Lando Norris: My aim was to merely make Q2
Lando Norris has stated that his aim at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix was to merely secure a place in Q2 in his Formula 1 qualifying debut for McLaren.
Norris, who is one of three rookies on the Formula 1 grid in 2019, impressed in his maiden F1 qualifying outing for the British marque, beating both Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo to secure a place in Q3 after initially struggling for pace, setting the 18th fastest time in all three practice sessions earlier in the weekend.
Using the soft compound tyre in his final qualifying run inside the top 10 shootout, Norris secured a best time of a 1m 22.304s to secure eighth on the grid, with the result marking McLaren's highest qualifying position in Australia since 2014 where Kevin Magnussen piloted the Woking-based squad to fourth on the grid.
"I enjoyed it [qualifying] to a point but I was so nervous that took away a lot of the enjoyment. But the enjoyment comes once I completed a lap I was happy with and obviously I’m happy for the whole team," said Norris when talking to Sky Sports.
"That’s what makes me happy, is knowing how hard the team has worked and that it has all come together for qualifying. I did enjoy it a lot and happy to get it off my chest.
"I had done three runs and used three sets of softs in Q1. Our aim was just to try and get into Q2 and that went pretty well. Then I did my Q2 lap and got into Q3. For now I’m very happy but I’ve got a long job ahead of me tomorrow.
"I think it just shows that it is possible to do it and it shows that we have in some ways moved forward from last year. Not as much as we need to but I feel like I really maximised everything.
"I’m not complaining but to an extent, I have a long race ahead of me tomorrow and we have a lot of work ahead to maintain these Q3s. Today is not a one-off but they are not going to happen all the time so will enjoy it."
While Norris secured a place inside the top 10, it was a difficult afternoon for team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, with the Spaniard's qualifying coming to an early end at the close of Q1 when the driver's final run of the session was compromised by a puncture and subsequent off for Williams' Robert Kubica, meaning that he will start the Australian Grand Prix from 18th on the grid.