Formula 1 Racing

Norris has still never kept lead from pole · F1 · RaceFans

Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Sergio Perez led more laps than anyone besides his team mate last year. But after 10 rounds of the 2024 championship Perez has yet to hit the front of the field.

The trend continued in the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend where he rose no higher than seventh. Since round five, Perez hasn’t completed a single lap in the top four places.

Meanwhile Max Verstappen remains the runaway lap leader of the season so far. He’s headed the field for 381 laps so far, more than all his rivals combined. Strikingly, while Lando Norris moved up to second in the championship behind him last weekend, he has only the fourth-highest tally of laps spent in the lead, behind the two Ferrari drivers.

George Russell led at the end of lap one for the second race in a row, having made a superb start from second on the grid. This was the first time a driver who qualified outside the top three places has led the opening lap of a race since Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided on the first lap of the 2021 British Grand Prix, and Charles Leclerc hit the front. In the last 10 years, the lap one leader has only started outside the top three on two other occasions.

Sainz relieved Norris of the lead at Sochi in 2021

Norris therefore continued his trend of never keeping his lead from pole position. This was his fourth F1 pole position (two in grands prix, two in sprint races) and he’s lost the lead at each to a different driver: Carlos Sainz Jnr in the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, Verstappen in the 2023 Interlagos sprint race and Hamilton at the sprint race in Shanghai earlier this year.

Norris joins seven other drivers who have took pole positions for two grands prix. The others are Stuart Lewis-Evans, Jo Siffert, John Watson, Gilles Villeneuve, Michele Alboreto, Jean Alesi and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. (Formula 1 also considers Russell to have two pole positions, as they do not count his 2022 Brazilian Grand Prix pole.) He also gave McLaren their first pole position at the Spanish Grand Prix since Kimi Raikkonen in 2005.

Verstappen claimed his 61st grand prix victory and seventh of the season so far. Surprisingly, he hasn’t won three grands prix in a row so far this year, though he could change that this weekend.

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Hamilton came in third, scoring his first podium finish of the year. He therefore repeated his 2009 nadir of not scoring a top-three finish until round 10, though he was briefly promoted to third place after the…

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