Max Verstappen beats Lando Norris in pits to win strategic Spanish GP

The Red Bull star fought off a late challenge from Norris after a strategic battle fought in the pits


Max Verstappen won the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Sunday, beating Lando Norris to earn his seventh Formula 1 victory in 2024.

Norris had qualified on pole with only 0.02 between himself and Verstappen, and the fine margins in pace carried forward into the race as the pair were clearly quicker than the rest of the top 10.

As an intriguing pit-stop strategy battle unfolded between McLaren and Red Bull, it was Verstappen who had enough of a gap to be comfortable as he crossed the finish line to clinch his seventh race win of the season.

Lewis Hamilton passed George Russell to secure his first podium finish in 12 races to confirm Mercedes’ best team result in 2024. They were rarely troubled by the two Ferraris behind, with Charles Leclerc fifth and Carlos Sainz sixth on another disappointing weekend for the Scuderia.

Max Verstappen leads Lando Norris at the 2024 Canadian GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen saw off Lando Norris at the 2024 Spanish GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Norris‘ team-mate Oscar Piastri took seventh ahead of Sergio Perez, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, who ensured a double-points finish for Alpine for a second race in a row.

Norris was so occupied trying to keep Verstappen behind him that he forced the Dutchman onto the grass, but both were oblivious to the threat of Russell, who launched superbly off the line and snatched first place to lead out of the first corner.

Verstappen wins Spanish GP in the pits

It didn’t take long for Verstappen to reel him in, however, as he passed Russell under DRS on Lap 3. The Mercedes star began to drop back and dived into the pits to put on the medium tyres after being overtaken by Norris, who was looking like the only driver capable of fighting Verstappen for the win.

Norris extended his stint by a further six laps from Verstappen in a bid to have fresher tyres at the end of the race and finally pitted on Lap 24, with the new race leader Leclerc coming in on the following lap.

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Spanish GP weekend | Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton passed George Russell to claim third at the 2024 Spanish GP | Mercedes

Hamilton was the unfortunate victim of the Ferrari undercut, with the 39-year-old coming out behind Sainz, but found some pace on the medium tyre and briefly set the fastest lap of the race. He even lined up a move on Russell under DRS as Russell fought valiantly with Norris, scrapping it out for second place on Lap 35.

The McLaren driver had more grip, but they were matched for determination as Russell – having been passed at Turn 3 – got his revenge at Turn 5. But Norris again got the better traction and made another pass on Turn 6, with their battle bringing Hamilton into play.

Hamilton gets better of Russell

Norris began his hunt to close the gap on Verstappen from nine seconds adrift and the elongated first stint had given him the opportunity to take the fight to the championship leader.

Verstappen pitted on Lap 44 with a 4.4-second gap to Norris, putting on the soft tyres. Norris was told on the radio “this is our chance now” and with Verstappen 17 seconds behind him, the race victory was in his hands.

Norris opted to pit for a third time in the race for soft tyres, giving him an eight-second gap to close to Verstappen at the front and only 17 laps to do so. But it gave him too much to do as the Red Bull showed its speed in a straight line.

Mercedes came alive in the final stint, with Russell and Hamilton dispatching Piastri and Sainz on the same lap to put themselves in podium contention. But Hamilton, on the soft tyre, closed up to his team-mate at the end as Russell struggled to fire up the hard compound.

But after homing in on Russell, he finally got the move done around the outside on Lap 52, and fortunately it was a wholly clean move from the seven-time world champion to move up into the final podium place.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
- Advertisment -


Lewis Hamilton celebrates his podium at the 2024 Spanish GP | Mercedes / Sam Bloxham

F1 2026 regulations: Lewis Hamilton urges FIA to consider changes

Lewis Hamilton has called on the FIA to reconsider their F1 2026 regulation changes to make sure they benefit...
Ryan Blaney celebrates victory at The Great American Getaway 400 | NASCAR

How cautions helped Ryan Blaney win at Pocono

At the NASCAR Cup Series' Gateway race in June, Ryan Blaney's crew chief Jonathan Hassler decided to gamble on...
Lewis Hamilton at 2024 Austrian Grand Prix | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton hints at expanding sports team ownership portfolio amid MotoGP takeover links

Lewis Hamilton played it cool over rumours he's looking to buy the Grissini MotoGP team but revealed he does...
Max Verstappen in the F1 paddock ahead of the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen coy on 2026 Red Bull Ford engine competitiveness after confirming future team

Max Verstappen refused to give too much insight into his expectations for the Red Bull Ford engine that will...
Alex Bowman celebrates victory at the 2024 Chicago Street Race | NASCAR

How rain strategy helped Alex Bowman end his drought in Chicago

Alex Bowman and his job with Hendrick Motorsports was never really in question as his contract runs through the...
Lewis Hamilton, Lando Norris and Max Verstappen 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Driver Ratings — 2024 British GP

Lewis Hamilton finally ended his long wait for a race victory at the Formula 1 2024 British GP as...
George Russell leads the field into Turn 1 at the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

F1 Winners and Losers from the British GP

Lewis Hamilton emerged victorious in one of the most memorable races in recent Formula 1 history, which begs the...
Lewis Hamilton celebrates after winning the 2024 British GP | Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton masterclass proves he can take fight to Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton basked in the glory of his long-awaited victory at the British Grand Prix, celebrating in front of...
Max Verstappen looks on at the 2024 Austrian GP | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen rues ‘poor’ British GP as Red Bull battle rare issue

Max Verstappen conceded it was a "poor afternoon" for Red Bull at the Formula 1 2024 British Grand Prix...
Lando Norris with engineers at 2024 British GP | McLaren F1 Team

Are McLaren becoming ‘new Ferrari’ after another strategy blunder?

Lando Norris' media appearances after the British GP were a genuinely tough watch, with reporters seemingly counselling the 24-year-old...
- Advertisment -