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BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 23, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Spanish Grand Prix: Verstappen fends off Norris, Hamilton P3

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 23: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 leads Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 and the rest of the field into turn one at the start during the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 23, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Red Bull’s triple Formula 1 World Champion Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix, Round 10 of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, fending off McLaren’s Lando Norris in a tense race, at Circuit Catalunya-Barcelona.

As we predicted in the preview, this was a Verstappen versus Norris Grand Prix. The pair were the class of the field on Saturday and again on Sunday.

Despite an early challenge by George Russell in the Mercedes, he faded after Verstappen mugged him for the lead on lap two. In retrospect, the top two steps of the podium were always going to belong to Norris and Verstappen in Barcelona today. The Red Bull man getting a better start than the McLaren man meant most of the victory work was done early on.

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Norris was relentless in his final ten-lap pursuit. Closing down a seven-second gap to two seconds when they crossed the finish line. He claimed the fastest lap point in the process. It was a mighty effort but again he ran out of laps.

Red Bull had it covered. Verstappen was relieved with a hard-earned win. In contrast, Norris was upset that he did not do better with his start from pole position.

In the end, Verstappen had enough to hang on to the lead, winning his 61st Grand Prix denying his mate and rival, Norris a second F1 career win but he did set the fastest lap. Max was clearly pumped by the hard-earned win, and knows the Englishman will stalk him all the way to the finale in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen: What made the race was the beginning

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Clearly chuffed with his win on the day, Verstappen said after his seventh win of the 2024 F1 season: “What made the race was the beginning. I took the lead and then had a buffer in that first stint and could eke out a gap. After that we had to drive defensively.

“Lando and McLaren were very quick. I think we did everything well. I am very happy to win here. It was about managing the tyres. They get very hot around here so you are sliding around quite a lot,” added the World Champion, who now leads the 2024 F1 drivers’ standings by 69 points.

Norris appeared aggrieved and declared afterwards: “I should have won. I got a bad start. As simple as that. The car was incredible today. We were for sure the quickest. I just lost it at the beginning.”

Behind the stars of this 54th edition of the race in Spain, Lewis Hamilton was 15 seconds adrift of the leading duo. P3 is his first podium of the season and the second for Mercedes and had to overcome teammate, George Russell. His cause was helped by the fact that the younger driver was sent out on Pirelli white band Hards which proved a very bad call. He finished where he started: P4.

Hamilton reported in parc ferme: “It’s been a good day, a solid weekend. I have to say a big thank you to the team as they have been training so hard. The strategy and the pitstops were really on point.

“Unfortunately, I got a really bad start and lost ground to the Ferraris so it was a battle to get back. With a better start… I don’t know if we could have held on to the guys ahead but I don’t think we would have been as far behind,” reckoned Hamilton.

Ferrari were pretty much anonymous for most of the race

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Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were pretty much anonymous for most of the race, and the weekend for that matter. P5 and P6, over 20-seconds down on the winner will lead to some head-scratching at Maranello.

Sainz and Leclerc had their own ‘civil war’ in which the “rubbing is racing” got the thumbs up from FIA Stewards. As was a move by Hamilton on Sainz, who is not scared to go wheel-to-wheel. In the end, it was an underwhelming performance by the Reds. The car was bad, as was the growing animosity between the two drivers.

Oscar Piastri recovered from a poor Q3 session that doomed him to a recovery drive when a podium might have beckoned had he set a time on Saturday. Comprehensively outshone this weekend by Norris, Piastri nevertheless bagged P7 for his efforts.

Even worse, even further down on his teammate. Sergio Perez laboured to P6, disappointing if one considers his teammate, in the same car won this one. The Mexican simply gets worse and worse relative to Max who just gets better and better.

The final two points-paying positions went to Pierre Gasly P9 and Esteban Ocon P10, a welcome haul of points for the beleaguered French team. A strong result to back up the three points scored in Canada.

Some might’ve stayed home and few would’ve noticed

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Down the order, Aston Martin’s terrible season persevered with a no-points race for their drivers Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll who never looked like points scorers in Spain. The ball drop by the ambitious team has been alarming.

