“So, frustrating in a little way. But I’m very happy. The team did a good job, it was a chaotic qualifying, but another P2, so good.”
The final stage of qualifying featured two lengthy delays for red flag periods, allowing the damp track to rapidly dry up by the time the drivers encountered their final tours.
Although Norris backed up his provisional pole time by going quicker than anybody else through the first sector, the Briton was unable to maintain that momentum.
Norris reckons the ending to his best Q3 run at Zandvoort was “probably one of the worst second halves that I’ve done” in his entire F1 career, even though it remained good enough for a front-row starting berth.
“Qualifying is always stressful, no matter what the conditions, but definitely now it’s definitely trickier,” Norris added regarding the changeable conditions in qualifying.
“The first half of the lap was mega, but the second half of the lap was probably one of the worst second halves that I’ve done.
“It peaked early on. It’s tough, but I really enjoyed these conditions. I’ve always enjoyed the conditions, it’s when we do well. I’m taking the P2 still.”
When questioned on whether it was the driver or the tyres that peaked, Norris replied: “The driver. tyres were good until the end. The driver peaked very early. Got a bit of work to do, just not the most comfortable but good enough, so I’ll take it.”
Like Norris, Piastri was frustrated to deliver the maximum from his car, having initially backed his team-mate up by setting the second quickest time on the opening runs.
Q3 represented Piastri’s first dry laps since his crash in FP2, leaving the Australian to conclude that his lack of dry running hampered him during the crossover period.
“I just didn’t put a good lap together,” Piastri rued after slipping to eighth.
“I think maybe we paid a little bit of the price for not getting enough laps in the dry yesterday, to be honest. We were looking good until that, but just didn’t put a lap together when it mattered.
“I think just lacking a little bit of reference after yesterday, so a shame to be a bit further back than I would have liked. But clearly the car is still quite quick, and we’ll see what we can do in the race.”
Asked whether he was surprised by McLaren’s strong pace, Piastri replied: “Yes and no. I think we’ve been quick yesterday obviously with Lando, and even for myself I was feeling good until I crashed.
“I think it’s pretty much how we expected it to be, tight with Mercedes, Ferrari, and Aston. Max is still a league ahead of everybody. I think it’s about where we expected, and obviously Lando’s just in front of that pack and I’m just at the back of it.
“I wouldn’t say a massive surprise. Obviously not many straights here and a few corners that play to our strengths, definitely, but I think it’s just where we should be now.”