Lando Norris is cautious about the prospect of securing a podium finish for the Singapore Grand Prix, despite setting the fourth-best time in qualifying.
With both Red Bulls dropping out in Q2, pole position was up for grabs amongst the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes and Norris in the updated MCL60.
Carlos Sainz, who’d gone quickest in FP3, secured pole by a narrow margin ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell, with the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc wounding up third.
Norris ended up fourth, 0.286s behind the pole time set by his ex-McLaren team-mate, leaving him delighted with the Woking squad’s performance.
“To be two-tenths off pole was a very good result for us today,” Norris said. “I know two-tenths doesn’t sound a lot but I did my best laps by quite a long way in Q3.
“It was tough, it was close – it’s not an easy track ever to push to the limit and try and find more time but we did that every time.
“To be P4, maybe some people expected more, but I’m very happy with it. We’re probably closer to the top than we thought, to be ahead of both Red Bulls was a bit of a surprise.
“A good day, but turning it into some points tomorrow is the main thing.”
Having already scored two podiums this year, Norris is well-placed to secure a third trip to the rostrum in tomorrow’s race.
However, the Briton is remaining modest about his ambitions, citing the difficulty in overtaking at the Marina Bay Circuit.
“I would just love to get some good points, I know everyone’s going to be saying podium but it’s a difficult track to overtake on,” he said.
“With two Ferraris, who have been very strong all weekend, with Mercedes and George – who has also been strong all weekend – and Mercedes are always good on race pace too.
“I’m maybe not the most confident to say we can attack them but we have pace, clearly, to fight against them and stay where we are at least so that’s going to be the plan.”
Norris has shown strong pace all weekend in the updated MCL60
Meanwhile, team-mate Oscar Piastri was unable to advance beyond Q1, getting caught out by a red flag at the end of Q1 caused by Lance Stroll’s crash in the final corner.
The stoppage prevented Piastri from completing his final run and he was eliminated at the first time of asking – but the Australian remains adamant post-qualifying that he would have made it through to Q2 without the stoppage.
“It would have been a little bit tight, but I think there was enough to get through looking at the delta I had from the previous lap,” he explained.
“Just a shame obviously. I’m glad Lance is okay, but just a shame it happened right in front of me instead of right behind me.”
With a 17th-place finish in qualifying on a track with limited overtaking, Piastri is well aware he faces a difficult challenge getting through the pack tomorrow.
“I did a few laps behind Logan [Sargeant] in FP2 and I couldn’t overtake him without the tyres overheating, and I think we’re in a quicker car than the Williams this weekend, so I’m not really liking our chances,” he added.
“But that doesn’t mean we won’t try.”
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