An early mistake on his SQ3 lap saw Lando Norris’ hopes of pole position for the sprint disappear in what the McLaren driver called “a big spiral” at the Miami Grand Prix.

Norris is running a major upgrade on his car this weekend as McLaren has introduced a number of new parts, and was quickest by a comfortable margin in SQ2, raising hopes of being fastest in the session. However, a poor first sector in SQ3 and further mistakes on the soft tire saw him end up ninth on the grid, while his SQ2 time on medium tires would have proven good enough for pole as multiple drivers struggled.

“I just pushed too hard, simple as that,” Norris said. “The car was feeling very good. Just silly to be honest. Couple of mistakes in Turn 1 and just a big spiral from there. A shame, because the team has done a good job, the upgrades were working, so I’m happy with everything, just not with one thing.

“I hope . I mean, the pace was very good, probably one of the quickest. So disappointed with today but I’ll do my best tomorrow.”

Norris’ teammate Oscar Piastri only has around half of the new parts as McLaren opted against risking new mechanical components across both cars, and after securing sixth place he similarly was surprised by the difficulties faced in SQ3.

“I think it was just a really, really tricky session for everybody,” Piastri said. “I don’t know if the track changed a little bit or if we all just thought the soft was going to be a lot better, but my lap felt pretty terrible and it was P6. I think everyone must have just had a bad run. Lando did the quickest lap of the whole qualifying on a medium in SQ2, so a bit strange but I’ll take P6.”

Piastri says he has no worries about degradation in the sprint despite high temperatures in Miami, although he is expecting plenty of action on Saturday.

“It’s going to be tough for everybody I think, but the tires seem to be surviving OK; they’re just very hot. Not too concerned, but I think it could be an exciting sprint. We’ve got a few cars out of position. I feel like nobody’s really had much consistency, so it will be exciting tomorrow.”