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Spanish GP: Max Verstappen denies Lando Norris comeback charge for win as Lewis Hamilton makes podium return

Lando Norris left to rue a poor start when he lost the lead and dropped behind Max Verstappen; McLaren display strong pace again but Verstappen finds a way once more for seventh win of year; Lewis Hamilton claims first 2024 podium after late overtake on Mercedes team-mate George Russell

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The best of the action from an eventful Spanish Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen overcame the comeback challenge of a fast but frustrated Lando Norris to pull off an impressive Spanish GP win and stretch his F1 world championship lead.

Left to regret a poor start which dropped him from pole position to third place - in significant opening exchanges which saw Mercedes' George Russell stunningly surge into the lead from fourth - Norris attempted to get back ahead through strategy as McLaren delayed the timing of both his pit stops compared with Red Bull's Verstappen.

But, despite relentlessly catching Verstappen in the closing stages of the race, Norris ultimately ran out of laps and finished 2.2s behind at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as the Red Bull driver hung on for his seventh win of an increasingly competitive season.

Lewis Hamilton finally ended his wait for a first podium in 2024 with a fine drive of his own to third.

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Lewis Hamilton takes the third spot away from team-mate George Russell at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Although he dropped behind his fast-starting team-mate at the start, Hamilton overtook Russell after the second stops with an eye-catching around-the-outside move on the sister Mercedes into Turn One.

Russell, who struggled on his second set of tyres when he went on to the hard compound while others, including Hamilton, took to the softs, in the end just finished ahead of fifth-placed Charles Leclerc.

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George Russell snatches the lead from Lando Norris at the Spanish Grand Prix.

But fifth for Leclerc and sixth for Spain's Carlos Sainz, more than 20 seconds behind the front two, represented a disappointing result for Ferrari two weeks on from their point-less outing in Canada.

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

Sainz experienced a particularly frustrating home race.

Although he overtook Leclerc at the start of lap four - a move which angered the latter after the pair brushed wheels and triggered a post-race tit-for-tat - he, like Russell with Hamilton, was reeled back in by his soft-shod team-mate in the final stint as he struggled on the hard compound. With Leclerc far quicker on his softs, Sainz ceded his fifth position.

Sainz himself had been angered by an overtake by Hamilton, claiming the Mercedes driver - who is taking his seat for 2025 - forced him off track.

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Anthony Davidson runs the rule over Lewis Hamilton's overtake of Carlos Sainz at the Spanish Grand Prix which the driver felt was 'pretty awesome'.

While the Mercedes and Ferrari pair finished close together on the road, the same could not be said for the respective pairings at Red Bull and McLaren.

Oscar Piastri was seventh in the second McLaren at the end of a disappointing weekend for the young Australian, with Sergio Perez's own tough Barcelona event only ending up with eighth from 11th on the grid after he adopted a three-stop strategy.

But there was much-needed cheer for Alpine whose unexpectedly strong showing around one of F1's most demanding circuits ended in a second successive double-points finish, with Pierre Gasly ninth and Esteban Ocon 10th as they were in Montreal.

In the Drivers' Championship at the conclusion of the first leg of the season's first triple-header, Verstappen has stretched his lead to a season-high 69 points with Norris now up to second 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 Perez, Red Bull

9) Pierre Gasly, Alpine

10) Esteban Ocon, Alpine

How Norris lost the win within seconds of the start

It is often remarked in F1 that a race can only be lost - and not won - at the start and that is effectively how it transpired for Norris, who was left with regrets for the second race running.

Having produced a lap which he described as the best of his career to secure just the second pole position in qualifying, the Englishman's hard-won starting advantage was wiped out within seconds of the start lights going out.

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George Russell reveals his dreams came true at the Spanish Grand Prix with a perfect race start.

Focusing on Verstappen on his inside, the McLaren squeezed the Red Bull towards the grass, but that only allowed a fast-starting and opportunistic Russell from fourth to get the slipstream on both of them on the long run down to the first corner and position his Mercedes on the outside heading towards Turn One.

Sweeping past the front-row starters in the braking zone, Russell seized the lead while Norris also dropped behind Verstappen.

Two laps later and, in what in itself proved a crucial moment of the race, Verstappen made quick work of seizing the lead for himself as he overtook Russell into the first turn at the start of lap three.

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Watch as Max Verstappen takes the win at the Spanish Grand Prix.

While Verstappen went to build an early gap, Norris was bottled up behind Russell for 12 laps and lost around four seconds to his Red Bull rival before the race leader made his first stop on lap 18.

The early lost ground made the McLaren pit wall's mind up to try and run longer than Red Bull - by six laps - at the first stops to try and ensure they would have a tyre advantage for the final stint of the race.

Norris rejoined in sixth place and, with fresher tyres and superior pace, he soon set about passing the cars who had pitted earlier ahead - with his battle with close friend Russell particularly entertaining and lasting several corners - and ultimately was four seconds behind Verstappen once more when the Dutchman pitted for a second time on lap 45, with the Red Bull taking on new softs.

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Watch as George Russell and Lando Norris battle for P2 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Norris was in again himself three laps later for softs, but a slow 3.6-second service from the McLaren crew did not help his cause. He rejoined just ahead of an oncoming Russell in third, eight seconds behind Verstappen with 18 laps to go but with the tyre life advantage again.

That deficit was down to five seconds on lap 54, but it soon became clear that the rate of Norris' gains was not going to be quite sufficient to get on Verstappen's tail, with the Dutchman having ensured he had enough life left in his softs for the crucial final laps.

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What the top three said

Max Verstappen, Red Bull - 1st:

"I think 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.

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Max Verstappen reflected on his thrilling performance to take the win at the Spanish Grand Prix.

"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."

Lando Norris, McLaren - 2nd:

"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.

"Disappointed but a lot of positives. One negative and that kind of ruined everything. I know that.

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Anthony Davidson analyses Lando Norris' start and other key points from the Spanish GP that may have cost him victory.

"Apart from that, a good amount of points and thanks to the team because the car is amazing."

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes - 3rd:

"It has 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."

Spanish GP Result

Driver Team Time
1) Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:28:20.227
2) Lando Norris McLaren +2.219
3) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +17.790
4) George Russell Mercedes +22.320
5) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +22.709
6) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +31.028
7) Oscar Piastri McLaren +33.760
8) Sergio Perez Red Bull +59.524
9) Pierre Gasly Alpine +62.025
10) Esteban Ocon Alpine +71.889
11) Nico Hulkenberg Haas +79.215
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) Alex Albon Williams +1 lap
19) Yuki Tsunoda RB +1 lap
20) Logan Sargeant Williams +2 laps

F1's triple-header continues at the Austrian Grand Prix this coming week - with the Sprint format returning at 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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