Norris on shock pole position in Russia

Lando Norris on pole position in Russian Grand Prix qualifying, as Lewis Hamilton spins

9/25/2021 5:05:00 PM

Lando Norris on pole position in Russian Grand Prix qualifying, as Lewis Hamilton spins

McLaren's Lando Norris took pole position in a thrilling qualifying at the Russian Grand Prix.

What happened to Hamilton?Hamilton will be looking to take advantage of Verstappen's lowly starting position to reclaim ground in the championship, in which he trails the Dutchman by five points.But he hampered his own chances when he had a flick of oversteer coming into the pit lane to change to untreaded slick tyres with five minutes of the final session remaining.

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The car touched the wall on the left, breaking his front wing, and causing chaos in the Mercedes pit.As the mechanics struggled to change Hamilton's wing, with his newly fitted slick tyres losing temperature in the cool, damp conditions, team-mate Valtteri Bottas was queued behind him.

Eventually, Mercedes wheeled Hamilton out of the way to service Bottas first, before repairing the seven-time champion's car.The delay meant Hamilton's tyres had lost temperature, and once out on the track he complained of a lack of grip and lost control at Turn 16, failing to improve on his time set on intermediate tyres earlier in the session.

Audio and text commentary of the Russian Grand Prix is live on the BBC Sport websiteNorris takes maiden poleNorris's pole was redemption for the Briton after his crash in qualifying in the wet in Belgium last month when he looked in contention for top spot.

Already one of the most impressive drivers of the year in the McLaren, Norris produced a final lap 0.517 seconds quicker than Sainz to take a hugely impressive maiden pole.Norris said: "It feels amazing. I don't know what to say. Quite a manic session. You never think you're going to get a pole until you get it. I'm extremely happy."

Sainz rued being one of the first to complete his lap on a track that was getting drier by the second."It was a very tricky qualifying right from the beginning, but right after Q2 I could see there was a chance the slick was going coming into play. We did a good job getting the slicks up to temperature. Unfortunately I was one of the first across the line and it I wasn't able to fully exploit the conditions."

Russell's stellar third place for Williams follows his stunning performance in Belgium, when he was second behind Red Bull's Max Verstappen, also in the wet.Final practice had been cancelled because of torrential rain in SochiAlonso was also impressive - fourth fastest in the wetter second part of qualifying, the Alpine could not quite match the faster cars in front as the track dried, but the veteran Spaniard was comfortably clear of team-mate Esteban Ocon throughout.

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Bottas struggled to seventh, ahead of Aston Martin's Lance Stroll, Red Bull's Sergio Perez and Ocon.Verstappen is joined at the back of the grid by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Williams' Nicholas Latifi, who also have engine penalties.

All three did not try to optimise their performance in qualifying as a result. Read more: BBC News (UK) »

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