Formula 1

2024 Spanish Grand Prix: What the Drivers are Saying after the Race

10 Mins read
George Russell leading Max Verstappen - Photo: Sam Bloxham

Max Verstappen secured a convincing win at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, fending off a determined challenge from pole-sitter Lando Norris, marking his seventh of the season and extending his lead in the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

Despite jumping Norris going into Turn One, Verstappen wasn’t initially in the lead. A brilliantly executed move by George Russell, starting from fourth in his Mercedes, stole the show at the start. However, Verstappen quickly overtook Russell, making a daring move on the outside of Turn One on Lap 3 to claim the lead.

Norris, who had been celebrating his “perfect lap” in qualifying the day before, found himself stuck behind Russell in the early laps. This lost time proved crucial, hindering his ability to challenge Verstappen for the win later in the race, ending around two seconds behind the Dutchman.

Max Verstappen — Oracle Red Bull Racing — 1st

“I managed to get ahead in lap two, which ultimately made my race, and the Team did a great job as we were aggressive with the strategy and made all of the right calls. After we overtook and led the race we had to take quite a defensive strategy and really push to the end. We lacked a bit of pace and McLaren were better on the tyres than us today, so that is something that we need to look at and aim to improve on. 

“I needed to try and push a bit more as Lando was pushing full out behind to try to catch me. We need to ultimately maximise our performance and manage the tyres as best we can. That said, it was great to bring it home with a win and as a Team we operated really well today. 

“We were really strong, didn’t make any mistakes and the Team also achieved the fastest pit stop this year too, which was great to see. So a strong weekend overall!”

Lando Norris — McLaren F1 Team — 2nd

“A frustrating start, simple as that. I lost a little bit to Max, he wasn’t completely alongside but with George on the outside, I didn’t have room to manoeuvre and that had me over. It’s disappointing, but there are still a lot of positives to take away from Barcelona. 

“We come away with a lot of points and the car was amazing today, I think we were the quickest out there, so a big thanks to the entire team for their efforts throughout the weekend.   

“We’re now focusing on Austria and Silverstone, two of my favourite circuits and tracks where we have a good record, so I’m excited. We’re in a good spot and doing well each week, I just need to tidy up a few little bits in the upcoming races.”

Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team — 3rd

“It’s been a really great weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the podium so I’m very happy! We’re not quite there yet but we’ve taken a huge step in recent races. 

“We didn’t quite have the pace to fight with the two guys ahead of us but, if we can deliver more consistently like this, then we will be in a strong position. We are on our way to catching those guys and that is fantastic.   

“I had a really bad start, which was unfortunate. The race may have been slightly different if I had got off the line better, but ultimately, I think P3 was the maximum today. 

“I was pleased with my move on Sainz too. I gave him enough room and we both made it through the corner. It was an important move for my race, so I was glad to get it done. It’s now on to Austria and we’re looking forward to it.”

George Russell — Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team —4th

“There were a few things that went against us today, unfortunately. We had a slow first pit stop, and then the Hard tyre didn’t feel great in the final stint. Nevertheless, as a team our aim was to maximise what we could achieve today, and we did that with P3 and P4. 

“Lewis drove a great race today and we take away the huge positives from what have been a very promising last couple of races.    

“I was dreaming of making a move like I did into turn one last night. I didn’t think it would quite come to fruition in the way that it did! I remember Fernando (Alonso) making a similar start in 2013. We had a headwind so I knew I could brake quite late. It was a very satisfying move and felt good to lead a race again. 

“Unfortunately, Max (Verstappen) was too fast for us today, as was Lando. But two podiums in two races is very encouraging as we head to Austria.”

Charles Leclerc — Scuderia Ferrari — 5th

“It was tight today and we were just a lap short of fighting for P4, but our competitors were still ahead in terms of pace. Regarding our strategy, I think we did well to offset ourselves from the cars around us. 

