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Norris confident of taking fight to Verstappen in Austria Sprint after close battle for pole

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 27: Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren looks on in the Paddock

Lando Norris is feeling positive about his chances of taking the fight to Max Verstappen in the Sprint at the Austrian Grand Prix, having only narrowly missed out on pole position to the Dutchman in Sprint Qualifying.

With every driver opting to rely on one flying lap only in the final minutes of SQ3, Norris initially looked to be on course for P1 after a strong lap in the McLaren.

READ MORE: Verstappen pips Norris to Sprint Qualifying pole in Austria by 0.093s

However, he was soon displaced by Verstappen, who went fastest of all in the Red Bull with a time of 1m 04.686s, just 0.093s ahead of Norris.

Asked about his feelings on the session after jumping out of the car, Norris reflected: "I think reasonably good, to be honest. I never got quite comfortable probably until my final lap, so I’m happy with that.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 28: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes

Norris will line up in second place for the Sprint on Saturday

“[It was] close, as it has been the whole year, so no difference. It must have been a nice lap by Max. A good position for the race tomorrow.”

Looking ahead to Saturday’s Sprint at the Red Bull Ring, Norris was quizzed on whether he is confident that he can battle Verstappen during the event, to which he responded: “From what we see at the minute, yes. But otherwise, I’m not sure.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Relive the action from Austria Sprint Qualifying as Verstappen takes pole and Leclerc hits trouble

It was a solid day all-round for McLaren, with Norris’s team mate Oscar Piastri lining up just behind him in third place.

The Australian – running an upgraded front wing this weekend – said that he was “mostly” pleased with how his Sprint Qualifying session had ended.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 27: Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren walks in the Paddock during

Piastri feels that he is "back on the pace" so far this weekend in Austria

“I think the position is quite good, obviously, but last lap was… a couple of corners I could tidy up,” he commented. “I think it’s nice to at least know where the time is.

“Obviously [it was] a bit of a rough one last weekend, and so I feel like we’re back on the pace and, yeah, new front wing was working well.”

READ MORE: ‘We can do it’ – Norris says he and McLaren ‘have what it takes’ to win the 2024 title

On whether he and McLaren could be in the mix for a potential win on Saturday – and during the rest of the weekend – Piastri answered: “I think so.

“The gap to Max is not massive, and I know there were a couple of big mistakes on that lap, so I think we’re definitely in the mix.”

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