Verstappen holds off Norris to win Spanish GP

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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen prevailed in a tense, strategic battle with McLaren’s Lando Norris to win the Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen’s seventh victory in 10 races this year hinged on a decisive opening phase of the race from the Dutchman.

Verstappen was in the lead by lap three while Norris stayed stuck behind Mercedes’ George Russell for 15 laps.

It left Norris too much to do and Verstappen was able to measure his pace to control the McLaren behind.

Lewis Hamilton took his first podium finish of the year for Mercedes in third, ahead of Russell, as Britons finished second, third and fourth. Charles Leclerc was fifth, leading home Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The race underlined the fact that Red Bull have lost the massive advantage they held over the first five races of the season, but also that Verstappen is operating at a level of consistent excellence in the cockpit and will be tough to beat – not only for the championship, on which he has a stranglehold, but also on individual race weekends.

McLaren have been on Red Bull’s pace since the Miami Grand Prix in early May, and Verstappen has not taken a pole position since the Chinese Grand Prix in April.

Even so, Verstappen has won three of the past five races and consolidated his championship advantage.

Norris has moved ahead of Leclerc into second place but is 69 points behind Verstappen after 10 of 24 races.

“I should have won it,” Norris said. “I got a bad start, as simple as that. The car was incredible today, we were for sure the quickest, I just lose it in the beginning.

“Disappointed but a lot of positives. One negative and that kind of ruined everything. I know that I can just work on it for next time.” (BBC)

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