Williams were the worst they have ever been. Logan Sargeant labouring to last place, two laps behind the leader. While Alex Albon tried hard, a gust of wind sent him into the kitty litter with a car that is clearly the worst on the grid by a margin. Maybe dangerous too.

The others might’ve stayed home and few would’ve noticed in terms of the bigger picture at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Final word to the winning team principal, Red Bull’s Christian Horner: “When you are at the front there is nowhere to hide. Everything is scrutinised – every strategy, every start, every pitstop.

“We have done a lot of winning but we haven’t lost that edge of delivering in big moments and getting it right on the day. We have tremendous strength in depth in the team, and stability,” added Horner, whose Red Bull team lead the 2024 F1 Constructors’ standings by 60 points after ten rounds.

2024 Spanish Grand Prix Result

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How the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix Unfolded

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Under bright sunshine and scattered white clouds, Norris lined up on the Barcelona grid for his second pole-position Grand Prix start with Verstappen alongside him on the front row, followed by an all-Mercedes second row, then an all-Ferrari third row and an all-Alpine Row four.

Changes on the grid after Qualifying, Perez, who set the eighth-best time, dropped to P11 on the grid thanks to a penalty for his Canadian GP shenanigans. Albon started from the pitlane due to a new battery and control electronics on his Williams.

The entire field on the grid started on the Pirelli red band softs. Only Albon, parked at the end of the pitlane, opted for yellow band Mediums.

Norris and Verstappen both got a good launch, but almost tangled as the McLaren edged the Red Bull onto the grass, only to be swallowed up by Russell who from P4 on the grid, swooped around the front row. It was an epic move by the Mercedes driver. Verstappen got past Norris too.

On lap 3, Verstappen was in the lead. Great move wheel to wheel through Turn 1 with Russell. Norris watching a couple of seconds adrift. Sainz got ahead of Leclerc for P5. The Ferrari boys making contact as the move was made, and blamed each other over the radio. Hulkenberg climbed three places to P10.

A lap later, Verstappen was beyond DRS range of Russell in P2, who had Norris 1.4s back in his mirrors. The lead was pegged to about one and a half seconds at this point with the leader fastest on track with purple laps.

Lap 10 Top 10

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Verstappen edging ahead, with Russell stalked by Norris for P2, with Hamilton in tow. Piastri on the move and attacking Gasly for P7.

On Lap 11 Magnussen is first to pit for Mediums, triggering a flurry of stops at the back end of the field. Albon, up to P15 after his pitlane start on the yellow band rubber.

Russell and Sainz first of the top ten to pit, emerging almost side by side, the Mercedes just ahead after the crew fluffed the stop. It was close. Verstappen responded with the fastest lap right then. Hamilton was next to box of the frontrunners, emerging in Sainz’s wake.

Another close one between the Ferrari and the Mercedes, rubbing and racing again between Sainz and Hamilton.

Lap 17 Verstappen pits for new Mediums. Red Bull servicing the Boss with a 1.9s tyre swap. Leaving Norris leading from Leclerc and Paistri. The trio went long with their first set of tyres.

Lap 20 Top 10

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Hamilton in P6, sets fastest lap, chasing Russell ahead. Piastri yet to stop, is overtaken by Verstappen, leaving only yet to stop Norris and Leclerc up the road, the gap to Max 13.0s.

On lap 22, Piastri is ptted. Leclerc inherits lead. Box! Box! for Norris on Lap 24. He emerges P6. The leading Ferrari pits a lap later. Everyone now on a second set of tyres.

Verstappen in P1, followed by Russell 5.4s adrift and Hamilton a further seven seconds back. Sainz was P4. The biggest losers in this phase were Norris and Leclerc. A stalemate ensues, no one within DRS range as the focus is on making the tyres last longest.

Piastri takes p9 from Perez on lap 28 and a lap later had . Norris closing in on the Mercedes duo running P2 and P3. But the McLarens were on the move. First Piastri took P7 from Gasly.

Lap 30 Top 10

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Norris attacks Hamilton from Lap 31 as the Mercedes pokes at Russell, the McLaren the fastest car on track at this point. A lap later, Lando on the boil scythed past Lewis.

