Verstappen holds off Norris to win in Spain

Max Verstappen achieved his seventh victory of the 2024 season at the Spanish Grand Prix. The current championship leader finished ahead of Lando Norris while Lewis Hamilton is back on the podium.

The Red Bull driver stayed clear of a late-race charge from Norris to take victory at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona, having got ahead of the polesitter into Turn 1.

Verstappen held the inside line for the opening corner to take position from Norris, although George Russell snatched the lead from both, but the Red Bull driver easily cleared the Mercedes on the third lap thanks to DRS as Russell proved unable to clear off into the distance.

Despite coming under threat in a tactical race, with Verstappen’s gap to Norris rising and falling as McLaren pitted later on, the defending champion resisted the pressure to extend his championship lead.

“I think what made the race was the beginning; when I took the lead and then had to drive quite a defensive race, especially on deg,” Verstappen said. “I think we did everything well, we did quite an aggressive strategy which paid off at the end.

“I had to do a bit of rallying on the straight, got on the grass which lost me momentum. I got ahead of Lando at Turn 1 and wanted to get into the lead so i could look after my tyres a bit.

“It’s just managing the tyres, they get very hot around here with the high-speed corners. it was a management race throughout.”

With all focus on the start between Norris and Verstappen on the front row, it was Russell who claimed the best start from fourth on the grid. The Mercedes driver dived left to take the racing line into the corner while the cars ahead battle for the inside line.

This handed Russell the momentum to go around the outside of them both and into the lead.

Once Verstappen got by, McLaren stayed in the fight after creating a tyre off-set for Norris; the championship leader pitted at the end of lap 17 to trade his softs for mediums, but Norris decided to remain on track for another six laps to ensure his mediums were six laps younger.

The gap between the two sat at about ten seconds following the stops, but Norris began to extend out the gap – although the reducing margins faded as Norris had to clear the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz and the Mercedes duo.

Their delta reduced to five seconds before Verstappen pitted again at the end of lap 44, taking another set of softs to the end, and McLaren chose to pursue just a three-lap offset next time around to give Norris enough to push with to the end.

Although the gap between them went up, Norris spent the rest of the race closing Verstappen down – although time eventually ran out and the difference between them at the flag stood at 2.2 seconds.

Lewis Hamilton claimed his first podium position of the season after passing Russell with 15 laps to the flag, as the Mercedes duo are running different on strategy; Russell’s initial two stints were shorter and thus needed the hard tyre to go to the end, which George felt was not a particularly strong race tyre.

Hamilton’s stints were longer, and thus he could collect the soft tyre and benefit from a quicker pace at the end to overcome his teammate.

Russell finished fourth, despite under pressure from Charles Leclerc – who also took the soft tyre at the end in a bid to make progress. This put Leclerc over Sainz, who in turn finished clear of Oscar Piastri.

Sergio Perez finished in eighth with a three-stop strategy from P11 on the grid, while the Alpines completed the top ten in a vital boost to their constructors’ championship efforts – Pierre Gasly ninth and clear of teammate Esteban Ocon.

It was inevitable that Max Verstappen would win this race despite the qualifying highlight for Lando Norris taking his second career pole. A slow start for the McLaren driver was costly and yet the race pace plus strategy helped the triple champion to win in Spain.

Spanish Grand Prix, race results:
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28:20.227
2 Lando Norris McLaren +2.219s
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +17.790s
4 George Russell Mercedes +22.320s
5 Charles Leclerc Ferrari +22.709s
6 Carlos Sainz Ferrari +31.028s
7 Oscar Piastri McLaren +33.760s
8 Sergio Perez Red Bull +59.524s
9 Pierre Gasly Alpine +62.025s
10 Esteban Ocon Alpine +71.889s
11 Nico Hulkenberg Haas +79.215s
12 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin +1 lap
13 Zhou Guanyu Sauber +1 lap
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin +1 lap
15 Daniel Ricciardo RB +1 lap
16 Valtteri Bottas Sauber +1 lap
17 Kevin Magnussen Haas +1 lap
18 Alexander Albon Williams M +1 lap
19 Yuki Tsunoda RB +1 lap
20 Logan Sargeant Williams +2 laps

4 thoughts to “Verstappen holds off Norris to win in Spain”

  1. Max Verstappen sealed an assured victory in the Spanish Grand Prix as he held off the challenge of pole-sitter Lando Norris to take his seventh win of the season.

    The Red Bull man first took the lead of the race on Lap 3 after the Mercedes of George Russell, starting fourth, made the most of his electric start as the lights went out to lead early on.

