First Front-Row Start For McLaren In Nine Years

Lando Norris has secured his first-ever front-row start, and McLaren’s first in nine long years, with a stunning drive to P2 in qualifying for the FORMULA 1 BWT GROSSER PREIS VON ÖSTERREICH 2021.

Max Verstappen took his third consecutive pole position, with Lando Norris a mere .02 seconds behind the pole sitter.

Further back it was yet another disappointing qualifying session for Daniel Ricciardo, who missed out on Q3 and will start from P13.

Lando Norris Enjoys Best Ever Lap

After being off the pace on Friday, Lando Norris roared back on Saturday, enjoying what he describes as his best-ever lap in an F1 car.

“Very happy! My best result in qualifying in Formula 1, so a big achievement for us as a team but also for myself. It was one of the best laps I’ve done. To only be half a tenth off pole is a great achievement for everyone. It makes you miss it from your early career! I don’t think we could’ve done a lot more, so P2 is awesome for us and a great position to start from tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do in the race,” said Norris.

2021 Austrian Grand Prix, Saturday - Lando Norris (image courtesy McLaren)
2021 Austrian Grand Prix, Saturday – Lando Norris (image courtesy McLaren)

More Disappointment For Daniel Ricciardo

In what has become a worrying trend for his team, Daniel Ricciardo had another disappointing Saturday, missing out on Q3. The Australian qualified in P3 for Sunday’s race.

“Unfortunately, a similar result to last week. It did feel better, but it’s just not translating into lap-time. In Q1, I was pretty happy with the laps. I felt like I’d done quite well but I was still half a second off. So, it’s a bit of a head-scratch. I don’t really know where else to get the extra speed from at the moment, so I’ll keep chipping away. We’ve got the tyre choice tomorrow, so we’ll try to make another good start like last week and keep sailing through the field,” added Ricciardo.

McLaren’s Best Qualifying In Nine Years

After several years in the doldrums, McLaren have been on an upward trajectory over the past two seasons, and today in Austria capped their return toward the front of the grid with a fine front-row performance, much to the delight of team boss Andreas Seidl.

“It’s been nine years since McLaren has qualified on the front row, so P2 today for Lando is a great result for the entire team and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP. A reward for the hard work that everyone has been putting in over the last month to keep improving the car and make this possible today. Lando’s been flying, continuously improving with every single lap all through the qualifying sessions.

On Daniel’s side, it was another challenging qualifying session which ended with him in P13 – but at this circuit and with the strategy options we’re expecting, he can have a good race from there. While we’ve had a good moment, it’s important to switch our focus to tomorrow, which is when the points get distributed. The objective is clear: we’ve got to get Daniel back into the points and score another big result with Lando for our battle in the Constructors’ Championship,” concluded Seidl.

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