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Spanish GP: Lando Norris expects close fight for win between Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari

Three different teams have won the last five races in F1 and Lando Norris has been in contention for victory at each event; Max Verstappen is confident of a strong weekend; watch every session of Spanish GP live on Sky Sports F1, with first practice on Friday at 12.30pm

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George Russell believes Spain, Austria, and the British GP will help Mercedes see the true performance of the car

Lando Norris is expecting another close fight at the front at this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, despite claims from Charles Leclerc that Red Bull will have the upper hand.

McLaren have been in contention at every event since Norris won his maiden Grand Prix in Miami at the start of May.

The British driver also came close to victory in Imola and Canada but was denied by Max Verstappen, who had to perform at his very best to come out on top.

"We have been good at all tracks so far, so I don't expect things to really change too much," said Norris.

"I just expect it to be close with Red Bull, probably a bit more back to where they should be. Ferrari also, after last weekend, more back to where they should be.

"I think we have been the most consistently, 'just there' team. We have not been the team which has suddenly been quickest and easily dominating the weekend like we have seen Red Bull and Ferrari do.

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Lando Norris reflects on a tough outcome having led the race by 15 seconds only to have the safety car hinder his Canadian Grand Prix

"We have not had that absolute strength in certain places, but we have just been a very good all-rounder so far, which over the course of a season is exactly what we want, and is a good strength from where we were last year when we were very up and down.

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"But at no point I would say, we have been outright absolute best through a whole weekend. So that's something we still need to work on, and we still need to work to have a quicker car."

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Sky Sports' Craig Slater looks ahead to the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona

Close margins at the top

Mercedes were also in the battle for victory last time out in Canada as George Russell took pole position, setting the same time as Verstappen, before a series of errors meant he had to settle for third in the race.

Norris was just 0.021s off pole himself and could have won without McLaren's strategical error to not pit immediately when the first safety car came out, underlining the fine margins in F1 at the moment.

"With Mercedes joining the front and how close it was already in Canada, whether you are one tenth better or not, that's easily because you don't have the tyres in the right window or you make a small mistake or the set-up is not perfect," continued Norris.

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"Half a tenth, one tenth and you are three, four, five positions back. I think it's going to be a close fight between everyone.

"But the main thing is, we have been good everywhere so far and I think we have good confidence, so we just keep doing what we are doing and we can maintain a good consistency."

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a more conventional track which relies more on aerodynamic efficiency, an area where Red Bull have been strong since the ground effect regulations were introduced in 2022.

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Ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix we take a look back at some of the most dramatic moments from previous races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

Verstappen, who leads the championship by 56 points from Leclerc and 63 points over Norris, has won the last two Spanish Grand Prix.

As ever, he's playing down expectations ahead of this weekend but admits the track layout will help Red Bull.

"Normally this is a track our car should suit a bit more. I'm aware everyone is catching up a lot but compared to the last few races we have done, this should be a better track," said Verstappen.

"People are constantly improving and sometimes you just have a better weekend than others with the way you set up the car."

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Leclerc: Red Bull to return to early-season form

Ferrari left Canada without any points as both Leclerc and Carlos Sainz were knocked out in Q2, before both drivers failed to finish the Grand Prix.

Sainz damaged his car and made contact with Alex Albon, which led to his retirement, while Leclerc suffered an engine issue.

Leclerc said Ferrari have fixed the reliability problem and confirmed the team have brought upgrades to Spain.

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Sergio Perez and Carlos Sainz were forced to retire their cars after they both suffered separate crashes at the Canadian Grand Prix

"We will see a stronger Red Bull, and the Red Bull we saw at the start of the season back here in Barcelona," said Leclerc.

"But I also believe the last four races from Miami to Canada was quite a lot about kerb riding, which is not one of the strengths of the Red Bull, so I believe we will see them back to a good level this weekend.

"However, we have some new parts for the car this weekend and if that helps us to be good here, it's good for the rest of the season. It's going to be an interesting weekend and if we are good here, it's a good sign for the rest of the year."

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Perez on the backfoot already

Perez also had a dismal Canadian weekend as he was eliminated in Q1 and crashed in the race on his way to a second consecutive retirement.

The Mexican, who has signed a new deal to stay with Red Bull next year, limped back to the pit lane with his RB20's rear wing hanging off after his accident.

As a result, Perez has been handed a three-grid place penalty for this Sunday's race and Red Bull were fined $25,000 (£19,648) for the incident.

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Damon Hill unpicks what Red Bull can do to further support Sergio Perez after the Mexican driver suffered crashes in the last two races

It means Perez will start no higher than fourth, so faces an uphill battle already without having turned a wheel.

"It's not ideal at a place like this to have a penalty, so we will try our best to try and minimise that," Perez told Sky Sports F1.

"Qualifying is super important. I have to be up there. There's no reason we can't do that. I think there will be three or four teams fighting for pole on Saturday."

Sky Sports F1's live Spanish GP schedule

Friday June 21
7.45am: F1 Academy Practice
8:50am: F3 Practice
10am: F2 Practice
12pm: Spanish GP Practice One (session starts at 12.30pm)
1.55pm: F3 Qualifying
2.50pm: F2 Qualifying
3.35pm: Spanish GP Practice Two (session starts at 4pm)
5.25pm: F1 Academy Qualifying
6.15pm: The F1 Show

Spanish GP

Saturday June 22
9.35am: F3 Sprint
11.15am: Spanish Romagna GP Practice Three (session starts at 11.30am)
1.10pm: F2 Sprint
2.10pm: Spanish GP Qualifying build-up
3pm: Spanish GP Qualifying
5pm: F1 Academy Race 1

Sunday June 23
7.45am: F1 Academy Race 2
9am: F3 Feature Race
10.30am: F2 Feature Race
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday: Spanish GP build-up
4pm: Chequered Flag: Spanish GP reaction

Formula 1 heads back to Europe as the championship moves on to Barcelona for the Spanish Grand Prix and the start of a triple-header. Watch every session at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this weekend, live on Sky Sports F1. Stream every F1 race and more with a NOW Sports Month Membership - No contract, cancel anytime

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