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“Lando Didn’t Have Any Advantage”: Andrea Stella Defends FIA for Snatching Pole Position From Lewis Hamilton to Favor Norris

Nischay Rathore

“Lando Didn’t Have Any Advantage”: Andrea Stella Defends FIA for Snatching Pole Position From Lewis Hamilton to Favor Norris

Lando Norris secured the provisional pole position during the sprint qualifying at the Chinese GP on Friday. However, Lewis Hamilton was up to the task of bettering the time registered by his fellow Briton. The joy was short-lived, unfortunately, for the seven-time world champion. That was because the FIA reinstated Norris’ pole lap it had earlier deleted owing to the violation of track limits.

Norris exceeded the track limits on the final corner and went into the gravel before rejoining the circuit. However, the violation happened before he started the flying lap. While the rules call for the deletion of flying lap timings in such a case, it is only when the driver gains an unfair advantage. The FIA ruled that Norris, in fact, did not gain an advantage. McLaren boss Andrea Stella welcomed the decision and gave some more insights on his driver’s lap. quoted Stella as saying, “Lando didn’t have any advantage when he left the track, because he took a lower speed with him on the straight. With that mistake, he lost almost three-tenths.”

The revelation sheds light on the fact that the lap that got Norris his pole position for the sprint race was the lap subsequent to the one where he violated the track limits. It also provides further clarity on FIA’s rules governing track limitations and what constitutes an unfair advantage.

Have McLaren surprised themselves with Lando Norris’ pole lap?

As is the norm, rain injects excitement into Formula 1. The wet conditions got the better of Max Verstappen, who has been enjoying an immaculate form. Furthermore, it handed the advantage to McLaren, who are arguably not even second-fastest in the season so far.

McLaren finished the 2023 as the second-fastest in the latter half of the season. However, the Papaya team failed to carry that momentum in 2024. While they have emerged faster than Mercedes, the Woking-based outfit is nowhere near registering a win.

The dwindling confidence was visible in the statements, including the one issued by Oscar Piastri, ahead of the Chinese GP race weekend. The Australian dubbed the upcoming race to be the “toughest” challenge for McLaren.

His teammate, however, sees some positives after grabbing the pole position. Norris appeared confident of holding back the likes of Hamilton and Alonso starting from the front. He also talked about his ability to hold off Max Verstappen in wet conditions.

It is only the dry runs that set some doubts in his mind. Will be interesting to see how the weather plays out tomorrow. Though it is understood what Lando Norris is praying for.

About the author

Nischay Rathore

Nischay Rathore


Nischay Rathore is an F1 journalist at The SportsRush with over a thousand articles under his belt. An avid Ayrton Senna admirer, Nischay embarked on his sports journalism journey despite completing graduation in Law. When not covering the high-speed thrills of the pinnacle of motorsport, he can be seen enjoying crime thrillers and 90s gangster movies with a hearty bowl of buttery popcorn.

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