Spanish GP: Max Verstappen denies Lando Norris’ comeback to win as Lewis Hamilton returns to the podium | F1 News

Max Verstappen overcame a comeback challenge from a fast-paced Lando Norris to claim a stunning victory at the Spanish GP and extend his lead in the F1 world championship.

Norris regretted a poor start that saw him drop from pole position to third place coming out of the first corner of the race (in important early exchanges that saw Mercedes’ George Russell take the lead from fourth place) he attempted to get back on track. get ahead through strategy like McLaren. He delayed the timing of his two pit stops compared to Verstappen and Red Bull.

But, despite relentlessly catching Verstappen in the closing stages of the race, Norris eventually ran out of laps and finished 2.2 seconds behind at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the Red Bull driver held on for his seventh victory in a season. increasingly competitive.

Lewis Hamilton finally ended his wait for a first podium in 2024 with an excellent drive to third position.

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Lewis Hamilton takes third place from his teammate George Russell in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Although he fell behind his fast teammate at the start, Hamilton overtook Russell after the second stop with a striking move around the outside of the sister Mercedes into turn one.

Russell, who had problems with his second set of tires when he switched to the hard compound while others, including Hamilton, opted for the soft ones, ultimately finished just ahead of fifth-placed Charles Leclerc.

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George Russell takes the lead from Lando Norris in the Spanish Grand Prix.

But fifth place for Leclerc and sixth for Spaniard Carlos Sainz, more than 20 seconds behind the top two, represented a disappointing result for Ferrari two weeks after their points-less exit in Canada.

Sainz had a particularly frustrating career. Although he overtook Leclerc at the start of the fourth lap, a move that infuriated the latter after they both touched wheels, he, like Russell with Hamilton, was slowed by his teammate in the final stint as he struggled to make progress. . the hard compound.

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The Ferraris collide and take Carlos Sainz off the track at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Sainz himself had become angry over an overtake by Hamilton, claiming that the Mercedes driver, who will take his seat in 2025, forced him off the track.

While the Mercedes and Ferrari drivers finished close together on the road, the same couldn’t be said for the Red Bull and McLaren drivers. Oscar Piastri was seventh in the second McLaren at the end of a disappointing weekend for the young Australian, with Sergio Perez’s tough weekend finishing eighth from eleventh on the grid after a three-stop strategy.

But there was some much-needed joy for Alpine whose unexpectedly strong weekend ended with a double points finish to the season, with Pierre Gasly ninth and Esteban Ocon tenth.

In the Drivers’ Championship at the conclusion of the first leg of the first triple title of the season, Verstappen extends his lead to a season-high 69 points, with Norris now in second place for the first time in his career, ahead of Leclerc .

Spanish GP result: Top 10

1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2) Lando Norris, McLaren

3) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

4) George Russell, Mercedes

5) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

6) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

7) Oscar Piastri, McLaren

8) Sergio Pérez, Red Bull

9) Pierre Gasly, alpine

10) Esteban Ocón, Alpino

How Norris lost victory just seconds after the start

It is often said in F1 that a race can only be lost, and not won, at the beginning and that is how it happened to Norris.

Having put in what he described as the best lap of his career to secure the second pole position of his career in qualifying, the Englishman’s hard-won early lead vanished within seconds of the lights going out. exit.

Focusing on Verstappen on the inside, the McLaren squeezed the Red Bull towards the grass, but that only allowed Russell, fast and opportunistic from fourth place, to take the slipstream of both and position his Mercedes on the outside heading into turn one.

Russell overtook the front row starters in the braking zone and took the lead, while Norris also fell behind Verstappen.

Two laps later and, in what itself proved to be a pivotal moment of the race, Verstappen made quick work of taking the lead when he overtook Russell into the first corner at the start of lap three.

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Max Verstappen quickly takes the lead from George Russell at the Spanish Grand Prix.

As Verstappen searched for an early gap, Norris became trapped behind Russell and lost four seconds to his Red Bull rival before the race leader made his first stop.

That made McLaren decide to try to outrun Red Bull (six laps) in the first stops to try to make up ground later in the race.

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Listen to Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton talking about the Spanish Grand Prix immediately after the race.

What the first three said

Max Verstappen, Red Bull – 1st:

“I think what marked the race was the start. I took the lead and then I had a margin in that first stint and I was able to gain space.”

“After that we had to drive defensively. Lando and McLaren were very fast. I think we did everything well. I’m very happy to win here.”

“It was about managing the tires. They get very hot here, so you spin a lot.”

Lando Norris, McLaren – 2nd:

“I should have won. I had a bad start. Simple as that. The car was incredible today. We were definitely the fastest. I just lost control at the beginning.”

“Disappointed, but a lot of positives. One negative and that ruined everything. I know.

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Anthony Davidson analyzes Lando Norris’ exit and other key points from the Spanish GP that may have cost him victory.

“Other than that, a good amount of points and thanks to the team because the car is fantastic.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – 3rd:

“It was a good day, a solid weekend. I have to thank the team because they have been training very hard.

“The strategy and pit stops were really spot on.

“Unfortunately, I had a very bad start and lost ground to the Ferraris, so it was a battle to get it back.

“With a better start… I don’t know if we would have been able to hold on to the guys in front, but I don’t think we would have been that far behind.”

The F1 tripleheader continues with the Austrian Grand Prix next week, with the Sprint format returning to the Red Bull Ring. Watch every session live on Sky Sports F1, with Sunday’s big race at 2pm Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month membership – no contract, cancel anytime

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