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POWER RANKINGS: Who’s got top billing after a tense Barcelona showdown?

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Lando Norris made life incredibly tough for Max Verstappen over the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. But was it Norris, Verstappen or one of their fellow grid members on top after the judges handed in their Power Ranking scores? Read on to find out...

How it works

  • Our five-judge panel assess each driver after every Grand Prix and score them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation

  • Our experts’ scores are then averaged out to produce a race score – with those scores then tallied up across the season on our overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)

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Spain was another tour de force from Verstappen, who was brilliant in the face of an incredibly strong opponent – namely Lando Norris (more on whom later…). Hundredths away from Norris in qualifying, Verstappen was laser focused after falling behind the Mercedes of George Russell at the start of the race, passing the Briton within a handful of laps before doing exactly what he needed to do to bring home win seven of the season.

READ MORE: Verstappen pinpoints moment that ‘made my race’ after beating Norris to Spanish GP win

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What a run of form Lando Norris is currently on. After his self-described “perfect lap” on Saturday to net his second career pole, things went a tad awry on Sunday, as Norris fell to third at the start, spending so much time battling Russell that he was unable to take the challenge to Verstappen at the end. Nevertheless, there’s much for Norris to be cheery about at the upcoming races – Austria and Silverstone, previous witnesses of strong performances from the Englishman – aboard a McLaren MCL38 that looks very much a match for the Red Bull currently.

READ MORE: McLaren and Red Bull performance levels now ‘very, very close’ says Stella as Verstappen praises rivals

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Hamilton’s best weekend of 2024 so far, as he qualified and then raced to P3. Seven titles and 103 wins mean you aspire to better than finishing 17 seconds off the lead – especially at a track where you’ve won six times previously. But it looks like Hamilton is starting to re-find his mojo, helped by Mercedes’ continual improvements on the W15, as he claimed his first Grand Prix podium since Mexico last year.

READ MORE: Hamilton hails ‘the best weekend I’ve had all year’ after Barcelona podium as he defends Sainz lunge

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Gasly looked right in the pocket this weekend. Handed the lighter of the Alpine tubs, the Frenchman made stellar use of it, breaking into Q3 before out-qualifying the Red Bull of Sergio Perez to net seventh on the grid. Race day was always going to be harder, but his second P9 in as many events hints that things are on the up for Alpine.

WATCH: Gasly hails ‘big step forward’ for Alpine after points in Spain

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George Russell showed guile, intelligence and application at the Spain race start – citing Fernando Alonso’s brilliant 2011 getaway as inspiration for his own mega launch from P4 – as he enjoyed a double slipstream down to Turn 1 before sweeping around the outside of Norris and Verstappen into the lead. Ultimately, Russell was forced to play second-best to Hamilton, but there was still much to be encouraged about for the Englishman.

READ M0RE: ‘I channelled my inner Alonso!’ – Russell reflects on his remarkable rise from P4 to P1 in Spanish GP start

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Demonstrating that Alpine really did have it together in Spain, Ocon followed Gasly through into Q3 despite driving the unwieldier heavy A524 tub – which the pair currently swap weekend to weekend – before finishing one spot behind his team mate, just as he did in Canada. That marks a pair of double-points finishes for Alpine – something that will be a salve for the battered Anglo-French team after a tough start to 2024.

WATCH: Ocon reflects on ‘very positive day’ despite car which was ‘abnormally difficult to drive’

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When Charles Leclerc won the Monaco Grand Prix, there were whispers of Ferrari now being a consistent threat to Red Bull. Instead, the Scuderia have watched themselves be outgunned by rivals Mercedes and McLaren for that position in recent races. Nonetheless, at a weekend where Ferrari clearly lacked the pace of those three teams, Leclerc led the way for the Scuderia, to net valuable points.

READ MORE: ‘He complains too much’ – Sainz and Leclerc at odds over Barcelona clash

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As he has been throughout much of 2024, Hulkenberg was the pick of the Haas drivers in Spain. Lapping over two-tenths faster than team mate Kevin Magnussen in Q1 netted him a berth in Q2, while a blistering first lap shot him from P13 to P10 – Hulkenberg winding up 11th at the chequered after getting a five-second penalty for pit lane speeding.

THIS WEEK IN F1: 10 tough quiz questions on the week's F1 news and the Spanish Grand Prix

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Zhou is a better driver than his recent spate of poor results have shown, and he demonstrated that in Spain, a move back to a previous chassis appearing to re-invigorate the Chinese racer. Mechanical, psychological, or hoodoo... whatever it was, it worked, allowing Zhou to show decent pace to claim P13, three places clear of his 2019 Spanish Grand Prix pole-winning team mate Valtteri Bottas.

F1 NATION: Norris had the ‘best car’ in Spain – so how did Verstappen win? It’s our Barcelona review

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Ferrari’s Spain pace struggles made life hard for Sainz, but even still, this was not the Spaniard’s finest weekend. Both Ferrari drivers let what may well have been their frustration at not fighting at the front bubble over in Barcelona on Sunday, culminating in them racing each other hard for only P5 early in the race, and making contact. A more tame Ferrari position swap on Lap 55 of 66 saw Sainz come home P6, eight seconds behind Leclerc – as the wait goes on to see where he’ll be driving in 2025.

READ MORE: Mick Schumacher to test Alpine F1 car at Paul Ricard as team continue to assess 2025 options

MISSING OUT

In what was, let’s be honest, a relatively low-scoring race, Daniel Ricciardo and Bottas joined Sainz on a 6.2 – Ricciardo leading for RB on a weekend where they struggled to dial in their enormous upgrade, while Bottas showed flashes of excellent pace, but had to settle for being the second best Kick Sauber driver on race day.

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