Lando Norris has "emerged from the pack" to represent the main threat to Red Bull, says the team's principal Christian Horner. 

Alongside reigning champion Max Verstappen, Norris has finished in the top two positions at five of the last six races, including Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver has also finished in the top four in each of his last six races, as many times as in his previous 15. 

He has led for a career-high 58 laps this season and his next podium finish will see him match John Watson for 13th place in the charts for all British drivers, with 20.

Looking back on last week's race in Barcelona, Horner acknowledged Verstappen – who triumphed by 2.219 seconds – was fortunate to make a strong start count.

"If Lando had track position it would have been difficult to beat him," Horner told Sky Sports News.

"It was so close between the two of them and they were 18 seconds ahead of the rest. I would say Lando has emerged from the pack as the most consistent challenger.

"We've had four pole winners in the last four races. It's very, very tight.

"But Lando I would say, he seems to have worked out these tyres, McLaren have done a great job as well, and they're going to push us hard for the rest of the year."

Red Bull are on home turf this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix, for the third sprint race weekend of the season.

"On such a short lap, it's going to be so tight and we expect McLaren and Lando to be fast again," Horner added.

"Ferrari and Mercedes? Who knows. If you look at the gap to those guys after the race it was pretty similar to last year. The one who has stepped up is Lando."

Mercedes chief Ola Kallenius believes Max Verstappen would "look good in silver" as he strongly hinted at the team's continued interest in the Red Bull driver.

Lewis Hamilton is leaving Mercedes to join Ferrari at the end of the year, though the team are yet to announce who his replacement will be.

Since Hamilton's announcement, Mercedes have talked up Verstappen, who has a contract with Red Bull until 2028.

However, rumours have circled the Dutchman's future with the team after legendary designer Adrian Newey announced his departure at the end of the season, with Verstappen, who won the Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, stressing he wants to be in the "right environment" in the fastest car.

Speaking to Sky Germany, Kallenius once again made his interest in drawing Verstappen over to Mercedes clear.

"The best driver wants to have the best car. And that's our job, to bring the best package together," Kallenius said.

"The cards will be reshuffled in 2026. New order with new rules. That's also an opportunity. Who knows?

"But I think Max would look good in silver, wouldn't he?"

Despite those comments, Toto Wolff previously confirmed there had been no official talks with Verstappen.

It is rumoured that 17-year-old Andrea Kimi Antonelli could be in line to partner George Russell next season, while Verstappen remains an outside target.

Lando Norris described himself as "99% happy" with where McLaren are in their ongoing pursuit of Max Verstappen, but the Briton is desperate to start cutting into the world champion's lead.

Verstappen finished two seconds clear of Norris to edge a keenly contested Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday, extending his championship advantage to 69 points.

Norris is taking the fight to the Dutchman, having finished in the top two in five of the last six Formula One races.

However, he was frustrated not to convert his pole position to a victory in Barcelona, having also fallen just short at the previous race in Canada.

Norris rued a start to the race which saw him passed by Verstappen and Mercedes’ George Russell, who ultimately finished fourth behind the two championship contenders and team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

"I should have done better," Norris said after the race, per BBC Sport. 

"We should have got some points back on Max. Potentially there was a chance to beat him in Canada. Two races I have been second and he has won.

"But Max needs to stop winning. He is still extending [his lead] at the minute but we cannot afford to let him run away with it. 

"If I made some better decisions in Canada and had made a better start [in Spain], we would have won two races. We have what it takes; it’s just about putting it all together.

"I am happy with 99% of things and it is just the 1% - which is a big part of it - wasn’t enough.

"Two metres I lost out in the beginning and this was enough for Max to be on the inside. If George wasn’t on the outside I could have covered him, but George got a good start and got a perfect slipstream, nothing I can do about that.

"As soon as you make one mistake, they are going to be ahead."

Verstappen and Norris both said after the race that the McLaren is currently the fastest car on the track.

But Norris, who did triumph at the Miami Grand Prix last month, lost crucial ground to Verstappen as he remained behind Russell in the early stages until his compatriot pitted.

He added: "I got a bad start, simple as that, and then I just couldn’t get past George. The car was incredible and we were for sure the quickest, I just lost it at the beginning. 

