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Watch: Norris takes pole as rain causes chaos in Chinese GP sprint qualifying

Lando Norris took pole for the Sprint Race scheduled for Saturday. Photo: AFP

McLaren’s Lando Norris pipped the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton to pole position on Friday for the Chinese Grand Prix sprint race as rain played havoc with qualifying in Shanghai.

Fernando Alonso in an Aston Martin was third with championship leader Max Verstappen fourth.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez was sixth, splitting the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc, who survived a spin on the wet track.

Hamilton was briefly on top when Norris’s quickest lap of 1min 57.940sec on intermediate wet tyres was deleted for breaching track limits, only to be reinstated by stewards a minute later.

A big crowd at the Shanghai International Circuit let out a huge roar when hometown hero Zhou Guanyu qualified 10th.

Oscar Piastri was eighth in his McLaren and Zhou’s teammate Valtteri Bottas ninth to round out the top 10 on the grid for Saturday’s 19-lap shootout.

“It was tricky, you are always nervous going into a session like this. You just have to risk a lot, push and build tyre temperature and what not,” said Englishman Norris.

“I’m happy, sad it’s not for a proper qualifying, but good enough. 

“You only get three laps. The first two I aborted on both, so it was all or nothing, a good position for tomorrow.”

Saturday’s sprint will be followed by qualifying to set the grid for Sunday’s 56-lap grand prix, the first in China since 2019.

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