Verstappen beats Norris for third Spanish win in a row

Red Bull's Max Verstappen has won the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix for the third year in a row after McLaren's pole-sitter Lando Norris lost out at the start and finished 2.2 seconds behind.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton was third for his first podium appearance of the season with Mercedes teammate George Russell fourth on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.

The Dutch champion Verstappen extended his lead to a hefty 69 points, with Norris moving up to become the triple world champion's closest rival in second place and also taking a bonus point for fastest lap.

Norris's teammate Oscar Piastri, starting 10th on the grid, ended up finishing seventh, while the other Australian in the field, RB's Daniel Ricciardo was 15th.

Norris paid the price for a slow start, dropping to third into the first corner after squeezing Verstappen onto the grass while Russell rocketed past from the second row to take them both and lead the field.

"I did a bit of rallying. I think we slowed each other down," commented Verstappen afterwards.

Verstappen, who had started alongside Norris on the front row, was leading by lap three and could then build a buffer and take control.

"I think what made the race was the beginning," he said. "I took the lead ... and made that first stint where I could eke out a gap a little bit.

"After that we had to drive kind of a defensive race. Lando and McLaren were very quick today ... I think we did everything well, we drove quite an aggressive strategy but luckily it played out to the end."

Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was fifth, after taking the chequered flag just 0.3sec behind Russell, and teammate Carlos Sainz sixth in front of his home crowd.

Red Bull's Sergio Perez was eighth, a plce behind Piastri, with Alpine duo Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon taking the final points.

The win was Verstappen's seventh in 10 races so far this season, and the 61st of his career. He now has 219 points to Norris's 150 and Leclerc's 148.