Formula One: Lando Norris pips Verstappen to take pole in thrilling Spanish GP

Barcelona, June 22 (IANS): McLaren's Lando Norris delivered a spectacular final lap to snatch pole position from Max Verstappen in the thrilling qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix here on Saturday. Norris claimed his second Formula 1 pole of the career and first of the season. Initially, Verstappen seemed certain to start Sunday's race from the front of the grid. However, Norris narrowly stopped the Red Bull driver on the final throw of the top-10 shootout by a mere two-hundredths of a second.

Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate George Russell will line up on the second row after finishing third and fourth, respectively. Charles Leclerc and home favourite Carlos Sainz had to settle for fifth and sixth in what was another tight session around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, while Pierre Gasly starred en route to seventh for Alpine.

Sergio Perez was eighth in his Red Bull but will drop three places on the grid with his penalty from Canada, promoting the other Alpine of Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who had a scruffy Q3 and failed to log a time. Fernando Alonso gave it his all to reach the pole position shootout on home soil but ultimately missed out on Q3 by just a couple of hundredths of a second, having been pushed into the Q2 drop zone by former teammate Ocon.

Alonso was joined in the drop zone by Kick Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu in respective P12 and P15 slots, with Haas driver Nico Hulkenberg and the other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll slotting between them. Magnussen could not quite match the pace of teammate Hulkenberg as he fell at the first qualifying hurdle in 16th position, the Dane just missing out on a Q2 spot to Stroll, who appeared to be impeded by Logan Sargeant during the Q1 phase.

A raft of updates this weekend brought the promise of cementing RB’s position at the front of F1’s midfield battle, but their practice struggles carried over to qualifying and left Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo in a disappointing P17 and P18 respectively. Williams also experienced one of their toughest sessions of the season, with Alex Albon and Sargeant unable to prevent the team from propping up the rear – leaving them with a significant challenge to add any more points to their tally on race day.



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Title: Formula One: Lando Norris pips Verstappen to take pole in thrilling Spanish GP

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