WATCH: Crucial Lando Norris Decision in the Dying Minutes of Q3 That Led to Sochi F1 Pole

Published 09/26/2021, 5:26 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Belgian Grand Prix – Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium – August 26, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Lando Norris put in a sensational lap to take the first pole position of his career at Sochi. The McLaren driver drove a scintillating lap on the softer tires to take pole on his last lap of the session.

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Lando was one of the star performers of the session, as he had shown immense skills on the slippery track at the Russian Grand Prix. With just a few minutes in the session, he and the team made a risky and decisive move to change the tires.

WATCH STORY: Shortest F1 Drivers Ever Featuring Yuki Tsunoda & Lando Norris

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The risky call that gave the McLaren pole position at Sochi

McLaren was monitoring the progress of Williams driver George Russell as he was the first person to put on slicks on a greasy track. The information from Russell’s strategy proved decisive in their call to change the tires.

When asked by the race engineer about the conditions on the track, Lando replied, ” I mean, it’s definitely much drier. But I think in these conditions inter tires could be the correct choice. But it’s difficult to know. What time has Alonso done?”

His race engineer replied,Alonso did a 45.3. A couple of cars have put on slicks, so we’re keeping an eye on them. Just Sainz behind you.”

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“Okay, let me know what you think of slicks because it could be a decent choice,” said Norris. In the next moments, his race engineer informed him to box to put on slicks, but Lando stated he wanted soft tires.

“I want soft. Yeah, it’s a risk for sure,” said Norris.

Probably the only place I wouldn’t want to be pole is here: Lando Norris

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As reported by Formula1.com, despite starting on pole position, Norris mentioned this circuit is the worst place to start in front. Sochi Autodrom has a straight of almost 900m before the first braking zone. This gives an opportunity for people behind to get a slipstream and gain more speed.

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 25, 2021, McLaren’s Lando Norris during qualifying REUTERS/Anton Vaganov

“It’s tricky; you have to put a lot of risk on the line and just try to see if it pays off and it did. So, yes, an amazing feeling, my first pole. Probably the only place I wouldn’t want to be pole is here, especially with the straight down to Turn [2],” Norris admitted.

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This was McLaren‘s first pole position in F1 since 2012 Brazil when Hamilton started from the front. They will look to capitalize on the position as much as possible.

Can Norris win in Russia? Let us know.

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Devang Chauhan

476 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

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