“We maybe lost some time between our two cars at the beginning of the race, but going forward we will focus on our race pace extracting the maximum from our package at the next race.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. — Scuderia Ferrari — 6th

“It was a difficult race but we gave it our best. Stopping early and finishing the race on the Hard tyre didn’t turn out to be the optimal strategy today, but we only know this with hindsight after the chequered flag.

“In any case, we were lacking a bit of pace this weekend in general and we need to work to improve for next weekend in Austria.

“A massive thank you goes to every single fan that came to the track today and also to those who followed and supported us from home. A home race for a driver is always special and Barcelona is no exception for me.”

Oscar Piastri — McLaren F1 Team — 7th

“P7 rounds off a tough weekend. I think the race today was a positive to take away, but overall, a challenging few days in Spain. Obviously, Qualifying was the biggest frustration and made things very difficult going into the race. 

“I think we did some good things on strategy, trying to pull ourselves up but ultimately didn’t quite have the pace this weekend but we’ll go again next week in Austria.”

Sergio Perez — Oracle Red Bull Racing — 8th

“We struggled a little bit with the pace today and it was super hard to pass anyone on that first stint, especially in the dirty air, I was managing my tyres and in a DRS train. I think that ultimately compromised our race and we had some balance issues on the soft tyre, which made things harder than predicted. 

“We switched to a three-stop strategy and that meant we managed to save, what I believed was the maximum today, given our starting position. 

“Our Saturday was the main problem, and I am pretty disappointed because we haven’t been able to maximise the potential in the car this weekend, at least on my side, I think Max did a tremendous job today to come away with the win. I have made good learnings this weekend for the coming weeks, I am hopeful we can be more competitive and come back strong in Austria. 

“I need to help deliver perfect weekends for the Team because it is going to be a very competitive season.”

Pierre Gasly — BWT Alpine F1 Team — 9th

“That was our best race of the season so far as a team, so on that front, I am very happy with today. We had a strong Qualifying on Saturday, which set us up for a good result in ninth place today. 

“We executed the race well with the two-stop strategy and managed each stint well. We almost had eighth place and only missed out on the last lap but I gave it my all. Even so, I’m happy with such a strong race where we battled two fast cars – the McLaren early on and then the Red Bull at the end – so that’s positive for us. 

“We must understand why the package was strong here and take these learnings going forward. We are progressing in a good direction, that’s three points scoring finishes in a row, and we have to keep that going!”

Esteban Ocon — BWT Alpine F1 Team — 10th

“It was good to get both cars in the points for a second consecutive Grand Prix. It was a challenging race for us with car balance and some tricky stints but nevertheless we managed to bring the car home inside the top ten again and that’s satisfying. 

“It was close with Nico [Hülkenberg] at the end but we were able to maintain pace and grab the final point on merit on track. We have things to analyse such as why the car felt harder to drive in race conditions as I was sliding quite a lot. 

“Even so, we were much more competitive this weekend and we’ve come out of it with a good reward. We will aim to continue our points run in Austria next weekend where we have two opportunities to score points with the Sprint.”

Nico Hülkenberg — MoneyGram Haas F1 Team — 11th 

“All in all, it was a more positive than negative Sunday for us. We had pretty good competitive pace throughout the race, so that makes me happy. 

“It’s encouraging for the next couple of weeks and months. I enjoyed the race, but it was missing a little bit, ultimately, we needed a better qualifying yesterday and to start further ahead to have a chance at points. We need to optimise our qualifying in the next couple of races.”

Fernando Alonso — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — 12th

“It was disappointing not to score any points this weekend in front of the home fans. The whole weekend we have struggled with our pace, and we suffered with high tyre degradation in today’s race. 

“It’s likely to be tough over the next few race weekends, but we will get our heads down, work even harder and look to improve. We have Austria next weekend and then the team’s home race at Silverstone.”

Aston Martin struggle once again, finishing outside of the points with both cars – Photo: Aston Martin F1

Guanyu Zhou — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — 13th

“We had a good race today especially compared to the last couple of events. We were quite strong for most of the day – I hadn’t expected to be fighting with the Haas – and the feeling is that we have definitely made a step forward. 

