'Bit bruised' Norris in mega crash in rain-hit Belgian Grand Prix qualifying

Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) (AFP) –


Lando Norris was involved in a ferocious crash in treacherous wet conditions during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday before admitting: "I'm just a bit bruised."

The Briton lost control of his McLaren, his car spinning multiple times from one side of the track to the other after the rear end hit the barriers at Eau Rouge.

The only one of his four tyres intact was the front left.

"First of all, I'm doing good, but I've been better! I think just a bit bruised," said Norris after being checked out in hospital.

"Obviously, it was quite a big impact and I think my body's just been thrown around a little bit but I'm good.

"I'm ready to race tomorrow and I want to get back on track already because it didn't end the way I wanted it to."

Sebastian Vettel, who had called for the Q3 session to be stopped a little while earlier, drove up in his Aston Martin to check on the condition of the 21-year-old.

The German, a four-time former world champion, only drove on when he got a thumbs up.

Norris' team came over the radio asking "Lando, are you okay, are you okay?" with the shaken, but seemingly unharmed, driver replying "Yes, Sorry boys we should have had a good one. I've let you down."

The medics then helped him gingerly out of his cockpit.

The session was red-flagged as stewards hurried to clear the debris from the stricken McLaren off the track.

Norris' mechanics were set for a long night getting it roadworthy in time for Sunday's race.

"Everything was going extremely well. Since the first lap in Q1, things were going perfectly and the car was feeling hooked up. I felt confident with the car," said Norris.

"It was tricky going out in Q3 because, even on the out-lap, I was saying how wet it was because I was aquaplaning quite a bit.

"It was just a difficult situation to be in. How much do you want to push? How much do you not? I think, a combination of pushing a bit too much for the weather at that point and aquaplaning a little bit in the middle of Eau Rouge obviously didn't end too well."

Norris, third in the drivers championship, had led qualifying through the first two sessions held as the rain beat down on the majestic but notoriously demanding Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Ardennes.

He was in a great position to claim his first ever pole and end up at the front of Sunday's grid, instead he ended up in the medical centre.

After a 40-minute stoppage the session got back underway with 8.59 minutes of Q1 left on the clock.

Max Verstappen in a Red Bull eventually claimed pole position for Sunday's race while Norris will start from the fifth row.