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Pole-sitter Norris brands Shanghai Sprint ‘frustrating’ after Lap 1 error leaves him P6

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Lando Norris’s hopes of scoring his first F1 win in any format disappeared in the Shanghai Sprint, with the McLaren driver dropping from pole position to P7 by the end of the first lap.

Norris had dazzled in the wet final part of Sprint qualifying at the Shanghai International Circuit, taking pole position from the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton by a full 1.261s.

AS IT HAPPENED: Follow all the action from the F1 Sprint in China

But come the Sprint start, a strong getaway from Hamilton saw the pair run side-by-side into the long, 270-degree Turn 1-2 complex, with Norris slipping off track after an oversteer moment and dropping down to P7.

Norris would benefit from Fernando Alonso’s retirement – after a thrilling scrap with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz – to take P6 and three points by the chequered flag. But it wasn’t the return from the day that the McLaren driver had been hoping for.

“I just lost it, nothing else to say,” was Norris’s verdict of the start incident. “Obviously tried to keep it on the outside, but just with this tarmac, [just ran] a little bit wide, coldish tyres and I just lost the rear.

2024 Chinese GP Sprint: Hamilton snatches the lead from Norris at the start in Shanghai

“So a shame, but it happens. A bit frustrating, but anyway, I think we struggled a lot with our pace. Like, I was just hanging on with the DRS [drag reduction system], otherwise I would have dropped back massively. Our pace was pretty poor, then picked up a bit of damage at the end.

READ MORE: Verstappen charges to victory over Hamilton in dramatic Shanghai Sprint

“Tough race, not what we were hoping for, but a few points and I feel like we probably would have ended up in a similar position, but Lewis ended up a lot further ahead. I feel like they [Mercedes] were quicker than us but not a lot. Definitely more points were up for grabs but obviously a few mistakes cost me.”

With Oscar Piastri also struggling for pace in the Sprint en route to P7, McLaren at least have the opportunity to hone their MCL60s – which exit parc ferme conditions after the Sprint before going back into parc ferme at the start of qualifying on Saturday afternoon – to enact any changes they want on the cars.

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