Max Verstappen overcomes Lando Norris to win the Spanish Grand Prix

Max Verstappen overcomes Lando Norris to win the Spanish Grand Prix

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen held off an intense challenge from McLaren’s Lando Norris to win the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.

Max Verstappen took his 61st victory of his Formula 1 career during Sunday’s 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, ahead of Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, who secured his first podium of the season.

The Dutchman was imperious from the moment he got into the lead as the polesitter’s challenge was dented when his McLaren fell to third on the first lap.

Norris had previously gone on record to do everything possible to maintain the lead from pole and convert this pole position to a victory, and the start clearly showed so. The Brit went right to cover Verstappen with the latter briefly in the grass as they continued side by side on the very right of the track towards Turn 1.

However, trouble came from behind as George Russell saw his opportunity and enjoyed the slipstream of the two ahead, swerved to the outside and had the ideal line into Turn 1 to take the lead. Hamilton was stuck in fourth, followed by Leclerc and Sainz.

Nico Hulkenberg made a blistering start to move up three positions up into ninth, with Perez remaining in 11th and Fernando Alonso slipping back two spots to 12th.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was told that his best chance to overtake Russell would come in the opening stages and the Dutchman used the slipstream and DRS to line up the Briton. Russell moved towards the inside line to cover Verstappen, but the Red Bull racer darted round the outside with expert precision to take over the lead on the third lap.

Leclerc had maintained his position over Sainz as the lead Ferrari until the Spaniard muscled his SF-24 round the outside at Turn 1, despite taking to the run-off area. Both drivers remonstrated over the team radio about the other’s actions, with Leclerc claiming he was squeezed while Sainz argued that his team-mate touched him.

Alonso’s home showing was going from bad to worse as Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas capitalised on DRS down the start-finish straight and blasted past the Aston Martin.

Gasly and Ocon were the first of the top 10 to make a stop, soon followed by Russell, Sainz and Hamilton another lap later. As they returned to the track on their fresh medium tyres though the encountered the Aston Martins who were trying to make their softs last a bit longer, at least creating some overtakes on track.

Hamilton meanwhile didn’t want to sit about and passed Sainz through Turn 1 to take 6th place. Hamilton went on to set the fastest lap as the incident of them coming together was being investigated by the stewards.

When Alonso pitted on lap 20 that left only Norris, Leclerc and Piastri on their soft tyres from the start. Piastri pitted on lap 22 after getting passed by Verstappen for third place.

Norris pitted on lap 24 while having 6s over Leclerc and about 10s on Verstappen. This tyre change brought Leclerc in the lead and Norris down to 6th, nearly 3 seconds behind Norris. Leclerc then pitted the next lap and returned to the track in 7th place, in between the Alpines of Gasly and Ocon.

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Norris’ call to go long with the soft tyres wasn’t all too bad since he quickly made up ground and soon passed Sainz. Two laps later he found himself in the slipstream of Hamilton.

A pass wasn’t possible the first time they crossed the main straight but on lap 32 it was straightforward with Hamilton even not going off the racing line to defend his position.

Russell did what he could to maintain second but made it extra complicated when he veered right to defend his position into Turn 1 while Norris seemed to settle for another lap in third place.

This allowed Norris to move ahead through Turn 3, only to see Russell come back in Turn 5, then returning the favour again two corners later. That settled second place for now as Russell now dropped into a position where he had to defend to Hamilton.

Just a single lap later, Russell pitted for a new set of hard tyres. Sainz stopped simultaneously and opted for the same hard tyres.

As Norris continued to reduce the advantage of Verstappen by nearly a second a lap, Russell started complaining about the hard tyres not being the greatest option. With everybody listening in, Hamilton and Verstappen opted to go for soft tyres as they pitted in lap 44 and 45 respectively. Thats with 22 laps remaining.

While Verstappen returned to a clear track, Hamilton was stuck for an entire lap behind the much slower Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. The Mercedes driver however then recorded the fastest lap, a fraction faster than what Verstappen had done the same lap.

Four laps later it was Norris and Leclerc’s turn to pit, also switching to soft tyres. Those quick 4 laps on the softs by Verstappen and a suboptimal pitstop meant if Norris wanted to win he needed to close an 8 second gap to the leading Red Bull.

As Norris set the fastest lap to cut the gap down to 5.7 seconds, Hamilton edged ever closer to Russell and passed his teammate around the outside of Turn 1 on lap 52. Sainz was in a similar situation to Russell with the hard tyres and opted not to fight when Leclerc tried a DRS overtake on lap 55.

Norris continued to decrease the gap to the leader and showed very impressive pace even while Verstappen was told to push to secure the win. Eventually it appeared like the reigning world champion controlled it well, winning the race with 2.2s on Norris.

Hamilton was a safe third while Russell only just managed to fend off Leclerc for 4th. Carlos Sainz finished 6th, followed by a Piastri and a disappointing Perez. Gasly and Ocon completed the top 10 to secure a double points finish for Alpine.

2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix Race Results

1Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing66 Laps
2Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team+2.219s
3Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+17.790s
4George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team+22.320s
5Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari+22.709s
6Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari+31.028s
7Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team+33.760s
8Sergio PerezMEXOracle Red Bull Racing+59.524s
9Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+62.025s
10Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team+71.889s
11Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+79.215s
12Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+1 Lap
13Zhou GuanyuCHNStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+1 Lap
14Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco F1 Team+1 Lap
15Daniel RicciardoAUSVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+1 Lap
16Valtteri BottasFINStake F1 Team Kick Sauber+1 Lap
17Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team+1 Lap
18Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing+1 Lap
19Yuki TsunodaJPNVisa Cash App RB F1 Team+1 Lap
20Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+2 Laps

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