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McLaren’s Lando Norris takes maiden F1 pole at Russian Grand Prix

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McLaren's British driver Lando Norris steers his car during the qualifying session for the Formula One Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom circuit in Sochi on 25 September 2021. (AFP)

McLaren’s Lando Norris took his maiden Formula One pole in a shock outcome to Saturday’s qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix.

Norris is joined on the front row by the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz with Lewis Hamilton starting on the second row in his latest attempt at reaching 100 wins.

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.

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

The refreshingly different complexion of the top of the grid was completed by George Russell of Williams posting the third quickest time to start alongside seven-time world champion Hamilton.

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.

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