Formula 1 Racing

Norris laments “silly mistake” at “easiest corner” in Saudi GP Q1 exit

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Norris tagged the inside concrete wall through the final corner of the Jeddah street circuit to sustain a broken steering arm that forced him to pit for repairs after only one flying lap.

The team battled to repair the car in time for Norris during the opening 18-minute segment but narrowly missed the window to leave the Briton to start from 19th place.

Norris explained the error away as “just a misjudgement”, adding that it was “a mistake that I shouldn’t make” through the comparatively open left-hander.

He continued: “It’s probably one of the easiest corners on the track, in terms of judgement. I just got it wrong. Simple as that. No excuses.”

Norris said the outcome was particularly frustrating given the underlying pace of the MCL60, which enabled rookie team-mate Oscar Piastri to progress into Q3 and run ninth-fastest – but will start eighth due to Charles Leclerc‘s grid penalty.

“The car was performing well today,” said Norris. “The team have done a good job all weekend to probably extract a bit more from it than we did in Bahrain [where Norris qualified 11th].

“It’s definitely suited to the track a bit more than in Bahrain and clearly was good enough for Q3 today. I was still feeling good. It’s just a silly mistake, to be honest.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

Photo by: Sam Bloxham / Motorsport Images

On sustaining the damage, Norris said: “I could feel it, it went straight away the steering.

“The guys did a very good job, the mechanics to almost get it out. It pretty much was done by the end of the session so if I was into Q2, it would be fine.

“If there was a small red flag, the guys were pushing as hard as they could to get me back out… I let them down today.”

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Norris reckoned if he could avoid any first-stint collisions on the high-speed and narrow Jeddah circuit, he would be able to make sound progress up the order.

“I’m confident we have a reasonable car,” he said. “It might not be easy to overtake with where we’re strong and where we’re weak compared to some other cars. But of course, I’m optimistic that I can go forward.

“We can definitely go forward. We have the pace to do it.

“It is just going to be about putting that into a plan, whether there’s going to be VSC or a safety car. I hope so because it makes our life a little bit easier and it’s easier to jump two or three spots rather than one at a time.”

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