(Reuters) – McLaren’s Lando Norris found himself facing a dilemma after seizing a “nervous” third place behind Formula One title-rivals Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
The 22-year-old will line up on the second row, right behind the feuding pair who, tied on points, are heading into their very own winner-takes-all showdown.
A good start could put Britain’s Norris right in the mix and upset the calculations of what Verstappen and Hamilton will be hoping is a straight, two-way fight.
“I’m a bit nervous,” Norris said after the session.
“I kind of want to just stay where I am and just watch everything unfold over the first few laps or even the whole race.
“But I obviously don’t want to really get involved too much because it can cause a lot of controversy.”
Verstappen leads Hamilton 9-8 in race wins this season, which puts him ahead of the Briton on the count back.
The pair have collided three times this season, raising concerns the title battle could be decided by a crash, with Verstappen becoming champion if both fail to score.
Norris, who was on course to score a maiden Formula One win in Russia until a mistaken tyre gamble in changing weather dropped him to seventh, could be in a position to capitalise if there are any fireworks between the championship-fighting pair.
“I don’t know whether to go for the move, not go for the move, you tell me,” he asked former-racer-turned-TV-pundit David Coulthard in the post-qualifying interviews.
“But I’ll do my best and if I have a chance I’ll go for it.”
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Ken Ferris)