The qualifying session for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya saw Lewis Hamilton taking his 100th pole position for Mercedes. However, it was the issue between Lando Norris and Nikita Mazepin that dominated the headlines.
McLaren's Lando Norris has been showing great form all weekend, and it was surprising that he only managed to qualify in 9th place. He says that the disappointing result is a direct consequence of how Haas rookie Nikita Mazepin blocked one of his runs in Q1.
Mazepin let two cars pass in Turn 15 during the latter stages of Q1 before failing to move out of the way of the flying Norris. As a result, the McLaren Team had to change their strategy for Norris, making him use a set of tyres meant for Q3 in order to ensure that he gets out of the danger zone in Q1.
The Russian did receive a useless grid penalty for the offence, even though he already qualified dead last. He also received a penalty point for his actions. However, Norris is at the losing end, as he now has to start from 9th place even though he has been showing a much stronger pace all weekend. He will now have to recover on the race itself.
"I was just a bit unlucky with the traffic. It definitely cost me a chance to maybe fight around where Daniel [Ricciardo] was to fourth, fifth sixth positions because it was very close. A bit of a shame but it was nothing we really could have done," said Norris after qualifying.
However, he has no bad blood towards Mazepin, recognising that the Russian found himself in a difficult spot on the grid. "He was in a tricky situation to be honest, because two cars passed and held him up, so there wasn't a lot that he could do," he said.
Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo had a better result in the other McLaren. He managed to get into 7th place ahead of his teammate and Red Bull's Sergio Perez in 8th. He was underwhelming in the first three races so far this season, and he finally has the opportunity to outshine his teammate.