Lando Norris 'nervous' about dream third place on grid for Abu Dhabi GP

Rising star admits he has concerns about title fight in front of him between Verstappen and Hamilton at Yas Marina Circuit

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Rising star Lando Norris was caught between a rock and a hard place after a dream end to the final qualifying of the season.

The 22-year-old fired his McLaren into a surprise third spot right behind championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

That means he has the best seat in the house for the most thrilling title finale in years.

But the man tipped as a future world champion said the prospect was unnerving because he does not want to ruin a finely balanced title fight.

Verstappen, who is starting on pole right in front of him, is a close friend and eight time champion Lewis Hamilton is his idol.

“I’m a bit nervous,” he admitted. “I just want to stay right out of it, maybe watch but not get involved too much because it could cause a lot of controversy. But I will do my best.”

He even joked that it would make sense for the rest of the grid to start five seconds behind the duelling duo for safety’s sake.

“There were glimpses throughout qualifying we had the speed and I just managed to put it all together,” he added. “I made some improvements and some mistakes. I went for pole but it didn't quite work out. I was a little bit off. It was a nice lap, Q3 was a bit of a surprise!

“There’s going to be a lot going on in front of me but I’ll focus on my race. I don't know whether to go for the move, not go for the move, you tell me?”

Given his prime seat for the showdown race on Yas Island Norris joked that perhaps he should put his place on the grid up to auction to friends of Hamilton and Verstappen.

In reality he knows that given the importance of the race and the tension of a winner-take-all showdown race, victory could easily be his.

Hamilton and Verstappen will not want to mix it with the McLaren racer and would happily settle for second as long as they are ahead of their title rival.

That could make it the perfect day to put the record straight after missing out so painfully on his maiden victory in the rain in Russia.

Updated: December 12, 2021, 7:28 AM
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