In the first half of a rainy Q1 at the F1 Belgian GP qualifying, Norris veered off the track at Stavelot. His skid through the gravel led his race engineer to suggest possible front wing damage.
Upon further investigation in the garage, it was discovered that Norris had inflicted significant damage to his floor. This left him at a disadvantage for the remainder of the mixed-weather session.
Norris managed to make it into Q3 but had to accept the seventh position behind his rookie teammate, Piastri. The McLarens were found lacking in top speed on the straights.
Norris conveyed to Sky Sports F1, “I went off in Q1 and utterly wrecked the floor, so I’m satisfied to have made it to Q3 and be just a few tenths off what Oscar achieved.”
“I think he performed well. His middle sector was particularly strong. We were lacking in the straights.
“There are victories and defeats, but I’m content. It could have been significantly worse, like being out in Q1, so I’m fine with P7.”
When questioned about the extent of damage to his MCL60’s floor, Norris said: “The entire thing. Usually, you can repair it [under parc ferme rules].
“Tape wouldn’t suffice. We attempted to tape it. They did a commendable job repairing as much as possible, but it was too extensive to be competitive today.
“So, I don’t believe we’re inadequate. I think if we had a car that was intact, if I hadn’t erred in Q1, we might have had a slightly better day.
“We weren’t significantly behind the leaders, but I’m glad I got what I did out of it.”
Piastri also expressed that he didn’t maximize his McLaren’s performance.
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Steven Tee / F1 Flow Images
A washed-out free practice session meant a wet-to-dry Q3 was the only time Piastri, the 22-year-old newcomer, could run on slick tyres at Spa-Francorchamps, giving him few reference points.
The Australian commented, “I felt quite at ease when the conditions were really challenging.”
“I think the track drying up and getting closer to normal was more of a setback for me because I’ve never completed a dry lap around here in an F1 car.
“Especially when it’s wet offline, you never want to brake too late and I think that’s where I unfortunately left a lot to be desired.”
McLaren has recently shone in the races, with Norris securing two back-to-back podiums in Silverstone and Budapest, thereby giving the 2023 season a boost with a significant car upgrade.
However, according to Piastri, Ferrari, which will start on pole with Charles Leclerc, will be a bigger competitor in the battle for second place, currently dominated by Red Bulls.
“Ferrari appears more formidable this weekend, so it’s not just two teams vying for the runner-up position, it’s more like three, possibly four.
“We still have another qualifying and the sprint to go but I think we can be confident. The speed and the car are still quite commendable.”
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about F1 Belgian GP qualifying
What happened to Norris during the F1 Belgian GP qualifying?
During the first half of a rainy Q1 at the F1 Belgian GP qualifying, Norris veered off the track at Stavelot, leading to severe damage to his car’s floor. This left him at a disadvantage for the rest of the mixed-weather session.
Which position did Norris secure in the Belgian GP?
Despite the damage to his car, Norris managed to make it into Q3 and secured the seventh position.
How did the damage impact Norris’s performance?
The significant damage to his floor left Norris’s car compromised for the rest of the mixed-weather session. The damage was too extensive to be fully competitive, but despite this, he managed to secure the 7th position.
How did Piastri, Norris’s teammate, perform in the qualifiers?
Piastri, Norris’s rookie teammate, outperformed Norris and ended up ahead of him. Despite this, Piastri felt that he hadn’t extracted the maximum performance out of his McLaren.
What did Norris say about the extent of the damage to his car?
When asked about the damage, Norris said that his MCL60’s entire floor was damaged. The team tried to repair as much as they could under parc ferme rules, but the damage was too extensive to be fully competitive.
Who will be a significant competitor for McLaren in the upcoming races according to Piastri?
According to Piastri, Ferrari, starting on pole with Charles Leclerc, will be a significant competitor in the fight for second place, currently dominated by the Red Bulls.