Halfway mark Verstappen leads 8.0s from P2 Russell, stalked by Norris and Hamilton in their mirrors. Behind them, 3.0s off the podium fight were Ferrari duo Sainz leading Leclerc.

Then a mega-duel between Russell and Norris developed, very close stuff as he gets P2. Russell responds by pitting for white band Hards but Mercedes is not great at servicing their man. Two stops, eight seconds. Not good. He emerges P7 behind Gasly, loses time before getting by a lap later.

Lap 40 Top 10

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Verstappen chased by Norris pushing on fresher mediums, reducing the gap at about half a second per lap with Russell setting purple lap times at this stage on the Hards, but unhappy with the hardest tyre. Sainz is also on Hards as is Gasly. The rest of the top ten on Mediums.

Hamilton makes a second stop, bolting Softs onto Hamilton’s car. Verstappen is next to dip into the pitlane on lap 45, emerging P3 on Softs, 18.0s down on Norris leading the race now. Leclerc was P2, 11.0s down on the McLaren. The front two are yet to make a second pitstop.

Piastri boxes from P5. Norris in the lead, being charged down by Verstappen, pits for Softs. A sluggish stop, as the McLaren emerges just ahead of Russell. But with fresher softs, Lando was gone and pursuing Verstappen still around seven seconds ahead.

Lap 50 Top 10

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A 16-lap game of cat and mouse to the finish, the top two slugging it out with Verstappen 7.0s ahead of Norris who is popping fastest laps in his pursuit.

Lap 52, on Softs, Hamilton swept past Russell to take P3 in Turn 1. The Hards were a very bad call for the younger Mercedes driver.

All eyes on the lead battle, Norris reeling in Verstappen two or three-tenths of a second here and there. The rest of the top ten in a state of stalemate, with no one in DRS range of one another.

With ten laps to go Verstappen led Norris by five seconds and appeared to peg it at that. Resp[onding when Norris upped the ante, sector by sector. The #RBR was working hard for this one.

Lap 60 Top 10

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Into lap 60, the gap between Verstappen and Norris is pegged. Looking like it will end this way, top ten in stalemate mode.

On the penultimate lap, Norris had the gap down to 3.0s and closing. But it turned out to be too much too late to deny Verstappen.


Spanish Grand Prix Preview: Norris vs Verstappen chased by Mercedes

The stage is set for a battle between Formula 1’s top two drivers – Max Verstappen and Lando Norris –  the pair start the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix from the front row of the grid, with a fired-up Mercedes and a below-par Ferrari team set to chase.

[Note: This report will be updated with the Spanish Grand Prix race report. Please refresh this post for the latest version. Enjoy the race!]

The pair, good mates off-track, were the form drivers this weekend, as they have been much of this year, both unbothered by their teammates on Saturday, Norris pipped Verstappen by 0.020s to start a Grand Prix from P1 for only the first time.

From what we have seen out of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend, the two have the edge on the Barcelona track that everyone knows very, very well. Where the margins are the finest. Norris and Verstappen were three-tenths of a second faster than any of their rivals. Expect the winner to be one of the two.

In contrast to their teammates, McLaren youngster Oscar Piastri and Red Bull veteran Sergio Perez flopped on Saturday relative to their teammates. The Australian fluffed his Q3 runs, to end P10 on the timing screens with Perez P8. But a three-pace grid drop sends him down to P11. Promoting Piastri to P9.

Local hero Fernando Alonso got a bump up to P10 thanks to Perez’s penalty. The Aston Martin driver is always a factor in front of his adoring home crowd.

Capable of spoiling my “Norris v Verstappen”  prediction are, of course, the revamped Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton (P3) and George Russell (P4) making it an all-Silver row two. With a half-kilometre of track from lights-out to Turn 1, they might be in the prime spots to exit that tricky, incident-prone first, right-left, complex at the end of the start straight.

Verstappen v Hamilton seldom ends well

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It’s going to be interesting, to say the least. And we are not talking about slipstreams and the like, but rather Hamilton v Verstappen seldom ends well.

