Motor racing-Norris takes McLaren from fire drama to pole joy

By Alan Baldwin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lando Norris's Spanish Grand Prix Saturday started with a fire and ended with a flourish as the McLaren Formula One driver secured the team's first pole position in three years.

Fire engines rushed into the paddock as smoke billowed out of McLaren's multi-storey hospitality unit at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Team boss Zak Brown said a team member had been released from hospital after precautionary checks and everyone else was in good shape.

"Happy to report that everyone is fine, other than our motorhome," the American told Sky Sports television.

The fire, which some media reports said was possibly electrical in origin, occurred before final practice and left a lingering acrid smell with the unit unusable.

Norris, who was also second fastest in final practice before qualifying, said it had been a scare for the whole team and was thankful everyone was safe.

"Just a bit more of a stressful day than I would have liked," the Briton told reporters.

"I lost my shoes and that was as bad as it got for me honestly. I've not been in my normal room, not been able to relax and chill out as much as I’d normally do.

"A lot of the teams have been very nice to us at McLaren and offering help...but it’s a shame it (the hospitality) won’t be used today or tomorrow and maybe not into the future."

Norris said he was using Brown's office in one of the engineering trucks while Australian team mate Oscar Piastri was in another.

"It’s all been a little bit messy, I have one or two sets of everything and they managed to get some stuff out, some of it smells pretty bad from the fire," he said.

"I like to listen to my music and stuff...but I just didn’t have that this time."

Fire in the Formula One paddock, particularly one as crowded as the Spanish Grand Prix, is always a major concern with fuel and inflammable substances present.

A blaze that gutted the Williams garage after the British team won the 2012 Spanish race started in the fuel area and left seven F1 personnel in hospital and 31 tended by circuit medical staff.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Toby Chopra)