Toto Wolff has backed the FIA’s decision to reinstate Lando Norris’ lap that secured him pole position for the sprint race at the F1 Chinese Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver went fastest but saw his lap time deleted and then reinstated in the final minutes of the session, handing him pole with an effort that was 1.261 seconds quicker than Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.

Despite running wide at the final corner on the push lap prior to the one that he claimed pole with, race control determined Norris had gained no advantage after initially deleting the time.

Analysis from Sky Sports F1’s Karun Chandhok revealed that Norris had in fact lost three tenths at the start of the lap that earned him pole for Saturday’s sprint race.

And Mercedes boss Wolff said he had no issue with the call.

“I haven’t seen the detail, I’ve just seen ‘four tyres off track’ but honestly that was even slower, so he could have probably gone faster so I’m ok with that,” Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

Hamilton claimed Mercedes’ best qualifying result of the season with second place, while teammate George Russell was only 11th after being knocked out in SQ2 when rain started to fall.

“Obviously, the driving is most important in the wet. It shows that it’s about tyre preparation,” Wolff said of Hamilton’s lap.

“We did the right thing on the final run. The tyres were in a sweet spot combined with a great drive, which made the time.”

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 5, Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai, China, Sprint

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W15. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

After complaining that his intermediate tyres were not working, Hamilton abandoned his first lap of SQ3 to return to the pits, where Mercedes fitted him with a fresh set.

“That was on purpose,” Wolff explained. “We changed the specs of the tyres and played around with the pressure.

“But the point is that – and you saw George – both cars were not competitive in Q2 because the tyres never gripped.

“Our car and generating grip is not an easy task. We failed in Q1 and Q2 but got it right in Q3.”

Asked if Mercedes can beat McLaren in the sprint race, Wolff said: “We should have the pace in the dry.

“I don’t think we have the pace against the Red Bulls, but we are against the McLarens.

“Having said that, we don’t know. We have no data from FP1. It could be that [McLaren] are much quicker too, or the other way around.”