“Honestly, it felt like one of the worst laps I’ve done,” he remarked. “So I’m a little bit surprised, but it’s a good surprise. I feel like we made up for yesterday. So yeah, good. My first pole in a long time, so I’m happy.”
Expanding on why he had been critical of his own benchmark time, Norris explained that he rued failing to execute a clean run through the opening sequence of corners.
“I just messed up Turn 1,” the McLaren ace revealed. “I think that was the only real thing, the rest of it didn’t feel amazing but not bad.
“Turn 1 and Turn 2 have been my nemesis corners all weekend. And I probably did my worst Turn 1 and Turn 2 today in Q3.”
Norris is aiming to replicate the exploits displayed by team-mate Oscar Piastri in Qatar by converting pole into the Sprint victory at the end of 24 laps later today.
However, the 23-year-old is adamant that the Red Bulls, led by Max Verstappen ahead of Sergio Perez, will provide a tough test.
“The pace has been good all weekend and the car has been very strong, so we’re on the right track,” he said. “But it’s a tough one.
“The Red Bulls are always quick. Max is always quick. So it’s not going to be an easy race, but the pace is strong. So if we want to have any chance, I’ll give it my all.”