F1 News, Reports and Race Results

Norris and Piastri happy to qualify ahead of Ferrari

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will start tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix from fourth and fifth on the grid, with both drivers happy to have qualified ahead of the two Ferraris.

It's not quite the stand-out success as Friday's Sprint qualifying outcome which saw Norris snatch pole in dramatic fashion, but it was about the best they could have hoped for given Red Bull's dominant 1-2 lock-out performance.

“I think it was a good qualifying for us," said Norris, although he wasn't happy to have been pipped by Fernando Alonso in the Aston Martin.

"Maybe P3 was on the cards but I think we have to be satisfied," he said. "Sometimes you win it, sometimes you lose it in these very close sessions. Another good starting position and a good qualifying, so I’m happy with today."

More importantly, starting from fourth should give Norris a chance to fight for a podium and expunge the bitter after taste of what happened at the start of the Sprint when he ran wide into turn 1 and dropped to P7.

"The real challenge is tomorrow," Norris agreed. "We need to get our heads down and do our best tonight and prepare the best we can for the main race and get some good points for the team.”

Both McLaren drivers will be keenly aware of Charles Leclerc lining up immediately behind them in P6, eager to pounce given any opportunity when the lights go out on Sunday.

"I did not expect to be behind Aston and McLaren," the Monegasque admitted, adding he had every hope of turning things around in the race. "It will be all about how fast are we going, are we passing the others to get in front.”

For his part, Piastri declared himself satisfied with the way today's qualifying session had gone, for himself and for the team as a whole.

"I’m happy with that," he said. "I think the last lap in Q3 was pretty solid. A couple of corners were a bit scrappy but that’s just the nature of the beast around here.

"We’re in a good place to fight for points tomorrow so we’ll see what we can do. We’ll do our best to stay there, which may be tricky as our race pace isn’t quite there as we saw in the Sprint this morning. But we’ll give it our all.”

Team principal Andrea Stella took encouragement from today's performance, saying that it "confirmed our car is competitive with new tyres in qualifying trim.

"P4 and P5 is a strong position from which to start the race tomorrow, hopefully to score important points," he pointed out. "At the same time, we saw in the Sprint that the challenge becomes more difficult across a race stint.

"We have to improve this, and have already made some set-up tweaks between the Sprint and qualifying today," he continued.

"We’ll see tomorrow exactly how helpful those are. But for the moment, well done to the team and drivers for maximising the potential of the car."

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Andrew Lewin

Andrew first became a fan of Formula 1 during the time when Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill were stepping into the limelight after the era of Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Aryton Senna. He's been addicted ever since, and has been writing about the sport now for nearly a quarter of a century for a number of online news sites. He's also written professionally about GP2 (now Formula 2), GP3, IndyCar, World Rally Championship, MotoGP and NASCAR. In his other professional life, Andrew is a freelance writer, social media consultant, web developer/programmer, and digital specialist in the fields of accessibility, usability, IA, online communities and public sector procurement. He worked for many years in magazine production at Bauer Media, and for over a decade he was part of the digital media team at the UK government's communications department. Born and raised in Essex, Andrew currently lives and works in south-west London.

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