"Lots of positives, one negative and I know that. I can work on it for next time."

Norris will be back on track soon, with the Austrian Grand Prix and British Grand Prix to follow swiftly as part of a run which sees three races take place in as many weeks, part of the longest season in F1 history.

He added: "Austria and Silverstone – two of my favourite tracks. We are on a good roll. I just need to tidy up a few bits and then we will be on top."

The result saw Norris move up to second in the drivers' standings, two points clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who had to settle for fifth place in Spain.

Lando Norris celebrated "pretty much the perfect lap" after he claimed pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen.

McLaren's Norris set the best time of 1:11.383 in Barcelona on Saturday, which had started dismally for the team when their hospitality facilities had to be evacuated due to a fire.

Norris, who was 0.2 seconds quicker than Verstappen, showed no sign of distraction though, and with all staff having been safely ushered from any danger, it was a day to celebrate for the team, whose second driver Oscar Piastri rounded out the top 10 despite failing to set a time in Q3.

"It was pretty much a perfect lap, when you are on a good lap and getting excited but the whole thing went perfectly in the end," he said.

"It was close but super happy, it was my best pole position, I've not had many. We've been close all weekend but really this was about a perfect lap and that is what I did today.

"It's not just this weekend, we've been quick the last two months, and since Miami we've been very strong.

"We probably missed out on pole by not doing a perfect lap but today was the perfect lap."

It was also a good day for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, who qualified in third, one place ahead of team-mate George Russell.

Ferrari duo Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz placed fifth and sixth respectively.

Top 10

1. Lando Norris (McLaren) 

2. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

3. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

4. George Russell (Mercedes)

5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

6. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

7. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

8. Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

9. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

10. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

Max Verstappen beat Lando Norris to win a thrilling Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, the lead changing hands on several occasions in wet conditions in Montreal.

Starting second on the grid behind George Russell, Verstappen was passed by Norris in the early stages but managed an expert restart after a safety-car period with 11 laps to go.

Norris took the lead on two separate occasions but was unable to hit back when Verstappen pulled two seconds clear late on, having to settle for his third second-place finish of the season.

An error-strewn performance saw Russell give up the lead and slip into a battle for third with Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Oscar Piastri.  

Contact between Russell and Piastri allowed Hamilton to surge into third place with five laps remaining, but Russell overtook his team-mate with a neat move at the final chicane on lap 68.

With Hamilton finishing fourth, both Mercedes drivers recorded their best finishes of the season thus far.

The Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso was sixth, while neither Ferrari managed to finish, Charles Leclerc retiring just past the halfway stage and Carlos Sainz following suit as he collided with Alex Albon's Williams.

Data Debrief: Sixty up for Verstappen

Verstappen's previous two victories in Montreal had come from pole position, but he had to fight his way past Russell and later Norris to make it three straight wins in Canada.

The victory was his 60th in Formula One overall, from 194 races. Among drivers who have achieved at least 25 wins, only Jim Clark (25 – 34.7 per cent) has a higher win ratio than the Dutchman's 30.9 per cent.

Max Verstappen admitted it was not an "ideal" start to his Canadian Grand Prix after enduring technical trouble with his car on Friday.

The practice session in Montreal was heavily disrupted by intermittent rain, causing the headline lap times to be effectively meaningless.

However, Verstappen, who was 18th fastest in the second session, suffered a problem with the energy recovery system (ERS) in Practice Two after just four laps, with the Red Bull trailing smoke before returning to the pits.

Red Bull are investigating the cause of the fault ahead of Saturday's qualifying.

"It's not ideal," said Verstappen.

"I would have liked to drive more laps, some other people had a few more laps in the dry and a few more laps in the wet.

"It's definitely not how I would have liked to get on in FP2 but it's more important to figure out what actually happened and what kind of implication it will have for this year and the rest of the year."

Verstappen has won just one of the last three Grand Prix, with Red Bull now holding just a 24-point lead over Ferrari in the championship.

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes are "not far away" from competing at the front of the grid after implementing upgrades ahead of this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix.

Mercedes have endured a torrid start to the 2024 season, which will be Hamilton's last with the team before he joins Ferrari for 2025.

