Lando Norris missed out on pole position for tomorrow’s Canadian Grand Prix by just 0.021s meaning that he finds himself starting from the second row of the grid alongside McLaren team mate Oscar Piastri.

George Russell and Max Verstappen tied on identical times at the top of the timesheets with the Mercedes driver being handed pole by virtue of setting the time first, leaving Verstappen lining up in P2.

But despite the disappointment of losing out on the front row, Norris insisted he was content with his qualifying session in changeable conditions at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

“I’m super happy,” he said. “First of all, congrats to Mister Russell. He has been quick all weekend, so congratulations to him and Mercedes.

“I’m happy with third. When it’s so close, you always think ‘could I have jumped in the car for that little bit more?'” he acknowledged. “But it was a good job by us, so I’m happy and excited to see what we can do in the race.

“The session was tricky, it always is in Montréal, but it’s why we love it and it’s why we’re all smiling. It’s a nice feeling when you put a good lap in and end up in the top three.

Norris has already succeeded in claiming his maiden Formula 1 race victory last month in Miami, one of three podiums in 2024. It’s an indication of McLaren’s continuing improvement in form compared to its rivals.

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 (Right) celebrates his pole position in qualifying parc ferme with third placed Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren (Centre) and second placed Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing.
08.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Qualifying Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

“The car has been great all season, especially the last three or four races, we’ve been on a good roll,” Norris agreed, setting his sights on another podium – or better yet, a victory – on Sunday.

“I’m excited to see what we can do,” he said. “Two overtakes tomorrow – easy! Light work,” he joked while conceding that it would be no walk in the park when the lights went out.

“There are two very fast drivers ahead and plenty of fast drivers behind so we’ll put on a good show,” he said. “We could be in for an exciting one. We’ll get our heads down overnight and see what we can do to move forward tomorrow.”

Unlike Russell and Verstappen, Norris has the extra advantage of having his team mate starting next to him making it possible for the team to bring strategy to bear on the race.

“I think many people are leaving thinking they could be on pole,” noted Piastri. “And I’m one of them! But that’s a positive sign in terms of pace. It’s another start towards the front and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.

Oscar Piastri (AUS) McLaren MCL38 in the pits.
08.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 9, Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, Canada, Qualifying Day.
-, EMail: © Copyright: Price / XPB Images

“We have good consistency, and we have the benefit of having two cars starting together, which is always a positive from the strategy side. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I am looking forward to it.”

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella was certainly happy with how qualifying had played out. “The second row of the grid is a good starting position.

“Qualifying today was intense,” he said. “The drivers and the team coped well with these challenges today and ultimately the outcome is positive for us.

“But we know there is rain around and we have to remain focused if we want to capitalise on our good performance today,” he continued.

“As is often the case in Canada, there are many variables in play,” he pointed out. “The weather, the tyre warm up, the small differences between new and used tyre performance.”

With both Ferrari drivers starting outside the top ten, and Sergio Perez lining up in P16 after another terrible qualifying session for the Mexican, McLaren are clearly hoping to get at least one driver on the podium again tomorrow.

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