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Verstappen Victorious in Spanish Grand Prix as Norris challenges for glory

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen kept the challenging British drivers of Lando Norris, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton to take victory at the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona.

Verstappen would draw alongside Norris going down into Turn 1, the McLaren squeezing the Red Bull right over onto the pit exit, the pair of them taking a narrower and slower line into the opening corners.

Russell would take the racing line, and fly around the outside of the pair of them, seizing the lead of the race on the opening lap, as Verstappen also managed to get up the inside of Norris.

However, this would be rather short-lived for Russell, as the Red Bull of Verstappen would come straight back at the Mercedes heading into Turn 1, with Russell attempting to take the defensive line, as Verstappen flew right around the outside, taking the natural racing line.

Credit: Red Bull Content Pool

Meanwhile, as Carlos Sainz attempted to overtake Charles Leclerc, the pair of them would make contact at the apex of Turn 1, with Sainz needing to cut the chicane and take the escape road after fears of damage for both Ferrari drivers.

Kevin Magnussen would be noted by the FIA for a false start, the Haas driver needing to be cautious, currently running with 10 penalty points. If a driver receives 12 penalty points, they will be given a race ban, so Magnussen must be careful for the remainder of the season. Magnussen would receive a 5-second penalty for the false start.

Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon would be the first people to come into the pits, as Russell and Sainz came in just a lap later for the Medium compound tyres after just 15 laps of running on the Soft compound.

Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz would duel for position, nearly making contact in the opening corners as Hamilton attempted to go around the outside at Turn 3.

Just one lap later, Hamilton would get a huge run on Sainz, diving to the inside at Turn 1, the pair making light contact on the apex of Turn 2, with the Mercedes of Hamilton gaining the place.

Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc elected to stay out on the circuit, going as long on the Soft tyres as possible in the hopes of making a potential one-stop, rather than the other drivers most likely needing to make multiple stops.

Norris would eventually pit, coming out 10 seconds behind the race leading Red Bull of Verstappen and needing to cut through the field. Norris would overtake Sainz quickly, with Leclerc coming out in 7th place, making quick work of Pierre Gasly into Turn 1.

Dark clouds loomed large around Turns 3 and 4 at the halfway point in the race, with rain initially expected at about 20% chance of precipitation.

Just over the halfway point in the race, Lando Norris would catch right up to the back of both Mercedes drivers, overtaking Hamilton and then duelling with George Russell for half a lap, the pair trading switchback manoeuvres through Turns 1-6, with Norris eventually completing the move by taking the inside line into Turn 6's tight left-hander.

Russell would then come into the pits and switch to the Hard compound tyres to finish the race on, with Carlos Sainz also coming in behind the Brit. However, just a few laps later, Russell would complain on the radio about tyre grip as he struggled to make up much ground to the Medium compound runners.

Mercedes would opt to split the strategies between both drivers, with Russell running the Hard tyres to the end of the race, as Hamilton pitted for a used Soft compound set with over 20 laps remaining. Just a lap later, and Red Bull would also choose to put Verstappen on the Soft tyres.

Hamilton would have superior grip over Sainz in front, however lost an entire lap trying to get past the Ferrari, running close in the wake of the car and having to work the tyres slightly harder than he would have wanted. Russell would also manage to get past Oscar Piastri, who was slightly out of contention for the lead of the race.

Norris would beat both Mercedes out of the pit lane for his final stop, switching onto the Soft compound tyre to close out the race, as he began chasing after Verstappen, who led the race by around eight seconds in the final third of the Grand Prix.

Haas continued their difficult day, with Nico Hulkenberg now receiving a 5-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Yuki Tsunoda would also suffer the same fate as Hulkenberg, with a lot of drivers visually locking their front tyres on the pit lane entry.

Lando Norris would close on Verstappen initially by around a second per lap to begin with, not saving tyres as he went longer into the race on his opening stint. Hamilton would take third place from his teammate with just 15 laps remaining, with the Soft tyres expected to show a drop off in pace during the final 10 laps, Russell remained right with Hamilton to the end.

Alex Albon and Yuki Tsunoda would make some contact at Turn 4, sending Albon off into the gravel trap on the outside, with Albon wanting the FIA to take action on the Japanese driver.

Max Verstappen would come home to take a solid victory at the same circuit that he achieved his maiden win at back in 2016. Lando Norris would be disappointed not to take the win, coming home in a brilliant second place as Lewis Hamilton secured his first podium finish of the season.

Grand Prix Results

1st Max Verstappen, Red Bull

2nd Lando Norris, McLaren

3rd Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes

4th George Russell, Mercedes

5th Charles Leclerc, Ferrari

6th Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

7th Oscar Piastri, McLaren

8th Pierre Gasly, Alpine

9th Sergio Perez, Red Bull

10th Esteban Ocon, Alpine

11th Nico Hulkenberg, Haas

12th Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin

13th Guanyu Zhou, Sauber

14th Lance Stroll, Aston Martin

15th Daniel Ricciardo, RB

16th Valtteri Bottas, Sauber

17th Kevin Magnussen, Haas

18th Alex Albon, Williams

19th Yuki Tsunoda, RB

20th Logan Sargeant, Williams


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