Max Verstappen Wins Spanish Grand Prix After Early Mistake by Lando Norris

max verstappen wins spanish grand prix
Max Verstappen Wins Spanish Grand PrixIcon Sportswire - Getty Images

While it wasn't a Max masterclass, the defending World Champion Max Verstappen prevailed in the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to win his 61st race on Sunday, where he won his very first in 2016.

In total, four different constructors led the Spanish Grand Prix as, while it feels weird to say, after Verstappen secured his seventh win of the year, the 2024 season is gifted with a lot more parity than the last couple of years.

Verstappen started second next to Lando Norris on the start; both drivers lost their position to George Russell when the Mercedes driver made an aggressive move sweeping into the first turn and stealing the lead.


On the third lap, Verstappen took the lead from Russell, and this is where the defending world champion was able to build the buffer that ultimately saved him from a late-race battle with Norris.

"I think what made the race was the beginning," Verstappen told Sky Sports. "I took the lead on lap two, and that's where I had my buffer on that first stint where I could eke out a gap a little bit. After that, we had to drive a defensive race; Lando and McLaren were very quick."

Norris was not happy to settle for second behind Verstappen for the second race in a row, knowing that the difference was the time he lost behind Russell on the start.

"I should've won; I fucked up the start," Norris said over the radio. "Car was amazing; it deserved more."

Norris was the final leader to pit and pulled back onto the circuit just inches ahead of two charging Mercedes and 8.5 seconds behind Verstappen with 18 laps remaining. On the first lap of fresh tires, Norris was able to shave up 1.5 seconds before hitting the initial plateauing; at the end of the race, Norris finished 2.2 seconds behind the leader. Half of the time, he lost behind Russell earlier in the race.

The silver lining is that with his second-place finish, Norris finds himself second in the drivers championship for the first time, overtaking Charles Leclerc in points, who finished fourth.

Lewis Hamilton finished on the podium for the first time in 12 races and for the first time this season. With 14 laps remaining, Hamilton overtook his teammate Russell, who was struggling on hard tires.

Tires were the deciding factor for both Mercedes and Ferrari as the drivers that took hards for the final stint struggled and were passed by their teammates on soft. Leclerc overtook Carlos Sainz for 4th in the final 10 laps to attempt to run down the podium.

When asked if the split tire decision was always the play for Mercedes or an audible called once it was clear that Russell was struggling, Hamilton clarified that there was not a change in strategy.

"That was the plan for the beginning," Hamilton told Sky Sports. "It was never an option to run the hard tire for me today, so I drove the race from a soft, medium, soft."

Oscar Piastri finished behind the Ferrari in seventh position, followed by Sergio Perez, the first driver on a three-stop pit strategy instead of two.

Both Alpine drivers Pierre Gasley and Esteban Ocon secured the final points positions with ninth and tenth.

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