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qualifying results, Russian Grand Prix, Sochi, qualifying, news, Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris pole, full grid, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, standings

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Two weeks after McLaren claimed a historic one-two result at the Italian Grand Prix, Lando Norris secured his first-ever pole position in F1 by topping qualifying at the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi.

He’ll be joined on the front row by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who also produced his best-ever qualifying result.

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes is on the second row in fourth, behind the Williams of George Russell – his second stunning wet-weather qualifying effort after another top-three qualifying result in Spa.

Daniel Ricciardo finished the wet session fifth, a strong result on a difficult weekend heavily affected by an engine issue.

He was left sweating on a potential grid penalty for a Q1 block on Lance Stroll but escaped with a reprimand.

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“Oh boy. It feels amazing. Manic session,” Norris beamed.

“We made the decision to go slicks, you never think you will get pole until you get it,” he added.

Hamilton was looking good for pole after topping the timesheets in Q1 and Q2, but he then suffered late drama with three minutes left of Q3 when he hit the pit wall requiring a hastily fitted new front wing to his damaged Mercedes.

“Twice in the wall… that’s very rare for me,” said Hamilton. “I’m really sorry to all the team because that’s not what you expect from a champion.”

That left the door open for Norris to steal the show at Sochi with a flying last lap of 1min 41.993sec.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team were the last to swap to the slick tyres in Q3, after Norris risked things with the bold early move – something which paid off after he got his tyres to the correct remperature before his rivals, and was perfectly situated when the track dried significantly in the final minutes of Q3.

“It is crazy. Second time in the top three in three or four events, the team have done an amazing job,” said the 22-year-old referring to a brilliant qualifying session at Spa to gain his first podium in the rain-ruined Belgian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo’s ‘knife in my back’ moment | 00:50

Lando Norris proved the McLaren had plenty of pace with a fourth-placed finish in FP2, and looked even more confident in the wet conditions that earlier saw the final practice session cancelled.

Max Verstappen, who leads Hamilton by five points ahead of this 15th round of the season, starts from the back of the grid due to an engine change penalty on his Red Bull.

“As I will be starting from the back of the grid anyway, we decided to take no risks and to skip quali,” the Dutch driver tweeted.

“Quite an interesting quali result! It’s full focus on the race, in which I’ll try to fight my way forward and hopefully have some fun.” Hamilton meanwhile will be counting on exploiting Verstappen’s penalty to the fullest at the circuit on the shores of the Black Sea where he has already won four times with Mercedes undefeated since it first appeared on the calendar in 2014.

Stuck on 99 since Silverstone on July 18 the Mercedes world champion will hope his car’s race pace will see him finally become F1’s first century man.

RICCIARDO AVOIDS PENALTY

Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll both made it into Q2 and Q3, but the Australian was reported to stewards for blocking his rival in the first qualifying session.

Ricciardo came out of the pits and was on the inside corner, getting in the way of Stroll’s Aston Martin as he started a flying lap. But there appeared no other option for the Australian to get out of the way, and since both drivers progressed to the next stage of qualifying it was always unlikely he would cop the penalty.

The incident was reviewed after qualifying and Ricciardo was let off the hook.

Sergio Perez also spun out in his Red Bull, going over a ‘sausage kerb’, but avoided a crash and also comfortably reached Q2.

RESULTS

Russian GP: Qualifying top-10 result

1) Lando Norris, McLaren

2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

3) George Russell, Williams

4) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

5) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine

7) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes

8) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

9) Sergio Perez, Red Bull

10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

Eliminated in Q1: Raikkonen, Schumacher, Giovinazzi, Mazepin, Verstappen

Eliminated in Q2: Vettel, Gasly, Tsunoda, Latifi, Leclerc

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen alongside Nicholas Latifi and Charles Leclerc will all start at the back of the grid for the race after taking on new Power Units.

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Ricciardo and Norris on the same page | 01:16

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McLaren blunt message for Daniel Ricciardo, F1 news

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Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo has spilt on his relationship with the McLaren engineers, detailing the “constructive criticism” he received throughout a chaotic maiden season with the British team.

