Lando Norris Edges Out Max Verstappen for Pole at Spanish Grand Prix

The McLaren driver narrowly beat out a seemingly unstoppable Verstappen to gain the upper hand going into Sunday's race.
Norris became the fourth different pole-sitter in four races with his performance on Saturday.
Norris became the fourth different pole-sitter in four races with his performance on Saturday. / Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2024 Formula One championship race tightening, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris once again battled it out in qualifying. And on Saturday ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, the McLaren driver won the hotly contested battle.

For the first time this season, Norris placed his car on pole with a blistering flying lap just before the close of Saturday's session. He usurped Verstappen with a time just 0.02 seconds quicker to gain the top spot on the grid Sunday as he eyes his second win of the year after claiming victory at the Miami Grand Prix.

Norris's impressive drive came shortly after the McLaren hospitality unit had to be evacuated due to a fire that broke out ahead of Saturday's third practice session. One employee of the team was hospitalized as a precaution but the outfit's on-track performance was unaffected.

Verstappen seemed to have the advantage for much of qualifying, leading the chase pack of Norris, Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, George Russell and Charles Leclerc by what appeared to be a fairly comfortable margin throughout Q3. He ultimately settled for second, while the Mercedes duo of Hamilton and Russell landed in third and fourth on the starting grid, respectively.

The Ferraris came next in what was a fairly disappointing session for the second-place team in the constructors standings. Leclerc nabbed fifth with Sainz in sixth ahead of Alpine's Pierre Gasly in seventh.

Verstappen's Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez claimed eighth, but will start Sunday's race in 11th due to a three-place grid penalty that he carried with him from the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago. Esteban Ocon nabbed ninth and Oscar Piastri of McLaren rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Norris will look to hold off a charging Verstappen and cut into the Red Bull driver's championship lead when the Spanish Grand Prix gets underway at 9 a.m. ET on Sunday.


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Zach Koons

ZACH KOONS

Zach Koons is a programming editor at Sports Illustrated who also specializes in Formula One news and analysis. He started as a breaking news writer at SI before joining the programming team in 2023. Also a contributor to NBA and college sports coverage, Zach previously wrote for The Spun and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently hosts the Bleav in Northwestern podcast. Zach is a 2020 graduate of Northwestern and lives in New York City.