    With Verstappen less than happy after appearing to be squeezed by Norris at the start, the three-time world champion settled down after getting past the McLaren man before pipping Russell for the lead with a move down the outside of Turn 1.

    Pole-sitter Norris, who yesterday had been lauding his “perfect lap” in qualifying, would spend the crucial early stages of the race stuck behind Russell, costing him time in the eventual fight for the lead.

    With the lead changing hands a number of times as drivers dipped in for their pit stops, Verstappen would continue to control the race and maintain his lead as the chequered flag closed in, the Red Bull man having kept a set of new softs aside for his final stint of the Grand Prix.

    With Norris running second, his efforts to close in on the Dutchman to challenge for the victory were in vein despite Verstappen’s struggles towards the end, hindered by his second pit stop also being a slow 3.6-second effort.

    Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton managed to secure his first Grand Prix podium of the season, having enjoyed a couple of dramatic on-track battles with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, while Russell would come home in P4 – complaining that his hard tyre “did not feel good” on his final stint.

  2. Chalres Leclerc says Ferrari Formula 1 duo were asked to save tyres early in the race and claims Carlos Sainz ignored that order.

    Sainz had a run on Leclerc at the end of the second lap and put a move on him into Turn 1 around the outside, as Leclerc sat at the inside kerb at the opening right hander.

    Leclerc’s front wing clipped Sainz’s rear right wheel, and the Spaniard ended up taking to the escape road across the opening two corners – which put him ahead at the entry of Turn 3.

    Aggrieved by this, Leclerc says that the contact made his own race more difficult and suggested that Sainz simply wanted to impress at his home race and on the brink of crunch contract talks with other teams over his F1 future.

    “We had a clear strategy at the beginning of the race with both to save tyres to attack later on,” Leclerc explained.

    “Carlos didn’t do any saving in Turn 14 and of course had an opportunity to overtake me in Turn 1, which is a bit of a shame because we lost time between us.

    “I damaged my front wing because of Carlos making the turn and not seeing I was inside and that made our race more difficult.

    “I didn’t understand the point of doing that when it was clearly stated before the race that we had to save in this part of the race.

    “It’s a bit unnecessary, but I also understand that it’s his home race and it’s also an important moment of his career so I guess he wanted to do something a bit spectacular. But I probably wasn’t the right person to do that with.”

  3. The McLaren driver was left to rue a stint behind George Russell before a late charge on Max Verstappen fell short.

    Lando Norris has revealed his frustration at losing ground to Max Verstappen in the race for the Formula 1 drivers’ title after failing to convert pole into victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The Briton also claimed that McLaren was “the quickest car” on track at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya having tracked Red Bull’s Verstappen to a gap of 2.2 seconds by the end of the 66-lap race.

    Addressing the critical opening to the race, Norris told Sky Sports F1: “It really wasn’t like it was a bad start. It was like two meters, Max just got there and I couldn’t cover him. And that was it. Also from George’s side, George has such a good slipstream.

    “The cars are getting almost more and more draggy in some ways because you’re having more and more downforce but in an efficient way. George has slipstreamed past both of us. Even if you took me out of it, George still would have got ahead of Max.

    “That’s the crazy part of it all. I did what I could. It wasn’t the best start. I don’t think it was a bad start.”

  4. The three-time world champion collected his seventh win of 2024 at Barcelona, but says early overtakes were the key.

    Max Verstappen says his Spanish GP victory was made by his first-lap move down the inside of polesitter Lando Norris, and swift clearance of leader George Russell.

    Verstappen threaded his Red Bull down the inside of Norris into Turn 1 after briefly losing momentum through having a wheel on the grass on the run to the first corner.

    Although the Dutchman wrested position from Norris, it ultimately proved to be for second as Russell swept around the outside of both drivers and led the first two laps.

    Russell’s lead lasted for little longer than that, as Verstappen captured a tow on the exit of Turn 14 and cleared the Mercedes driver with DRS to start the third lap out in front.

    Verstappen says that this ensured he could control the race, and being in front of Norris was the key to his 61st F1 victory.

    “I think what made my race was getting the lead in lap two and basically getting also ahead of Lando,” Verstappen recounted to Sky F1.

    “That’s where I basically won the race with the gap that I have to Lando, since that first stint I had been driving a very aggressive and defensive race, being quite early with the stops compared to Lando.

    “They were definitely just a bit faster today, better on tyres as well and that is of course a little bit concerning. That’s not what you like to see but as a team I think we operated really well today. We maximised everything that we had.”

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