Following a two-year stint at Renault, the Australian signed a multi-year deal with McLaren ahead of the 2021 championship.

Ricciardo partnered with British young gun Lando Norris, who repeatedly bettered his teammate during the first half of the season.

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Norris had claimed several podium finishes before the mid-season break, while Ricciardo was yet to secure a top-three finish when the drivers went on holiday in August.

The 32-year-old bounced back in September by winning the Italian Grand Prix – McLaren’s first F1 victory in nine years.

But Ricciardo’s woes continued after the Monza triumph, with McLaren slipping below Ferrari on the constructors’ championship as the season drew towards a close.

Ricciardo is currently eighth on the drivers’ standings with 105 points, comfortably below fifth-placed Norris on 153 points.

“The support of (race engineer Tom Stallard), and really the whole team, was good – they were very understanding and patient, for sure,” Ricciardo told GP Racing.

“But yeah, there was also at times a kind of ‘pull your finger out’, and I’m big enough to take constructive criticism – there were no insults or beating me down, it was always trying to understand, ‘Okay, what’s the issue, and then how can we help you?’ That was a more modern approach to take and it’s served us well.”

Daniel Ricciardo is currently eighth on the drivers’ standings with 105 points. Photo by Clive Mason/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Ricciardo’s main cause of frustration in the MCL35M was the braking system, which forced him to undertake a different approach to his driving, a change that didn’t come naturally for the Australian.

“The natural picture in my head was that every lap I do in this car, I’d just get better,” Ricciardo explained.

“In Bahrain I qualified sixth and I knew I still wasn’t close to 100 per cent comfortable. So in my head I was like, ‘Well, each time I drive now I’ll just push the car more and more’.

“And then I, let’s say, hit an early plateau where the limit was a different limit to what I was used to. And to arrive at that limit, I needed to drive the car quite differently.

“The car has some really strong points but also some weak points, and I was just trying to navigate my way to the strong points. It didn’t always come natural for me.

“The key was trying to break it down and understand it corner by corner because, as a whole, there were times when I was seven or eight tenths away (from Norris) and I was like, ‘I can’t do that. I don’t know where that time is’.

Daniel Ricciardo of Australia and McLaren. Photo by Andrej Isakovic – Pool/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“Even with me and Max (Verstappen), a really strong and competitive rivalry, I remember I was furious if he was two tenths faster than me. We all know the calibre of driver Max is. So – and I’m not taking anything away from Lando – a gap that big is like foreign territory really. I’ve never found myself in that position.

“It wasn’t like I made a mistake here or there, it was that I didn’t know where that chunk of time was. Tom was good at bringing it back and saying, ‘Look, let’s analyse, let’s go through this corner – why can’t you do that, what’s stopping you? Let’s figure it out, let’s go from A to B to C, as opposed to just going straight from A to F’.

“Race car drivers or athletes, we are a certain amount of stubborn. But you can’t take that to your grave, if you know what I mean.

“At some point you have to be open-minded and say, ‘All right, this is what it is. I have to now adapt and maybe I’m not comfortable with it at first, but take encouragement that the more I learn and get comfortable with it the better I’ll be’.”

The F1 season resumes next weekend with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which is scheduled to get underway at 4.30am AEDT on Monday, December 6.

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Lando Norris takes aim at ‘very creepy’ social media users

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Lando Norris is only in his third season as an F1 driver, but it hasn’t stopped a barrage of “creepy fans” dissecting every detail of not just his life, but his family and friends as well.

The 22-year-old made his debut with McLaren in 2019 and earned plenty of plaudits for his rookie season drives as well as his jovial spirit off the track.

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Norris would also often participate in Twitch streams playing the virtual edition of his sport alongside his peers George Russell, Alexander Albon and Charles Leclerc.

With 4.4 million followers on Instagram, the Brit has a large social footprint with plenty of devoted fans.

But there are drawbacks to Norris’ ever-growing popularity.

