George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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McLaren’s Lando Norris says it feels “amazing” to take pole position ahead of the Russian Grand Prix, but has raised some concerns from starting at the front of the grid for the first time in his Formula One career.
Norris set the fastest time in a jumbled up wet/dry qualifying session in Sochi, as Lewis Hamilton hit the wall in his Mercedes after switching for slick tyres.
“It feels amazing,” Norris began. “I don’t know what to say, quite a manic session.
“We made the decision to go to slicks, you never think you’re going to get pole until you get it, now I’ve managed to do it.
“Extremely happy and big thanks to the team, they’ve done an amazing job.”
Norris will be joined on the front row by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and the Williams of George Russell, with Hamilton starting fourth on the grid, looking to take back control of the championship.
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But the 21-year-old admitted he’s slightly wary of leading the pack off the line.
“I’m not really looking forward to it,” laughed Norris. “I’m not looking forward to being the first down to turn one tomorrow.
“You never know, it’s gonna set us up well. We’re in the best position we can be in so I’m happy – it’s my first pole was hopefully the first of many. I’m just really happy.
“Coming off of Monza, this wasn’t something we expected. But these conditions open up opportunities and we took it.”
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With changing conditions, teams had to take a gamble to change their wet weather tyres for slicks as the track started to dry.
”It was tough, it was tough I was going to make myself sound good, but It was tricky.
“I wasn’t very confident but kept the tyres warm, I risked a bit but it paid off.”
Hamilton meanwhile took all the blame for smashing into the wall and potentially holding up his team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the pits.
When asked by Craig Slater from Sky Sports F1 if the incident was caused by cold tyres, Hamilton replied: “No, just a mistake for myself, ultimately, Incredibly disappointed in myself.
“Up until then, I was in the groove I was really in a zone, And I’m really sorry for all the team that are here and back to the factory because obviously, that’s not what you expect from a champion, but it is what it is, and I will do my best tomorrow to try and rectify it.
“It was horrible at the end, very poor grip very slippery when you don’t have any temperature in your tyres I was losing temperature during the lap and then even twice in the wall, that’s very rare for me.”
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