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Norris happy with P2 against Verstappen while Piastri rues ‘frustrating’ track limits issue in Austria qualifying

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SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle

Lando Norris was left satisfied after claiming P2 in qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix, with the McLaren driver admitting that pole-sitter Max Verstappen was in a “league of his own” during the session.

After setting the benchmark during the initial runs of Q3, Verstappen went even quicker on his final effort to secure pole by four tenths of a second from Norris. Despite losing out to the Dutchman, the McLaren man felt pleased with his own qualifying performance.

READ MORE: Verstappen storms to pole position in Austria as he heads Norris and Russell

“A good quali. I think as much as we could do today,” Norris commented after jumping out of the car. “Max was like, as you said, [in] a league of his own – clearly much quicker than what we had.

“I’m happy. Tricky conditions, it felt a bit more difficult than it was yesterday, a lot closer, so more difficult to get the laps in and to kind of perfect the laps. But it was good enough and I’ll take it.”

Having briefly enjoyed a close scrap with Verstappen as well as McLaren team mate Oscar Piastri during Saturday’s Sprint, Norris is determined to do an even better job come race day.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Lando Norris of Great Britain driving the (4) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes

Norris will start the Austrian Grand Prix from P2 on the grid

“It’s tough. When you look at the pace today, it’s clear that we’re going to have to give it a lot, we’re going to need something extra to kind of go our way in order to beat the pace of Max and the Red Bull,” the Briton added.

“I’ll try. I’ll do a better job than I did this morning, that’s for sure. I’m excited, I’ll look forward to it. It’s a long race, many things can happen, and normally we’re better in the races than we are in qualifying, so let’s see.”

HIGHLIGHTS: Catch the action from the Sprint in Austria as Verstappen takes victory from Piastri and Norris

While Piastri had beaten Norris to P2 in the Sprint following that aforementioned battle, the Australian endured some frustrations in qualifying.

Having initially looked to be on course for third in the final minutes of Q3, his lap time was then deleted due to track limits at Turn 6, dropping him down to seventh.

Asked afterwards if he had felt whilst in the car that it might be a close call in that corner, Piastri responded: “I didn’t hit the gravel, so for me I thought it was fine. I haven’t seen it yet. We need to have a look [at] just how painfully close it was but, yeah.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JUNE 29: Second placed Oscar Piastri of Australia and McLaren attends the

Piastri's final lap time was deleted due to track limits

“I think again a bit painful that we’ve done so much good work in all the other corners of removing the element of track limits, and we still have a corner like that where you cannot be in the gravel and still outside the track limits.

“Obviously I’m the only one that’s done that in Q3, so it’s frustrating but, yeah, just disappointing to not be having a better result.”

READ MORE: ‘I messed it up’ – Norris rues ‘amateur’ move on Verstappen in Austria Sprint as he vows to take the fight again

Despite being further back on the grid than he had expected, Piastri is optimistic that he can fight back towards the podium in Sunday’s race.

“I think the pace is good but it’s not so much better than everyone else, I would say,” he noted. “I think Max looked to be on another level in qualifying, and it was very much a battle for P2. It’s very, very tight between us, Mercedes and Ferrari, it looks like, so should be a tough race.”

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