.

Problems finding the right setup for the car during practice had Norris questioning just how far he would progress into qualifying. However, despite these concerns, he continues to be the McLaren driver to beat early in the 2021 Formula 1 season.

Getting as high as P2 in Q1 and P3 in Q2, Norris would ultimately secure seventh place on the grid, starting alongside Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

“Reasonably happy with today [Saturday]. A little bit annoyed because we could’ve been a few positions further up – maybe three – and fourth on the grid, I would say,” Norris said. “I can be confident in saying that. I got caught on my Q3 run two lap on the new tyre because of another car backing up in front of me out of the last corner, so I had to abort the lap quite early on, which was frustrating.

“Apart from that, I’m pleased with my performance today. The car was good. Tricky to drive, but fast, and I was still P7, surprisingly, so I’m happy. There are definitely some positives and we’ll see what we can do in the race tomorrow.”

Ricciardo’s woes continue

After showing comparative pace with Norris during practice, Ricciardo had a horrid qualifying day. With a lap time 1.1 seconds slower than Norris seeing him start back at P16. His worst qualifying ranking for some years.

But while Ricciardo has been somewhat off the pace during races compared to Norris, attributed to getting comfortable with his new ride. Qualifying has seem them fairly evenly matched. Saturday’s result left everyone a little surprised, not to mention the Australian himself.

“A frustrating day. We’d had a positive day yesterday [Friday], so I wouldn’t have bet on this today,’ Ricciardo said. “I’m not really sure where it went wrong yet, we’ll have to look at it this evening.

“Q1 goes very quickly and we just didn’t get any clean laps in. The Medium tyre felt pretty good, and I was pretty happy. Then the first lap on the Soft was a bit interrupted by traffic at the start of the lap, and the end of the lap was just a little bit messy. We tried to go again but the tyre fell away really quickly and we just didn’t have the pace.

“P16 is far from where I want to be, so I’ve just got to figure it out, get some sleep and wake up tomorrow ready to do better.”

Starting towards the rear of the grid, RIcciardo will have his work cut out for him. However, having a car that should be considerably quicker than the backmarkers, may help him to achieve some early overtakes. Not only boosting his confidence, but pushing for another double points finish for the team.

 

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