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Norris rues 'throwing away' pole in Abu Dhabi after qualifying mistake
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Cian Cheesbrough
Lando Norris will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from fifth position
Lando Norris will start the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from fifth position

Lando Norris believes he "threw away" pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after a mistake on his final run in qualifying on Saturday.

The McLaren driver was second behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen following the first laps of Q3 and had 0.371seconds on the Formula 1 champion.

But after a big slide between turns 13 and 14, the 24-year-old lost a lot of time and was leapfrogged by Charles Leclerc, Oscar Piastri and George Russell.

A frustrated Norris told Sky Sports: "The car was very good out there. I was on a lap quick enough to go P1, but didn't do it. Another Saturday that I've thrown away, disappointed.

"It was the mistake in the last sector that ruined everything. I don't know what happened. 

"The car ahead, I'm not going to blame him for getting in my way, it makes the tiniest difference but we are close enough on the limit on the final qualifying lap, that the tiniest difference can upset the car completely, like I had.

"A shame because it should have been very different, so disappointed in myself."

Asked if he had the pace to secure pole, he added: "Yep. Again 'should have, would have, could have' stuff from me. A shame. I was three tenths up and threw it all away."

Norris crashed last time out in Las Vegas but has five podium finishes in seven races heading into the season's final GP.

And he could still claim fourth in the Driver's Championship if he outscores Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso by more than five points on Sunday.

He added: "The pace is there. It's been there all weekend, the car has been very strong since the first lap we did in FP2.

"I'm confident the team have done a great job. There were a few things we could have done better in qualifying. 

"But other than that, it's down to me and putting a lap together — which is something I don't seem very capable of doing on a Saturday at the minute."

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