The McLaren driver was solely ninth in FP3, behind even the Williams of Alex Albon, and thus didn’t enter qualifying anticipating to be combating close to the sharp finish.
Nevertheless, in a show of spectacular consistency, he was fifth in all three segments of qualifying, ending up between Lewis Hamilton and George Russell on the ultimate grid.
“Very shocked, truly,” he stated of the result.
“I imply, after the tempo in Q1 and Q2, I suppose not as shocked. If you happen to requested me earlier than qualifying had been do you assume you’d be, it positively would not be competing with them.
“Put it down to 2 issues, one the automobile performing very nicely, and clearly working nicely. But additionally to it being an excellent lap, and I’d say there was most likely one mistake, a little bit little bit of wheelspin out of Flip 9.
“However aside from that it was a really sturdy lap from myself. So I believe that was the factor which put us forward of one of many Mercedes.”
Norris acknowledged that whereas he beat Russell, who truly made a mistake on his ultimate lap, he nonetheless misplaced out to Hamilton.
“I suppose I used to be nonetheless three-tenths behind the opposite, there is no method I used to be going three-tenths faster, if that is sensible. So it reveals they nonetheless forward.
“However to have closed the hole as a lot as what we did, contemplating the place we have been the previous few weekends, and the place they have been as nicely, I do know they’re a little bit bit off the tempo, was positively a shock however an excellent one, like a rewarding shock.
“So whether or not or not we’ll have the ability to sustain with them tomorrow within the race is one other query, however for at present, it was beautiful to be forward of one among them, at the very least.”
Norris hinted that when the group mentioned its plans for qualifying he didn’t anticipate to have to avoid wasting tyres for Q3.
“I imply, earlier than qualifying we had been debating whether or not or not we should always speak about Q3 or not!
Lando Norris, McLaren
Photograph by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Photographs
“We had been discussing our run plans, how one can use our tyres, and what technique to decide on, and issues like that. So not that we’d by no means wish to get to Q3, however simply how to decide on the tyres for FP3 on the proper time and issues like that.
“We acquired into Q3 and had been combating round with Alpines and stuff like that, I believe that was most likely extra our expectation.”
Norris additionally famous that McLaren’s newest updates have carried out nicely in France, stating: “I believe with what I felt just like the automobile might obtain this weekend after bringing the brand new components and placing them on in FP2, and realising that improved some issues into at present into FP3 after which from FP3 to quali, there was good potential, and positively to be round Alpine.
“However to be a little bit chunk forward of them and combating Mercedes was positively much more than I anticipated.
“I do not assume it was something like overperforming, however we simply carried out extraordinarily nicely at present, they usually most likely underperformed, and I believe perhaps tomorrow they’re going to simply be a little bit bit forward as regular.
“I’d like to say we are able to combat them, and I am going to do my finest to do this.”
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