Norris battling illness at Spanish GP

Lando Norris

Lando Norris qualified 11th for Sunday’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix despite battling illness.

The Brit looked to have progressed to the final phase of the knock-out qualifying session, only for his final Qualifying 2 lap to be deleted for track limits.

That saw him dumped out of the session at the end of the second segment, while team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was able to progress – the first time the Australian has out-qualified Norris all season – and will start the race from ninth.

“I’ve not been great all weekend, to be honest,” Norris said of his health.

“It’s not COVID. I’m just suffering with my throat and my eyes, and seeing, which doesn’t help.

“My sleep and everything, and energy levels, it’s probably the worst I’ve had in a long time.

“I’m definitely not at my peak this weekend.”

Norris’ final flying lap in Qualifying 2 was deleted after he ran wide at Turn 12, the long right-hander towards the end of the lap which brings drivers into the final complex.

“What makes it so tricky on this corner is you have the gravel run off, and you have 10 centimetres or so of track which you can’t use before the gravel,” Norris said.

“In some cases it’s much easier to just say the gravel is the limit, and everyone pushes up to the gravel, and if you go off there’s a punishment already.

“I don’t know, it’s been a rule all season, the white line is the limit, so I just didn’t stick to it.”

While Norris didn’t progress, Ricciardo did make a Qualifying 3 appearance.

The Australian logged a single lap early in the session which left him seventh, ultimately falling to ninth once his rivals had completed their second run.

It was a positive performance and comes after McLaren introduced a raft of upgrades to its car this weekend.

Speaking on Friday, Ricciardo admitted the team was still working to understand them.

Rolling forward to Saturday, he suggested that was still the case.

“I think we’re still kind of learning the new bits,” the 32-year-old suggested.

“With the updates, new bits, it’s not always as simple as just bolting them on and sending the car.

“Once you put them on, you also need to figure out how to balance the car well with that.

“So I think we’re still trying to figure out the best balance with the new bits, so I’m not yet sure if we’ve really maximized the true performance of them.

“But we’re still going through a learning phase, and I think to get into Q3 was solid, but we’re still obviously trying to chase a bit of lap time.

“As a whole, it was not a bad result because we hadn’t been rapid all weekend, and I don’t think Q3 was a guarantee by any means.

“It was a target, and I think it was a solid job that we were able to get in there.”

The Spanish Grand Prix gets underway at 23:00 AEST.

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