Max Verstappen, Lando Norris discuss the Lap 1 moment in F1 Spanish GP, as George Russell notes practicing that move.

While there was some fight at the later stages of F1 Spanish GP or catching up, but most of the work was done in the first few laps especially for Red Bull’s Verstappen to secure the win. It started off with Mercedes’ Russell making a superb double move.

While McLaren’s Norris tried to fend off Verstappen by throwing him onto the grass, Russell took slipstream from both to take the outside line and slot into the F1 Spanish GP lead. The Brit recalled the Fernando Alonso-moment from years ago to do the same.

It was a calculated risk from Russell who even practiced it on the lap to the grid. Even though he lost to Verstappen eventually, it was still worth the try. Norris, meanwhile, explained his side of pushing the Dutchman to the limit.

It resulted in some laughs between the two drivers, but Verstappen conceded that he would have probably done the same. The one to lose in this was Norris, even though he managed to recover the lost place to Russell by the end of the grand prix.

Verstappen: “It was good. I think the first launch was quite OK, and then I got a little bit alongside. I had to go a little bit on the grass, but then I think George had a double slipstream and had a good run around the outside, which he managed really well. And I think the three of us managed everything really well into Turn 1. Regarding Lando, I think I know his birthday present already. So it’s either like a big mirror or some glasses, and it will be fine! It’s OK. No, listen, I mean, it’s hard racing for sure. If you turn it around, would I have done the same?

“I probably would have done the same. No, listen, you always try to squeeze it to the limit. I also really wanted to avoid potential contact, because you don’t want to rub wheels and potentially damage your suspension. So you naturally leave probably a few centimetres extra. And that meant those few extra centimetres meant that I had to go a little bit on the grass. And also, luckily, with doing that, nothing happened. So it’s all good. I mean, we still had a good run to Turn 1.”

Norris: “No, I mean, my initial launch, I think, was better than Max. The second phase, the drive out, was not as good. I don’t know. I don’t know anything more than that, apart from Max got alongside me. And let’s say, if George wasn’t there, I think I still could have kept on to first around Turn 1. But George had a run on both of us, so even if my start was one or two metres better, which I think was all I probably could have done, just the long run down to Turn 1, the slipstream from the Mercedes, on both Max and myself, was more than anything that I could have done. I almost think George would have led no matter what, even if my start was two metres better.

“In some ways, that’s what happens in Barcelona. George got a good start and I couldn’t do anything about that. I settled in. I had to take third in Turn 2 because if I break two metres later, I think I would have taken everyone out with me. I made the correct decision of backing out and letting George have it. I don’t know. I need to sit down with my engineers and talk. Regarding Max, I mean, it’s always difficult to judge in that situation. I can’t get a tape measure out and measure it perfectly. I’m not going to make his life easy. There was enough space, I think. What? I’m just going to stop talking. I think it was just racing. I gave him enough space. I don’t think at any point there wasn’t enough space for him to stay on the track. What? Do you want to answer it?”

Russell: “Yeah, I was kind of dreaming of it last night and what my plan of attack was. I saw the weather forecast and the wind had shifted to a headwind in Turn 1, which I knew meant I could brake really late and deep into the corner. Yeah, I always, when I was racing karts, I always remember watching Fernando here in 2012 [2011], starting P4 and getting into the lead. So, I always knew it was possible. It was calculated risk, I did four laps to the grid and I practiced braking as late as possible every single lap.

“So I knew how it was, I knew how strong the wind was and I know what is possible with the car. So it was a calculated risk and satisfying that it paid off. I think just a few small things went against us today. You know, the slow pit stop then put us on the back foot in the middle stint and under a bit of pressure. And then, you know, lost a lot of time fighting with Lando, pitting onto the hard tyre. That was pretty rubbish, but it protected the P3 and P4 as a team and that’s what we were kind of aiming for.”

Here’s the start:

Here’s how F1 Spanish GP panned out

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