His family and friends have been targeted by online trolls for no reason other than simply appearing on Norris’ social media platforms.

According to the young star, it’s “the worst side” of being a famous athlete.

“I think the one bad thing is just personal life with friends, people who through no fault of their own get put into the spotlight sometimes because of being seen with me, following them on social media or something,” Norris told ESPN.

Lando Norris has been a revelation since making his F1 debut in 2019. Picture: Lars Baron/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“I think that’s been the worst side of it – someone who is just quiet on their own and they are seen with me at dinner or on a post on Instagram.

“There’s still a lot of nasty fans, a lot of fans which are just not nice and just use a lot of people and things like that.

“I’d say the worst thing about the popularity is those kind of people. The people who don’t respect your personal life at all and the people you hang with and so on.

“That’s definitely the worst bit of it.”

Norris said fans went to strange lengths to learn more about the loved ones featured on his social media.

Norris hit out at how people on social media can be “very creepy” with the info they uncover on his family and friends. Picture: Mark Thompson/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

It’s something the McLaren star can see the lighter side of, but is fully aware of the odd nature of it all.

“It’s very, very weird,” Norris said. “Honestly, it’s very creepy what some people do.

“The time they spend trying to investigate things or people or whatever.

“I just laugh and find it very funny, but it’s very weird. It’s just odd.”

Norris will get his next chance to put the online trolls out of his mind at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 6, with lights out scheduled for 4:30am (AEDT).

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how to watch, date, news, preview, Supercars, Jamie Whincup, Mount Panorama

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Jamie Whincup has detailed the “absolutely massive” Bathurst podium in 2005 that aided his move to Triple Eight.

Next weekend’s Repco Bathurst 1000 will be the retiring Whincup’s final full-time appearances before he shifts to team management.

It was at Mount Panorama where Whincup scored the biggest result of his fledgling career prior to his signing with Triple Eight.

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Van Gisbergen wins Supercars title | 02:04

After a run of outs with Garry Rogers Motorsport and Perkins Engineering, a 21-year-old Whincup was signed by Tasman Motorsport for the 2005 season.

Top 10s came and went, but it was at Sandown and Bathurst where Whincup flexed his muscle alongside the late Jason Richards.

The duo finished third at Sandown, before they crossed the line second in the Great Race behind the might of Mark Skaife and the Holden Racing Team.

Just weeks later, Whincup was signed to Triple Eight, and the rest is history.

“It was absolutely massive,” Whincup told The Howie Games podcast.

“I’ve got this lifeline to get back into the sport through Greg Murphy’s father Kevin.

“Little did I know at the time that a certain team boss, Roland Dane, he was looking for a young, cheap kid that could stay out of trouble all year and team up with Lowndesy to win Bathurst.

“For me to run second, hand the car over to Jase in the lead with 30 laps to go, that was a huge pivotal point for me to get the opportunity with my current team.”

Van Gisbergen claims thrilling R29 win | 01:40

Whincup won on his first appearance as a Triple Eight driver in Adelaide, and returned to Bathurst and won with Craig Lowndes.

In 14 seasons since, Whincup added 122 more wins and a record seven drivers’ titles, as well as three more Bathurst victories.

Whincup cited the Adelaide breakthrough as a “fairytale” and highlighted that it was proof he could stick it out long term if he continued to race at the front.

“The car was fantastic; I was a passenger,” he said of Adelaide 2006.

“We ran third on the Saturday and won on the Sunday. It was a fairytale start to my journey with Triple Eight.

De Pasquale fumes after Mostert battle | 00:38

“There’s a common saying in motorsport; you’re only as good as your last race.

“It’s so true; you have a win, and you’re hot property. You’re the man of the moment.

“Winning was huge for me back then, and it started to cement that, hey, I had longevity if I was given the opportunity.”

The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship and Dunlop Series seasons will conclude at the Repco Bathurst 1000.

Every session of the event will be broadcast live on Foxtel (Fox Sports 506) and streamed on Kayo.

This article first appeared on supercars.com and was reproduced with permission.

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