Venue: Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
Lando Norris has made a superb start to the 2021 Formula One season and we’re looking to keep him on side in our Spanish Grand Prix predictions.
The 21-year-old McLaren driver is currently lying third in the driver standings after finishing fourth, third and fifth in the opening three races.
Now in his third season, Norris says his confidence is at an all-time high and another bold showing is anticipated in Barcelona.
Only Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen sit ahead of Norris in the table while Mercedes and Red Bull second strings Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez are also excluded from this market.
Fresh from his second career podium in Imola, Norris was next in line behind that quartet at the Portuguese Grand Prix after fighting his way up from seventh on the grid to finish fifth.
“I feel as confident as I have ever been,” he said. “I feel like I am doing a good job and I feel like we are doing a good job as a team and the hard work is paying off.”
Daniel Ricciardo battled back from 16th on the grid to take ninth but Norris will head to Spain 21 points clear of his more experienced team-mate in the standings.
McLaren chief Andreas Seidl commented: “Lando completed another excellent weekend with a very strong drive to finish fifth.
“Daniel scored another two important points for himself and for the team in the constructors’ championship.
“This result strengthened our hold on third position, which is obviously very encouraging.”
How the Portuguese Grand Prix finished
1 Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 Verstappen (Red Bull), 3 Bottas (Mercedes), 4 Perez (Red Bull), 5 Norris (McLaren), 6 Leclerc (Ferrari), 7 Ocon (Renault), 8 Alonso (Renault), 9 Ricciardo (McLaren), 10 Gasly (Alphatauri), 11 Sainz (Ferrari), 12 Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), 13 Vettel (Aston Martin), 14 Stroll (Aston Martin), 15 Tsunoda (Alphatauri), 16 Russell (Williams), 17 Schumacher (Haas), 18 Latifi (Williams), 19 Mazepin (Haas), DNF Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
Britain’s seven-time world champion delivered another mighty display in the Algarve to make it 2-1 in his favour against the flying Dutchman this term.
After that 97th career victory, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff beamed: “We had a good car but Lewis just drove an immaculate race.
“It makes no sense to talk about these exceptional Lewis performances because they have been quite regular. It is his standard now and he sets that standard to himself.”
Conversely, Verstappen may well be ruing another wasted opportunity after missing out on pole position due to running wide at the fourth corner in qualifying.
Another wobble in the race enabled Hamilton to close in and pass him on lap 11 of 66 while a late bid to claim the fastest lap bonus point went astray after exceeding track limits.
Hamilton said: “It is a great fight between Mercedes and Red Bull and it is clear we will be pushing right until the last race.”
Verstappen famously became the youngest winner of a Formula One grand prix here in 2016 at the tender age of 18.
However, Hamilton has since rattled off four consecutive victories in Barcelona and will again be the man to beat this weekend.
Past Spanish Grand Prix winners
2020 Hamilton (Mercedes), Verstappen, Bottas
2019 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas, Verstappen
2018 Hamilton (Mercedes), Bottas, Verstappen
2017 Hamilton (Mercedes), Vettel, Bottas
2016 Verstappen (Red Bull), Raikkonen, Vettel
2015 Rosberg (Mercedes), Hamilton, Vettel
2014 Hamilton (Mercedes), Rosberg, Ricciardo
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