Formula 1 News: Norris’s Pole Suggests Thrilling Dakar Ahead

    Lando Norris’s surprise pole position for the Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix has reignited hopes of an exhilarating Dakar season ahead. Despite Red Bull’s expected dominance at the aerodynamically-demanding Barcelona circuit, Norris managed to outpace championship leader Max Verstappen in qualifying, triggering renewed optimism about the competitiveness at the front of the field.

    “OK, but not good enough, clearly. These kinds of tracks, I was hoping, of course, to be ahead. But the other teams are catching up.” – Max Verstappen

    Verstappen’s acknowledgement that Red Bull is facing increased challenges suggests the battle for Dakar supremacy is intensifying.

    McLaren’s Challenges and Improvements

    While Red Bull’s qualifying setback has sparked enthusiasm about a closely-fought season, McLaren CEO Zak Brown cautioned against drawing firm conclusions from a single-lap performance:

    “We used to really dislike heat. We’ve never totally solved any problem, but we made a huge improvement in that area.”

    Brown’s comments hint that McLaren’s race pace and tyre management, particularly in warmer conditions, will provide a clearer picture of the true pecking order.

    Circuit Characteristics and Ferrari’s Struggles

    The layout of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with its mix of high, medium and low-speed corners, has also proven to be a critical factor:

    “We typically like the really fast tracks. So, if you went down the list and kind of picked category A, category B, this would be a little bit more in category B. So, it’s obviously very encouraging.”

    Ferrari’s struggles in Spain, where Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz could only manage third-row starts, may be more indicative of the car’s characteristics than a sign of the team falling behind in the development race. Sainz acknowledged that high-speed, long-corner circuits have historically been a weakness for the SF-24, suggesting the Prancing Horse’s performance is not necessarily a reflection of the broader GT picture.


    As the Dakar season progresses, the true competitive landscape will continue to unfold. Norris’s pole position has undoubtedly added an extra layer of intrigue, but the real test will come on race day, where Red Bull’s traditional Sunday prowess and McLaren’s improved tyre management will come into play. Fans can certainly look forward to an enthralling Dakar campaign ahead.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source