Neither Hamilton nor team-mate George Russell have finished higher than fifth in any race, with Russell achieving that finish in the opening race at Bahrain and in Monaco two weeks ago.

The Silver Arrows – who have only won one race since 2021 – introduced a new front wing to Russell's car last time out and were encouraged by his pace. Both cars will be sporting the upgrade in Montreal this weekend.

Asked whether he thought Mercedes could close the gap to constructors' champions and current leaders Red Bull, Hamilton said: "I don't think it's far away.

"We've got the upgrade, both cars have the upgrade this weekend, so I'm looking forward to seeing how that feels on the track."

Max Verstappen initially looked set for another dominant campaign, but recent victories for McLaren's Lando Norris and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc have led some to suggest we could still see a title battle. 

Hamilton added: "The car's continuing to improve. I think everyone's obviously taking that step, hopefully getting closer to the Red Bulls and I think that's been really positive.

"I'm incredibly proud of everyone back at the factory, how hard everyone's working and how resilient everyone is. Everyone is staying focused, the morale is really great in the team.

"So I'm hoping that we can get closer to these guys and start actually competing at the front."

Hamilton has won the Canadian Grand Prix seven times, a tally only matched by Michael Schumacher. 

His last victory came 53 races ago at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, but a surprise win in Montreal would see him equal his record for most triumphs at a single event (eight in Hungary and Great Britain).

Charles Leclerc believes Ferrari have what it takes to beat Red Bull to the F1 championship this year.

Leclerc won at Monaco for the first time in his career last time out, and a double podium for Ferrari in that race means they are just 24 points behind Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.

Red Bull have won the constructors' title for the last three years in a row, but this year they could be in a tough battle with Ferrari and McLaren.

Speaking before the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, Leclerc says he has faith that Ferrari mount a good challenge against Red Bull.

"I have to believe it [that Red Bull are beatable], and I believe in it," Leclerc told Sky Sports F1.

"However, let's say that I think the last two races have been not the tracks that favour Red Bull or show their strengths. I don't think that this one is a track that will show their strength either, so it might be an opportunity again for us.

"From Barcelona [the race after Montreal] onwards, I think we will see back the Red Bull that we have seen at the beginning of the year, which, if this is the case, might be more difficult to beat.

"But my hopes remain high. We still have some things that we want to bring to the car, and if that is enough to close the gap, then that's great. And we'll put them under more pressure.

"When you are under a bit more pressure, hopefully, we can push them into more mistakes and take our chances. For now, I don't feel like we are quite there yet. But looking at this weekend, I feel like it can be an opportunity."

Lando Norris, who won the Miami Grand Prix, has tipped Ferrari as the favourites to win in Canada, while Max Verstappen also thinks it will be another tough race after finishing in his lowest position for 18 months in Monaco.

Leclerc, however, is not fazed by those predictions.

"They always say that! Whether it's Helmut [Marko] one weekend, Lando the other," he added.

"Everyone doesn't want to hear they are the favourites, so you are never going to hear me say we are the favourites and same with them.

"I think the reality is we are so closely matched between three teams, that it will be down to the ones who do the better job, as well as the rain will be here, and we haven't really driven here with these cars yet in the rain."

The FIA has revealed Formula 1 cars will be more environmentally friendly and smaller from 2026 in an attempt to produce closer racing.

The sport's governing body described the key concept in the new rules as a "nimble car".

The cars will be 10cm narrower and 30kg lighter, with an even split between internal and electric combustion power, while running on 100 per cent sustainable fuels.

Active aerodynamics, in the form of moveable front and rear wings, will also be used to optimise the new engines.

The Drag Reduction System (DRS) is set to be replaced by a Manual Override Mode – technology that will give the driver an electrical boost of power to get past a close rival.

There will also be a focus on improved safety through stronger structures and tougher tests.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: "The key features of the 2026 F1 Regulations are advanced sustainability, technology and safety.

"Our aim, together with Formula 1, was to produce a car that was right for the future of the sport's elite category. We believe we have achieved that goal."

