Norris hails ‘perfect lap’ in Q3, but competition is 'so close'

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Lando Norris says he put together “pretty much a perfect lap” in Saturday’s Spanish GP qualifying to claim his second career pole in F1, a feat that surpassed Max Verstappen’s best effort by just 0.020s.

Norris also delivered to McLaren its first pole position in Spain since Kimi Raikkonen’s grid-topping performance in 2025.

He also became the fourth different driver from the fourth different team to secure pole in the last four races, a statistic that confirms the remarkable tight spread that separates the front-runners.

Verstappen had solidified his position at the top of the leaderboard with a blistering second run in Q3 that looked unbeatable. However, Norris wasn't done yet.

On his final flyer, the McLaren driver clawed back time in the second sector, but was slightly slower that his Red Bull rival through the third and final stretch.

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Nevertheless, Norris managed to hold his edge over the Dutchman at the checkered flag by a mere two-hundredths of a second.

"It was pretty much a perfect lap," the 24-year-old explained in parc fermé after all was said and done.

"You know when you are on a good lap and you are getting excited, but the whole thing went perfectly in the end, but it was still so close.

"It is one of my best pole positions, I've not had that many [in F1], but out of the ones I've had, definitely it is the best.

"Today was the perfect lap - and Max and Red Bull seemed a little bit stronger all weekend, but we made some changes for the final run.

"We've been super close all weekend, but it was just all about the perfect lap, and that is what I did today."

Since Norris’ win in Miami, where McLaren introduced a significant upgrade package, the Woking-based outfit has seemingly bridged the gap to Red Bull.

Norris reckoned that the team’s MCL38 contender has been worthy of topping the timesheets on Saturdays ever since F1’s visit to Florida, pending the “perfect lap”, which the Briton pulled out of his bag in Barcelona.

"It is not just this weekend, we've been quick in the last two months since Miami, and we've been very strong and we've probably missed out by just not doing a perfect lap," he added.

"I had some little places to improve and I did exactly that.

"The win is the target, but I know it is going to be tough against Max, against Lewis [Hamilton in third] and anyone behind, that we're here to win now. That is my plan."

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