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Formula One

The five biggest talking points from the Spanish Grand Prix

Verstappen beat Norris to the line by just two seconds… but were McLaren actually quickest in Spain?

Spanish Grand Prix 2024 talking points
  • Norris thinks he should’ve won (again)

    Norris thinks he should’ve won (again)

    For the second race running Lando Norris has walked away gutted with P2, just as he did in Canada a fortnight ago.

    The British driver strung together a sensational lap to grab pole by 0.002 seconds in qualifying, but as those around him aced the start he lost valuable time that cost him a shot at the win later on.

    Staying out longer on his first two stints to give himself a tyre advantage later on, the 24-year-old started reeling in race leader Verstappen in the final laps, but he didn’t quite have the pace to trouble the three-time champ before the chequered flag.

    Norris is now second in the standings, albeit 69 points behind Verstappen. 14 races to go, is the title fight back on?

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  • Lightning McRussell unleashed his inner Alonso

    Lightning McRussell unleashed his inner Alonso

    Gotta be the best race start since - what - Verstappen in Imola three years ago? Russell lined up P4 on the grid in Spain, but the Mercedes driver made a sensational getaway and then got a massive double tow from Norris and Verstappen, allowing him to sweep into the lead around the outside of Turn 1. The definition of ‘Full Send’.

    It had shades of Fernando Alonso’s iconic start at the same circuit in 2011, when the Spaniard also started in fourth but vaulted himself into the lead after diving down the inside of the corner.

    Like Alonso though, Russell also couldn’t convert his rapid start into anything more meaningful: Verstappen was past just two laps later and he lost out on a podium to teammate Lewis Hamilton after Mercedes put him on the unfancied hard tyre for his final stint.

  • Verstappen is elite

    Verstappen is elite

    Not exactly a recent revelation, but his performance in Barcelona underlined what’s been obvious for a few years now. Only those who’ve pinned his recent success on having the best car can’t use that argument any more.

    The 26-year-old has had his work cut out at the last few races as rivals - but McLaren and Norris especially - have closed in, and yet he’s still won three of them. He was flawless in Spain, likewise in Canada (but for one off-track moment in the wet) and the same again in Imola, when he beat Lando to the win by less than a second.

    Meanwhile Sergio Perez - who opened the season with four podiums in five races - has vanished in the same car, causing about as much trouble to the top teams as a daffodil might to a 75-tonne tank.

    If McLaren (or anyone else) can out-develop Red Bull then we might see the championship turn… but even if they do, can any driver on the grid get as consistently close to perfection as the Dutchman?

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  • Team harmony has gone AWOL at Ferrari

    Team harmony has gone AWOL at Ferrari

    In news that will shock no one, the driver that Ferrari has effectively sacked isn’t playing the team game much any more. Funny that.

    Carlos Sainz - who is rumoured to be joining Williams next season - banged wheels with Charles Leclerc as he muscled his way past his teammate in the early stages of the Spanish GP, blaming the Monegasque in the aftermath as he’d been ahead in the corner.

    Sainz would later have to let Leclerc by again on lap 55 having - like Russell - switched onto the slower hard tyre, but the disagreement played out after the race as Sainz said Leclerc complained “too many times” about clashes between the two of them.

    Remember the Chinese GP sprint race, when the red-on-red action boiled over? Expect more to come as Sainz finds fewer and fewer reasons to stay loyal.

  • Alpine score double points, still make off-track headlines

    Alpine score double points, still make off-track headlines

    That’s two races running now where Alpine has locked down P9 and P10, with the team now sat above Haas, Williams and Sauber in the standings after a tricky start to the season.

    But that’s… not the noteworthy thing that happened this weekend. No, the noteworthy thing is that - having fired almost everyone who knew anything about building an F1 car or running a team - Renault CEO Luca de Meo has now installed Flavio Briatore as an executive advisor.

    This is the same Briatore who was banned from the sport for life following the ‘Crashgate’ scandal of 2008, in which his Renault team ordered Nelson Piquet to crash on purpose at the Singapore GP to bring out the safety car to the benefit of Fernando Alonso, who later won the race from P15.

    The 74-year-old has always denied involvement and the FIA’s ban was eventually overturned in court, but his association with controversy goes back decades.

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