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Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix for a third year running as he pips Lando Norris from pole to secure his seventh victory in 2024… as Lewis Hamilton finishes in third place

Lando Norris made a poor start that cost him a possible victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, which was won by Max Verstappen.

The world champion’s victory was outstanding as he repelled the British attack led by Norris – and nothing the chasing pack of strategic ingenuity tried could prevent this from then on.

By the end, Norris was 2.2 seconds behind, Lewis Hamilton, third and taking his first podium of the season, and George Russell, fourth and the final of the potential men, but ahead of the genius who squeezed all the potential out of his spectacular Red Bull .

“We should have won,” Norris said. ‘I ruined the start. We deserved more. The car was fantastic.’

Yes, he hit the brakes early and went from first to third.

Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix for a third

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon

1719156560 799 Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix for a third

1719156560 799 Max Verstappen WINS the Spanish Grand Prix for a third

Reigning world champion Verstappen has now won seven of the first ten Grand Prix of 2024

Verstappen fended off the challenge of Lando Norris (right) with Lewis Hamilton (left) in third place

Verstappen fended off the challenge of Lando Norris (right) with Lewis Hamilton (left) in third place

Verstappen fended off the challenge of Lando Norris (right) with Lewis Hamilton (left) in third place

Fans gathered on the track to watch the podium ceremony after Verstappen's stunning victory

Fans gathered on the track to watch the podium ceremony after Verstappen's stunning victory

Fans gathered on the track to watch the podium ceremony after Verstappen’s stunning victory

As for Verstappen’s brilliance, we note again that the Dutch star’s teammate, Sergio Perez, finished eighth. The Mexican is trying to rebuild his confidence, while Verstappen’s confidence is being made bulletproof by his third year of total control.

His championship lead is 69 points over new man Norris, who is in second place, with his third win from the last four races. But this is still a lot more competitive than last year and Red Bull’s feet are closer to the fire. McLaren in particular comes close.

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As for second-placed Norris, would he have been better served by his McLaren strategists if he had attempted the undercut twice instead of being locked out for six and three more laps during his respective pit stops?

The idea was that he would be on fresher rubber and be able to make a late attack. It didn’t really work – he went from 4.5 seconds back on the first try to 11; then from four to eight. But it seemed Verstappen was in charge and tending his rubber, while Norris had no choice but to push his rubber to the limit in an enthusiastic attempt to catch the elusive.

No amount of manipulation by a technician could have changed the course of events. However, McLaren’s men delegated the choice to cover Russell rather than (supposedly) playing harder and chasing victory by taking other risks. He told them, “We have to go after Max.” But why was Lando asked if he could hardly judge the state of the breed as well as she could?

It was a boring race in a way because the threat of Norris was an illusion.

Verstappen crossed the finish line in Barcelona 2.219 seconds ahead of his nearest rival

Verstappen crossed the finish line in Barcelona 2.219 seconds ahead of his nearest rival

Verstappen crossed the finish line in Barcelona 2.219 seconds ahead of his nearest rival

That rival was McLaren driver Norris, who had dropped from pole position to third in the first corner

That rival was McLaren driver Norris, who had dropped from pole position to third place in the first corner

That rival was McLaren driver Norris, who had dropped from pole position to third place in the first corner

Charles Leclerc (right) beat Carlos Sainz to fifth after they argued at the start of the race

Charles Leclerc (right) beat Carlos Sainz to fifth after they argued at the start of the race

Charles Leclerc (right) beat Carlos Sainz to fifth after they argued at the start of the race

The Ferrari drivers were deep in conversation after the race ended

The Ferrari drivers were deep in conversation after the race ended

The Ferrari drivers were deep in conversation after the race ended

As for Hamilton and Russell, there is also a small difference in strategy at Mercedes. Russell was deployed for his second stop seven laps later than Hamilton, because he had to drive on hard tires. It didn’t do Russell any good. He was passed by Hamilton with fourteen laps to go.

It was difficult for Russell, so to speak, as he had provided the most dazzling moment of the race, with his marksman’s shot at the start providing an unexpected boom. Norris, on pole, was busy holding off Verstappen and started second. In fact, he pushed the world champion off the track – a cloud of sand.

Russell saw his moment on the outside of turn one and used that opportunity to muscle his way to the front. It wouldn’t last. On the first DRS moment, on lap three, Verstappen passed the Englishman, first outside and then inside.

The game is basically over and most of the leftovers were for the other places.

One highlight: Norris and Russell wheel-to-wheel on lap 35. The McLaren man, chasing the second, pushed through into turn one and squeezed ahead, but the Mercedes came back at him, with Russell moving ahead into corner three. Norris finally succeeded in turn seven. No fag paper between their rubber, but all clean and honest.

A good day for Hamilton after his recent trials.

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