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Verstappen also triumphed in Spain. Hamilton on the podium for the first time this season, Norris and Russell show F1 commercial

Max Verstappen won the slightly procedural but strategically handsome Spanish Grand Prix to triumph for the seventh time this season. Second-placed Lando Norris pulled it back in the closing stages of the race, but was ultimately unable to close the gap to the Red Bull driver by two seconds. Lewis Hamilton completed the podium ahead of teammate George Russell and both Ferrari drivers.



Max Verstappen won the slightly procedural but strategically handsome Spanish Grand Prix to triumph for the seventh time this season. Second-placed Lando Norris pulled it back in the closing stages of the race, but was ultimately unable to close the gap to the Red Bull driver by two seconds. Lewis Hamilton completed the podium ahead of teammate George Russell and both Ferrari drivers.

Formula One has returned to Europe after a blip on the North American continent for the Canadian Grand Prix. The tenth round of the season took place at the traditional circuit near Barcelona, Spain. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has hosted the Queen of Motorsport’s Grand Prix every year since 1991.

However, this year’s race is believed to have represented F1’s penultimate visit to the 4.6km track. Starting with the 2026 season, the Spanish Grand Prix is set to move to the heart of the capital city of Madrid.

Saturday’s qualifying produced a very interesting spectacle with four stables with a realistic chance of challenging for pole position. In the end, McLaren’s Lando Norris was a pleasing winner by two hundredths of a second ahead of reigning world champion Max Verstappen in the red bull. Neither Ferrari nor Mercedes were losing much, both during practice and qualifying they followed the leaders on average with a gap of up to three tenths.

Russell momentarily in the lead, Verstappen easily into the lead

The Spanish VC is traditionally more of a strategic battle, spiced up by a large number of stops often as many as two or three per driver. Conversely, the Barcelona circuit does not regularly offer exceptional pure racing quality, although the elimination of chicanes in the last part of the track has increased the total amount of manoeuvres into the first corner.

However, as with almost every F1 start at any circuit, there was relatively a lot going on. Norris started the race from pole position, but Verstappen earned vital metres from second position and managed to fit his front wing alongside the British driver’s right rear wheel. Both drivers, however, were burnt out by the Mercedes of George Russell on the approach to the opening corner, who went around his rivals to take the race lead.

Russell led from Verstappen, Norris, Hamilton and Leclerc only until lap three, when the Red Bull championship leader passed him using DRS. Meanwhile, the two Ferrari drivers were locked in a duel. Little separated Leclerc and Sainz from disaster, with the pair eventually escaping from a run through the opening ace with only light wheel-to-wheel contact, with the Spaniard opting for an off-track decision.

After the start, however, the pace of the race calmed down considerably. Drivers and teams went into strategic chess mode, while Verstappen and Red Bull drifted away from the rest of the field. With each lap, the Dutchman earned a few tenths of a second and left his rivals to fight amongst themselves.

Norris hoping for a miracle, Ferrari without an answer

The first series of pit stops were triggered on lap 10 by Kuan-yu Zhou and Yuki Cunoda circling at the back of the field. Spectators waited until lap 16 for the leaders heading to the pits, when Russell and Sainz’s mechanics changed their tyres. The Spaniard’s pit stop went off without a hitch, but the Brit was delayed a little more when the right rear failed to come off. Meanwhile, this season’s sinner Kevin Magnussen earned a five-second penalty for a false start.

Two laps later, Verstappen made a pit stop, putting Norris in the lead. By this time Hamilton and Sainz were in a fierce clash, now driving on their own chosen strategy. The current Ferrari driver was sent to the very edge of the track by his replacement at turn two, prompting Sainz to complain on the radio. However, the race directors deemed the situation to be clean.

Norris held the lead on a worn soft set. McLaren intended to use Piastri, who was still without a stop, to hold off Verstappen and buy some time for his teammate. But it took the three-time champion essentially just two corners to easily make his way past the Australian into turn seven. It was clear that this plan wasn’t working out too well for McLaren, and so Norris pitted on lap 24, at least hoping to earn some advantage heading into the second half of the race.

On lap 25, Leclerc concluded the opening flurry of stops. Ferrari didn’t gain on either the lead or the Mercedes with its split strategy and reassumed the positions gained after qualifying. So the race once again broke down into clearly divided groups. Norris and McLaren looked for ways to get ahead of Verstappen, Mercedes and Ferrari drove their own races and neither gained nor lost any positions.

Imola déjà vu: Norris tightened up, but again not enough for Verstappen

Verstappen controlled the race from the lead. Halfway through the grand prix, it was obvious that Norris was the only one who could still threaten him. The debut F1 race winner from Miami beat both Mercedes thanks to his new midfield set-up and returned to second position.

Norris had a pretty easy time with Hamilton, but Russell was not about to sell his position at all. Russell tried to watch Norris manoeuvre into turn one, but the McLaren driver made a wider track and squeezed past his compatriot on the outside.

Russell heroically didn’t give up and took a similar arc through turn four to get back in front of Norris. The winner of this shootout was eventually the third man overall, sending his car under his rival’s silver monoposto into turn seven.

However, this big battle was certainly the last big moment of the Spanish GP for many. The second series of stops brought no further drama. Although Verstappen again headed for the mechanics a few laps before Norris, the 26-year-old Hasselt native’s lead on lap 48 was around eight seconds. As both had picked up the softest tyres, Norris had eighteen laps to close the aforementioned gap on an identical set and still manage to muster enough power for an overtaking manoeuvre.

Aside from a ferocious drive by Norris, who managed to shave six seconds off the eight-second deficit by the end of the race, Verstappen eventually won by two seconds over Norris to claim his seventh victory of the season. Despite the objectively stronger competition, Verstappen is still on course for his fourth world championship title. Hamilton completed the podium for the first time this year after overtaking teammate Russell on lap 52. Although fans witnessed the teams’ different approaches to strategy, the position of the drivers in the top 10 could be said to replicate the results from Saturday’s qualifying.

Spanish Formula One Grand Prix results (Race 10/24, 66 laps = 307.236 km; top 10 only):

1. Max Verstappen (Niz., Red Bull) 1:28:20.227
2. Lando Norris (Brit., McLaren) +2.219
3. Lewis Hamilton (Brit., Mercedes) +17.790
4. George Russell (Brit., Mercedes) +22.320
5. Charles Leclerc (Mon., Ferrari) +22.709
6. Carlos Sainz (Span., Ferrari) +31.028
7. Oscar Piastri (Aus., McLaren) +33.760
8. Sergio Pérez (Mex., Red Bull) +59.524
9. Pierre Gasly (Fra., Alpine) +1:02.025
10. Esteban Ocon (Fra., Alpine) +1:11.889

2024 Formula One Drivers’ Standings (after 10/24; top 10 only):

1. Max Verstappen (Niz., Red Bull) 219 points
2. Lando Norris (Brit., McLaren) 150
3. Charles Leclerc (Mon., Ferrari) 148
4. Carlos Sainz (Span., Ferrari) 116
5. Sergio Pérez (Mex., Red Bull) 111
6. Oscar Piastri (Aus., McLaren) 87
7. George Russell (Brit., Mercedes) 81
8. Lewis Hamilton (Brit., Mercedes) 70
9. Fernando Alonso (Spain, Aston Martin) 41
10. Yuki Cunoda (Jap., RB) 19