Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, receives his Pirelli Sprint Qualifying Award during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on Friday April 19, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images for Pirelli)

Formula 1 News: Norris wins pole in rain-hit Sprint Qualifying

Lando Norris has claimed pole position for the sprint race at the Chinese Grand Prix after a wet, wild, and treacherous Sprint qualifying session on Friday afternoon in Shanghai.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

An  untimely downpour at the Shanghai International Circuit midway through the qualifying session triggered a major shake-up with the world’s best drivers struggling to keep their cars in-between the white lines.

At the end of the crap shoot, McLaren’s Norris was fastest ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, while triple world champion Max Verstappen, fastest in Q2, was only good enough for fourth in Q3.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL38 during the Chinese GP at Shanghai International Circuit on Friday April 19, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Mark Sutton / LAT Images for Pirelli)

It should make for an exciting Sprint Race(expected to be dry on Saturday morning) to see if Verstappen can once again school the drivers starting in front of him.

It appeared Hamilton would be on pole after Norris’ fastest time was deleted for exceeding track limits, only for it to be suddenly reinstated by the race officials.

“What on earth is going on, oh my goodness,” Nico Rosberg said on Sky Sports commentary.

Meanwhile, David Croft called the session “proper treachery”.

“This is treacherous, (like) Bambi on ice skates,” he said.

It was a chaotic session that saw a number of drivers leave the track, including Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who ran out of talent and spun out into the barriers. Norris

Meanwhile, Yuki Tsunoda was eliminated from Q1 with the second-slowest time of the session, while VCARB teammate Daniel Ricciardo progressed.

“That is exactly what he needs to be doing so this is a great session for him,” Rosberg said of Ricciardo.

Tsunoda was not happy with his elimination and voiced his anger over team radio.

“There was zero grip. Honesty,” he said.

Ricciardo went on to qualify 14th-fastest, five spots ahead of Tsunoda, after rain started falling in Q2 and prevented him from a second run. Norris

A big crowd let out a huge roar when hometown hero Zhou Guanyu qualified 10th. Oscar Piastri was eighth in his McLaren and Zhou’s teammate Valtteri Bottas ninth to round out the top 10 on the grid for Saturday’s 19-lap shootout. Norris

“It was tricky, you are always nervous going into a session like this. You just have to risk a lot, push and build tire temperature and what not,” said Norris.

“I’m happy, sad it’s not for a proper qualifying, but good enough.

“You only get three laps. The first two I aborted on both, so it was all or nothing, a good position for tomorrow.”

“It was incredibly slippery,” Verstappen said. “I just struggled a lot to get the temperature in the tires so that’s why it was very difficult to keep the car on track.

“It never really switched on for me, it was like driving on ice.”

Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing and The Netherlands during Sprint Qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 19, 2024 in Shanghai, China. (Photo by Peter Fox/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

“Yeah for sure, it’s not ideal to start on the inside here, there’s a lot lower grip, with this painted tarmac, so… we have to try and have the best start possible!”

Chinese GP Sprint Qualifying Results

1 4 Lando Norris McLaren Mercedes 1:36.384 1:36.047 1:57.940 13
2 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:37.181 1:36.287 1:59.201 15
3 14 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:36.883 1:36.119 1:59.915 14
4 1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing Honda 1:36.456 1:35.606 2:00.028 12
5 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 1:36.719 1:36.052 2:00.214 15
6 11 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing Honda 1:36.110 1:35.781 2:00.375 12
7 16 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:36.537 1:35.711 2:00.566 15
8 81 Oscar Piastri McLaren Mercedes 1:36.542 1:35.853 2:00.990 15
9 77 Valtteri Bottas Kick Sauber Ferrari 1:37.112 1:36.056 2:01.044 16
10 24 Zhou Guanyu Kick Sauber Ferrari 1:37.544 1:36.307 2:03.537 16
11 63 George Russell Mercedes 1:37.310 1:36.345  – 10
12 20 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 1:37.033 1:36.473  – 10
13 27 Nico Hulkenberg Haas Ferrari 1:36.924 1:36.478  – 10
14 3 Daniel Ricciardo RB Honda 1:37.321 1:36.553  – 9
15 18 Lance Stroll Aston Martin Aramco Mercedes 1:36.961 1:36.677  – 8
16 10 Pierre Gasly Alpine Renault 1:37.632  –  – 6
17 31 Esteban Ocon Alpine Renault 1:37.720  –  – 6
18 23 Alexander Albon Williams Mercedes 1:37.812  –  – 6
19 22 Yuki Tsunoda RB Honda 1:37.892  –  – 6
20 2 Logan Sargeant Williams Mercedes 1:37.923  –  – 6
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