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Spanish Grand Prix 2024: Lando Norris pips Max Verstappen to pole

Lando Norris celebrates taking pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix by holding up his index finger

McLaren’s Lando Norris pipped Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix in a gripping qualifying session.

Verstappen had appeared out of reach when he improved his own time, which was already fastest, by more than 0.2 seconds on his final run.

But Norris crossed the line a few seconds later to beat Verstappen and take his first pole of the year.

And Lewis Hamilton out-qualified team-mate George Russell for only the second time this season as the Mercedes drivers took third and fourth.

Their performance underlined Mercedes’ re-emergence as contenders close to the front after a series of car developments as they beat the Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz to fifth and sixth place, despite an upgrade on the Italian cars.

Norris, for whom this was a second career pole and his first for three years, said: “It was pretty much a perfect lap. You know when you’re on a good lap and you’re getting excited. Close still but super happy. I would say my best pole position. I’ve not had many but I’d say the best.

“We have been quick since Miami but missed out on pole by not doing a perfect lap and today we did a perfect lap.”

Verstappen said: “The whole weekend we have been trying to find a connected balance, I was quite happy in qualifying. In Q3 I got a nice little tow from Checo (Perez) in Turn One to extract everything we could but unfortunately it was just not enough. But all in all we can be very happy with this.”

The pole for McLaren came after a fire in their hospitality area before final practice, which forced Norris, other staff and guests to evacuate the area.

McLaren team boss Zak Brown told Sky Sports one member of staff had to go to hospital but had been released, adding: “Happy to report everyone is fine.”

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Written by Joseph

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