“The only blot is lap one, where I tried to go on the outside to gain some places but nearly lost it on the gravel: still, we were able to recover and I feel that, on a race where everyone finished, P13 was the most we could get. 

“I am happy we made a step forward, it feels like a bit of a breakthrough, not perhaps in terms of results but in terms of feeling with the car: I felt a lot more comfortable; I could put the car where I wanted and control it as I used to. 

“It’s a big step and it gives us all motivation to keep working and closing the gap. Hopefully, we can continue on this trajectory and be back in the points soon. I think we are much closer to where we were at the start of the season, when we were near the top of the midfield, so I’ll be looking forward to being back on track in Austria.”

Lance Stroll — Aston Martin Armaco F1 Team — 14th

“We knew today was going to be a challenge, but it was still a tough race out there. We went for the two-stop strategy and, as expected, a lot of the race was spent managing tyre degradation. 

“We weren’t competitive enough this weekend, so we have work to do ahead of Austria to find some more performance.”

Daniel Ricciardo — Visa Cash App RB — 15th

“It’s obviously disappointing finishing in P15, but I’m happy with my race and how we managed it as a team with the two stops. I think yesterday I just missed a touch in qualifying, but honestly, today I feel like I maximised it with a good race. 

“We managed the tyres and pushed when we needed to, so unfortunately, I think we just didn’t have more to show this weekend. There’s certainly lots to learn from weekends like this. 

“We take a few little positives and a few more things to work on because we seem to be missing something with the new package. It’s a quick turnaround, so we’ll work on it tonight, trying to understand more in preparation for Austria next week.”

Valtteri Bottas — Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber — 16th

“We opted to split strategies today and went for an aggressive one. The feeling on the soft compound was quite okay at first, as we thought that could have been today’s best tyre, but unfortunately that turned out not to be the case, as they quickly began to degrade. 

“We were forced to an early stop, and the last stint ended up being too long – as I also had to do some tyre management and couldn’t make use of our real pace. As a positive to bring home from this weekend, our overall performance this weekend seemed to be in a better place compared to recent events, as seen with Zhou, who ended up in thirteenth place – which is good to see. 

“We made some decent progress this weekend, but we still need to do more. Looking ahead to Austria, the track layout will be different, but we’ll hopefully be able to be in the mix again with a good qualifying performance: it’s going to be a Sprint event, so it’ll be important to get the feeling right from the start.”

Kevin Magnussen — MoneyGram Haas F1 Team — 17th

“Unfortunately, I got that jump start and that’s on me of course. I had that impulse and let it go a little bit, so we got the penalty, and we had a slow stop also, so it’s just been a tough day. It’s not been a great weekend here so hopefully we can do better in Austria.”

Alex Albon — Williams Racing — 18th

“We wanted more this weekend. On the one hand, the car has made a huge step forward compared to last year and we made the right choices throughout the race.”

“At the same time, this track is a bit of reality check. On a more traditional track, our lack of downforce and extra weight combined with high winds and track temperatures held us back. With the midfield getting stronger, it’s clear we’ve got work to do. Looking ahead, Austria and Silverstone should suit us more.”

Yuki Tsunoda — Visa Cash App RB — 19th

“It was a tough race, in which I struggled. The handling of the car was definitely not easy, and I did not feel as comfortable as I normally do. Something wasn’t quite right, and we’ll analyse everything that happened to understand what did not work well and come back stronger in Austria.”

Logan Sargeant — Williams Racing — 20th

“That was one of the toughest races of the year. The degradation was accumulating so quickly that it felt like I was managing the tyre from lap one on every stint. It’s been a difficult weekend for the team. 

“Like last year, we struggled in Barcelona but had strong performances in Austria and Silverstone, so we’ll look to move on and bounce back at the remaining races of this triple-header.”

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