Norris blames 'brain fade’ for 'frustrating' Q3 showing in Singapore
Lando Norris had never driven at Singapore before this year's event, so you might think the British rookie would be happy to have made it to the final segment of qualifying at this most demanding of tracks. Not a bit of it. Instead, Norris was left cursing his own "silly mistakes" after what he labelled a “frustrating” final run in qualifying in Marina Bay.
Norris was an impressive sixth quickest in both Q1 and Q2, but while team mate Carlos Sainz converted that McLaren promise into P7 in Q3, Norris could only manage 10th - a result that left him decidedly non-plussed.
“Out on the final run, I didn’t quite get the warm-up I’d like to with these tyres. I was maybe too close to the car ahead and I didn’t have the confidence because of these two factors, to push and be on the limit as I was in Q2,” he said.
“Then I had some brain fades in the middle,” he added, “wrong gears and so on, so it just went very wrong and I lost time. I tried making up for it – because I’m an idiot – and I just lost out even more...”
FORMULA 1 SINGAPORE AIRLINES SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX 2019
|1 Charles Leclerc LEC Ferrari||1:36.217|
|2 Lewis Hamilton HAM Mercedes||1:36.408|
|3 Sebastian Vettel VET Ferrari||1:36.437|
|4 Max Verstappen VER Red Bull Racing||1:36.813|
|5 Valtteri Bottas BOT Mercedes||1:37.146|
And Norris wasn't about to blame his inexperience at Marina Bay to explain away his mistakes.
“I don’t want to use that as an excuse, to be honest, [because] I’m getting more and more comfortable in the car - especially doing these qualifying runs," he said. "It’s just nice to do that, you feel on the edge and so on. It’s a good feeling.
“Q1 went well and Q2 went very well,” he added. “[In Q3] it was silly mistakes, basically.
“I made one quite big mistake which I’ve never made ever before: [I was in] the wrong gear in The Hairpin [Turn 13], just didn’t downshift as many gears as I should’ve done, so I lost the rear, had a bad exit, wheelspin.
“I just tried to make up for it and I had a bit too much temperature in the rears and then there was a spiralling effect all the way to the end.”
The silver lining for Norris is that he's still looking good for a point or two. And when it’s lights out (and floodlights on) in Singapore, Norris will be duelling with rivals Renault – now just 18 points behind in the constructors’ standings – with both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg just ahead of him on the grid.