Ferrari drivers Carles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz own Row 3, but were underwhelming when it mattered in Qualifying. Fred Vasseur is targeting a podium. Time will tell if that is optimistic or not. Right now it is unsure what Red cars will emerge out of the garage today: The Prancing Horses or the Lame Ones.

Despite the goings on at Alpine, and oddly coinciding with F1 Super Cheat Flavio Briatore’s returning to the Renault team he once led to F1 World Titles, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon hog the fourth row, Surprising all, themselves included with an upgrade that actually works for a change.

In contrast, their VCARB’s upgrades bombed, downgraded the cars of Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo. The pair line-up on the second last row, which is ‘owned by the Williams boys. Remember the Aussie Qualified P5 in Canada last time out. Where is Jacques Villeneuve when Dan needs him?

Other Spanish Grand Prix sideshows to watch:

  • Who will be the best tyre manager in Barcelona?
  • Who bins it first? Sargeant? Sargeant? Or Sargeant?
  • Will any of the bottom five teams break into the top ten?

2024 Spanish Grand Prix Facts & Stats by Reuters

circuit de barcelona catalunya f1 track aerial2

  • Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona
  • Round 10 of the 24 race 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship
  • Lap distance: 4.657 km. Total distance: 307.236 km (66 laps)
  • 2023 pole position: Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Red Bull One minute 12.272 seconds
  • 2023 race winner: Verstappen
  • Start time: 1300 GMT (1500 local)
  • Race lap record: Verstappen 1:16.330 (2023)

Spanish Grand Prix

  • The 14-turn Circuit de Catalunya is hosting what will be the 54th world championship Spanish GP.
  • Lewis Hamilton has won the Spanish GP six times (2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021), a record he shares with Michael Schumacher.
  • Other past winners on Sunday’s grid are Fernando Alonso (2006, 2013) and Verstappen (2016, 2022, 2023).
  • Verstappen took his first F1 win in Spain.
  • The winner at the Circuit de Catalunya, which has a mix of fast and slow corners with two long straights, has started on pole 24 times in 33 races.
  • The only drivers to win in Barcelona and not start on the front row were Schumacher (third on the grid in 1996), Alonso (from fifth in 2013) and Verstappen (fourth in 2016).
  • Alonso and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz are the only Spanish drivers in the race.
  • Ferrari are the most successful team at the Circuit de Catalunya with eight wins. Since 1951, the Italian team have won 12 times in Spain.

2024 F1 World Championship

2024 f1 standings points graphics after Round 9 canadian gp montreal

  • Verstappen has led the championship for a record 48 successive races dating back to Spain in May 2022
  • Verstappen arrives in Barcelona 56 points clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc after nine rounds.
  • Red Bull are 49 points clear of Ferrari.

Victories, Pole Positions & Podiums

F1 Grand Prix of Spain hamilton mercedes russell verstappen

  • Verstappen has won six of nine races this season, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz triumphant in Melbourne, McLaren’s Lando Norris in Miami and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in Monaco.
  • Ferrari are the only team to have had two winning drivers this season.
  • Hamilton has a record 103 career victories from 341 starts. He has now gone 54 races without a win, a run dating back to 2021.
  • Red Bull won 21 of 22 races last year, with Verstappen victorious in a record 19, and have won 37 of the last 42.
  • The team have won 119 races and are fourth in the all-time list of winners. Ferrari lead with 245, McLaren have 184 and Mercedes 125.
  • Verstappen has won 60 grands prix and is third on the all-time list. Michael Schumacher is second on 91.
  • Hamilton has a record 104 career poles, his most recent in Hungary last year.
  • Verstappen took the first seven poles of the season, equalling Alain Prost’s 1993 record, and eight in a row including the last race of 2023 — equalling Ayrton Senna’s 1988-89 record.
  • Leclerc ended that run with pole in Monaco and George Russell was on pole for Mercedes in Canada.
  • Verstappen has 105 career podiums, Hamilton 197.
  • The Red Bull driver set a record of 21 podiums in a season last year but Michael Schumacher remains the only driver to have stood on the podium in every race of a season (2002).
  • Verstappen has been on the podium seven times this season.

Milestone

  • The race will be Sainz’s last outing with Ferrari in front of his home crowd. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso will be starting his 21st home grand prix.