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Grass fire and rain chaos when Lando Norris won the sprint qualification in China

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Lando Norris won the qualification for the sprint race in Shanghai. Photo: Hiro Komae / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 19.04.2024 10:43:22

Sport: Thus, the British McLaren driver starts in the best starting slot in the sprint race on Saturday morning Norwegian time. In a rain-soaked qualifying session, Norris ended up off the track when he set his best lap time, but after an extra review, his time was approved.

– It is very strange what we have just witnessed. First he had his lap time deleted. It said he was off the track at turn 16. Then he gets his time back. And suddenly he is at the top of this list, said Viaplay commentator Atle Gulbrandsen.

Norris himself became concerned that he would not be approved for the winning time of 1.57.940.

– Beautiful job, just beautiful. You made me worried, he said on the team radio, addressing the organiser.

Second fastest in qualifying was Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso finished third, while World Championship leader Max Verstappen had to settle for the fourth best time.

Verstappen was also off the track at the aforementioned turn 16, while both Hamilton and Charles Leclerc spun off the track en route on the slippery lead. It was dry at the very start of qualifying, but it got wetter and wetter as time went on.

– It was difficult. You’re always nervous going into a session like this, especially when you know it’s going to rain. In these conditions, you just have to risk a lot. I didn’t do too well in the first few laps, but I was fast enough to end up on “pole”, Norris told Formula 1’s reporter.

Earlier on Friday, Lance Stroll from Aston Martin had impressed with the fastest practice time, but he ended up in 15th place in qualifying.

The training session had to be interrupted due to a grass fire.

Due to the corona pandemic, the Formula 1 drivers are racing in China for the first time since 2019. The track in Shanghai is newly asphalted, and several of the drivers have not competed on it before.

The qualification also had to be postponed as a result of a grass fire on the track. It was the second grass fire in a few hours.

He beat Hamilton by over a second. The Brit had about seven tenths of a second clear of Alonso, who was again just over a tenth ahead of Verstappen.

(© NTB)

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