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Spanish Grand Prix: Lando Norris says there is now a greater chance of catching Max Verstappen

Norris admitted he could have won in Canada two weeks ago if he had decided to pit immediately when the first of two safety cars took to the track.

“Max shouldn’t have won in Montreal last weekend, but he was the most consistent throughout the race, made the fewest mistakes as a driver and as a team and came out on top,” said Norris.

“We should have pitted during the safety car. George (Russell of Mercedes) had the fastest car and if he hadn’t made a few mistakes, which happens to all drivers, he probably would have had a chance to win the race too.

“It just shows that Max still shows what he is capable of even when he doesn’t have the best car.

“Now it’s even more important to have the right strategy and get the little things right, because when the cars are so close together, those things make a bigger difference.”

Norris said he expected this weekend’s race in Spain to be another close battle between the top three or four teams after a difficult weekend for Ferrari in Montreal.

“We’ve been good at everything so far, so I don’t expect anything major to change,” Norris said.

“I expect it to be close. Red Bull is probably back where they should be. Ferrari is back where they should be after last weekend.”

“We were the most consistent team. We didn’t suddenly become the fastest and dominate a weekend as effortlessly as Red Bull and Ferrari did.”

“But we have been a very good all-rounder so far, which is exactly what we want over the course of a season and is a good strength compared to last year, when there were a lot of ups and downs for us.”

Verstappen said: “I don’t think it will be like the beginning of the season (when he dominated), but we know this track should suit our car a little better.

“I realise that everyone has caught up a lot, but compared to the last races this should give us a better chance.

“McLaren has been fast everywhere and will be fast here too. Mercedes and Ferrari have made good progress and should be pretty decent here.”

Russell said Spain was a “real test” for Mercedes to see if their progress could continue in Canada. “If we are quick this weekend, it bodes really well for the season,” he said.

Teammate Lewis Hamilton said he was “optimistic”.

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