The new hybrid engines have attracted Audi and Ford, who will be joining forces with Red Bull Powertrains, to join F1, while also persuading Honda to reverse its decision to quit the sport. There will be a total of six engine manufacturers in the sport in 2026, including Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

The rules are part of F1's pledge to go net-zero carbon by 2030.

Sergio Perez has secured a two-year contract extension at Red Bull, keeping him at the F1 World Champions until the end of the 2026 season.

The Mexican joined the team in 2021 and has been a part of their recent success that has seen them dominate F1 in the last two years, alongside team-mate Max Verstappen.

Perez has claimed five of his six F1 career wins since joining Red Bull, though he is still waiting for his first victory in the 2024 season.

He said: "I am delighted to be staying here to continue our journey together and contribute to this team's great history for two more years.

"Being part of the team is an immense challenge, and one I love. We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here, and I am excited to be part of it.

"We have a great challenge this year and I have full trust in the whole team that the future is bright here, and I am excited to be part of it.

"I want to thank everyone for all the trust they are putting in me. It is a lot and I want to pay it back with excellent results on track and off track. I think we have a lot of work to do, we have a lot more championships to win together."

Meanwhile, team principal Christian Horner backed Perez to get stronger after a tough start to the season after making the announcement.

"Continuity and stability are important for the team and both Checo and Max are a successful and robust partnership, securing our first ever one-two finish for the team in the championship last year," he said.

"Checo has had a strong start to 2024 with second places in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Japan and then his podium in China," added Horner.

"The past few races have been tough, there is convergence on the grid, but we are confident in Checo and look forward to his return to proven form and performance that we so often see."

Red Bull will be aiming to hold onto their lead at the top of the F1 standings at the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend. 

Esteban Ocon will leave Alpine at the end of the 2024 Formula One season, the French manufacturer has confirmed.

Ocon joined Alpine in 2020 and achieved the team's first race victory at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, but he finished 12th in the drivers' championship last year after managing an eighth-place finish in 2022.

He is currently languishing in 16th position and there has even been talk of him being replaced for this week's Canadian Grand Prix following a collision with team-mate Pierre Gasly at the recent Monaco Grand Prix.

Ocon released a statement condemning the "abuse and negativity" he was subjected to after the crash, and he has been linked with a move to Haas with the 2025 driver market wide open.

Alpine team principal Bruno Famin said: "We would like to firstly thank Esteban for his commitment to the team for the past five years. 

"During his time, we have celebrated some fantastic moments together, the best of which coming at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix with a memorable race win.

"We still have 16 races to complete in 2024 together with a clear objective: to continue to work tirelessly as a team to push for the best on-track results. We wish Esteban the very best for the next chapter of his driving career when that moment comes."

In a social media post, Ocon said: "The Enstone-Viry family has played a significant part in my life, dating back to my Lotus junior programme days. 

"I feel incredibly lucky and privileged to have achieved the things I did with this team, from my first podium to my first win. These achievements truly were dreams come true.  

"Like many drivers this season, a lot has been said about my future beyond 2024. News will be announced in due course."

Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen both blame each other for the huge crash that forced a restart in the Monaco Grand Prix.

The pair came together during the opening lap of the race as Magnussen attempted to squeeze through a tight gap on the inside of Perez on the exit of Turn One.

The Red Bull was destroyed during the incident, while the Dane’s Haas team-mate Nico Hulkenberg also got caught in the chaos.

All three drivers were unharmed, though were ultimately forced out of the race when it restarted.

Perez was adamant following the race that the blame should be placed firmly on Magnussen’s shoulders.

He said: "It was an immense crash, one I'm disappointed about. I think it was totally unnecessary at that point of the race and there was no need for that.

"At some point, you have two options: Lift or have a contact, and I think it was too unnecessary with the speeds we were doing, and it was a massive contact.

"It was important to take things a little bit calmer."

The incident compounded a disappointing weekend for both teams, in particularly Haas after both drivers were disqualified from qualifying and sent to the back of the grid due to a technical infringement.

However, Magnussen stood by his belief he had every right to go for the gap and was forced into the barrier by the Mexican.

"From my point of view, I had a good part of my front on Perez's rear and when he went to the wall I got pushed to the wall and made contact with him," Magnussen said.

