2016 Spanish GP: Max Verstappen wins after both Mercedes crash out
Hamilton and Rosberg collide on opening lap; Verstappen wins on Red Bull debut; Three-stop strategy costs Ricciardo
By William Esler
Last Updated: 19/05/16 11:11am
Max Verstappen became the youngest ever winner in F1 history after winning the Spanish GP following a first-lap collision between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
Verstappen held off Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen for victory with Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo third after running a three-stop strategy.
The two Mercedes drivers had collided on the run to Turn Four leaving both cars in the gravel and out of the race.
Both drivers were summoned to face the stewards after the race but escaped without punishment. "He had made a mistake and started in the wrong engine setting," said an apologetic Hamilton.
Rosberg had made the better start and swept around the outside of Hamilton into Turn One to take the lead of the race. The world champion then had a better run out of Turn Three, but found the gap on the inside of Rosberg closing as the German defended. Hamilton ended up on the grass and spun into his team-mate, eliminating both cars.
'A defining moment'
Martin Brundle believes the first lap clash between Hamilton and Rosberg could define their futures
That led to a thrilling battle for the win between the Red Bull and Ferrari cars, with three different strategies playing out across the four drivers.
An elongated middle stint allowed Red Bull to put Verstappen on a two-stop strategy and the teenager made his tyres last during a mammoth final stint to take victory on his debut with the team.
The 18-year-old becomes the youngest winner in F1 history and instantly vindicated Red Bull's decision to thrust him into the senior team.
The Dutchman had to withstand heavy pressure from the DRS-equipped Kimi Raikkonen for much of final stint, but showed a mature head and didn't put a wheel wrong.
The Finn had to settle for second spot and moves above Hamilton in the drivers' championship after running a similar strategy to Verstappen, a strategy supposedly slower than that used by Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo behind.
"There will be two drivers out there asking 'why did you two-stop him and three-stop me?'" commented Martin Brundle.
Indeed, even before a late puncture, sticking to the traditional three-stopper looked to have cost Ricciardo a podium finish as he struggled to overtake Vettel despite having a quicker car. The Australian had led most of the race, but found himself running fourth on the road after the stops. A left-rear puncture then forced him to make a pit-stop on the penultimate lap.
"It is frustrating, we threw the win away today," Ricciardo rued.
Valtteri Bottas was fifth for Williams, ahead of Carlos Sainz who impressed in the Toro Rosso. The Spaniard may have been overlooked for the Red Bull drive, but was able to run ahead of both Ferraris in the early stages.
Sergio Perez was seventh, ahead of Felipe Massa who recovered from 18th on the grid to finish eighth, with Jenson Button picking up some valuable points for McLaren in ninth.
It could have been a second consecutive double points finish for the Woking squad, but unreliability once again struck the team with Fernando Alonso reporting a loss of power from his Honda unit and pulling off the track in the closing stages.
Daniil Kvyat, who lost his seat to Verstappen at Red Bull, completed the points finishers in 10th for junior outfit Toro Rosso and the Russian looked like he had a point to prove in the final laps of the race as he looked to unlap himself during the Ricciardo-Vettel fight.
Spanish GP result
1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull, 66 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +0.616
3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +5.581
4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +43.950
5. Valtteri Bottas, Williams, +45.271
6. Carlos Sainz, Toro Rosso, :1:01.395
7. Sergio Perez, Force India, +1:19.538
8. Felipe Massa, Williams, +1:20.707
9. Jenson Button, McLaren, +1 lap
10. Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, +1 lap
11. Esteban Gutrierrez, Haas, +1 lap
12. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, +1 lap
13. Jolyon Palmer, Renault, +1 lap
14. Kevin Magnussen, Renault, +1 lap
15. Felipe Nasr, Sauber, +1 lap
16. Pascal Wehrlein, Manor, +1 lap
17. Rio Haryanto, Manor, +1 lap
Romain Grosjean, Haas, Not classified
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Not classified
Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Not classified
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Not classified
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Not classified
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