Norris to start Belgian GP from 14th
By Mat Coch
Sunday 29th August, 2021 - 8:08pm
Lando Norris is set to line up from 14th on the grid for the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver suffered a mammoth crash during Qualifying 3 on Saturday, necessitating a trip to a nearby hospital for precautionary checks.
He was cleared to race soon after though whether he’d take the start from the grid or pit lane was uncertain.
The team has now confirmed that Norris will line up on the grid, five places down on where he would have otherwise started owing to a new gearbox.
“After assessing the damage to Lando’s car, we have decided to change the gearbox, resulting in a five place grid penalty,” a spokesperson for the team advised.
Having not set a time in Qualifying 3, the 21-year-old ended qualifying in 10th place.
That became ninth on the provisional grid once Valtteri Bottas had a five-place grid penalty applied for his role in the opening lap crash in Hungary.
As a result, the five place penalty for the new gearbox will leave the McLaren driver 14th.
“First of all, I’m doing good, but I’ve been better! I think just a bit bruised,” Norris said following his release from hospital.
“Obviously, it was quite a big impact and I think my body’s just been thrown around a little bit but I’m good.”
The Brit had emerged as one of the favourites for pole position in Belgium after topping both Qualifying 1 and Qualifying 2.
“Everything was going extremely well,” he admitted.
“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,” he added.
“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.”
Ironically, Bottas gains a place back on the grid as a result of Norris’ gearbox.
Poised to start 13th as a result of his penalty, he will now start 12th courtesy of the FIA redrawing the grid each time a new penalty is applied.
Daniel Ricciardo in the sister McLaren will line up on the second row, his best starting position of the season.
The Belgian Grand Prix is set to begin at 23:00 AEST this evening.
Provisional starting grid: Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix
|1||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|5||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|6||10||Pierre Gasly||Scuderia AlphaTauri|
|7||11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing|
|15||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|
|16||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Scuderia AlphaTauri|
|18||7||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo|
|20||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|