"I trusted he was going to leave space for me since I was there. It's not a corner where you're braking into it, it's a bend on the straight, so you have to have a car otherwise you leave the other guy no option.

"From my point of view, I was there, and I got squeezed to the wall."

Ultimately, neither driver was punished for the incident as the stewards deemed it a racing incident which needed no further investigation. 

Max Verstappen reflected on a "really boring" Monaco Grand Prix during a "weekend to forget" for Red Bull.

The world number one failed to improve on his sixth-place start, after struggling to catch George Russell as he failed to finish on the podium for just the second time this season.

Verstappen fared better than team-mate Sergio Perez though, as the Mexican was involved in a huge crash just seconds into the race, forcing him out of it after an already poor qualifying.

Despite being underwhelmed by their performance in Monaco, Verstappen said there were still positives to take from it.

After the race, he said: "This has been a really tricky challenging weekend with a lot of damage [to Perez's car]. Probably a weekend to forget, but also one to learn a lot from.

"The only positive to come out of this weekend is that we understand what our big weakness is and that's what we really have to work on. I think if we can solve that and make it decent, we can gain a lot of lap time and we need to do that.

"We finished where we started. The strategy got ruined with the red flag, so we had to back it up on the medium [tyre]. From lap one on the restart, it was driving four seconds off the pace. Just really, really boring.

"Naturally we will [see more excitement in Canada]. It still won't be the easiest weekend because of the curbing - our cars aren't very good at that. They've resurfaced the track though, so that might bring something unexpected.

Charles Leclerc says he has fulfilled his dreams after winning the Monaco Grand Prix for the first time.

After claiming pole for the third time on home soil, Leclerc was able to hold onto first and finish on the Monaco podium for the first time.

Despite an early red flag forcing a restart, the Monegasque was in control throughout, finishing seven seconds ahead of second-place Oscar Piastri.

It is Leclerc's first win of 2024, and Ferrari's second of the season after Carlos Sainz’s victory at the Australian Grand Prix in March.

Speaking after Sunday's victory, he said: "No words can explain that. It's such a difficult race. I think the fact twice I've been starting on pole position, and we couldn't quite make it makes it even better in a way.

"It means a lot, obviously. It's the race which made me dream of becoming a Formula 1 driver one day.

"Fifteen laps to the end you're hoping nothing happens, and the emotions are coming.

"My dad has given everything for me to be here, and it was a dream of ours for me to race here and win here, so it's unbelievable.

"A huge thank you, the parade laps were special and seeing so many of my friends and people I know in the balcony, it was just very special. This one means a lot."

Piastri put in an assured drive to finish second, holding off Sainz to prevent a Ferrari one-two and was pleased with the way the race turned out.

"Thanks to the team. It's been a great weekend all-round. Nice to put a result on the board. I've been strong the last few weekends but didn't have the result to show for it. Nice to have a podium," he said.

"Charles has been mega all weekend. They have been quick from the very first lap.

"I'm happy with P2. A good result for the team. Very, very happy."

Charles Leclerc secured his first win at the Monaco Grand Prix, cruising to victory on home soil despite a first-lap red flag.

A huge crash between Kevin Magnussen and Sergio Perez seconds into the race saw the early red flag come out after the Dane tried to squeeze through a narrow gap but flipped the Red Bull instead. Both drivers were unharmed but unable to continue.

Having claimed his third pole in Monaco on Saturday, Leclerc followed that up with his first podium finish here, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of McLaren's Oscar Piastri.

Leclerc's Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz held off a charging Lando Norris to claim third, even after a tangle with Piastri during the initial start, though it did not affect his restart position.

George Russell rounded out the top five, holding off Max Verstappen – who was not able to improve on his sixth-place start – capping a disappointing weekend for Red Bull. 

Data Debrief: Curse-breaker

Leclerc is the 35th driver to win at his home Grand Prix. He has claimed pole three times in Monaco (2021, 2022, 2024), and has finished on the podium for the first time in his sixth Formula 1 race there. 

The Monegasque had already created history in qualifying, earning Ferrari's 250th pole in Formula 1 history, while claiming his 24th for the Italian team in the process.

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