Max Verstappen wins Spanish Grand Prix as Mercedes duo crash
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News May 15, 2016 Updated: 10:27 AM
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen became the youngest winner in F1 history as Mercedes' drivers crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg came together on lap one as the world champion tried to pass his team-mate who made an erratic move which resulted in both cars crashing, leaving Red Bull and Ferrari to dispute the race.
Lewis Hamilton said: “I’m hurt and disappointed for the team most of all because we lost 43 points today. We’re all here working together towards the same result and the team give me the opportunity to race with the work they do. When I came to a stop in the gravel trap, all I could think about was how gutted I was for the team – that’s where I feel the pain. But we will move on together and come back stronger in Monaco.”
Nico Rosberg said: ”I came out of turn three and realized I was down on power with the wrong mode selected due to the engine mode switch being in the incorrect position. Lewis was closing in, so I decided to make a clear move to the right hand side as soon as possible, to close the door and show him that wasn’t an option.”
The 18 year old Verstappen held off Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen after teammate Daniel Ricciardo took a three-stop strategy.
Verstappen made his two-stop strategy work to seal the deal and become the first Dutchmen to win a Formula One Grand Prix.
“It’s a very special feeling. Of course I didn’t expect to win; after the Mercedes pair crashed then you’re targeting a podium, but in the end to come out on top, it’s incredible. To hear the Dutch national anthem for the first time in Formula One, I have to think about my dad for sure and I heard he was crying, so yeah it’s unbelievable,” said Verstappen.
Red Bull’s team principal, Christian Horner said: “After the first lap incident between the Mercedes, we were in a great position to get some points, but to take on the Ferraris who had a very fast race car was always going to be difficult.
We had to make some difficult decisions in the race, as it wasn’t clear whether the two or the three stop was going to be quickest, so we elected to split the strategies.”
The stewards later ruled that the crash between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg was a racing incident and that no disciplinary action will be taken against the pair.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen spent the final laps on the gearbox of Verstappen’s Red Bull but was unable to get close enough to make an attempt to pass down the main straight.
He was forced to settle for second while his teammate Sebastian Vettel took third, and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo forth.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas finished fifth and drama free, while Carlos Sainz Jr and Toro Rosso demonstrated its potential at the Spanish Grand Prix and was thrilled to take the best result of his F1 career in his home race.
“What a fantastic race! We finally put a whole weekend together – we had a productive Friday, were fast in Quali and had good pace in the race today – and I’m a very happy man! P6 is an amazing result for me and the team, and to achieve this at my home race makes it even better,” said Sainz.
Force India’s Sergio Perez finished seventh to cap a weekend of improvements for the team though teammate Nico Hulkenberg had to retire on lap 22 with flames coming from the rear of his car. Felipe Massa managed a good result to finish eighth, battling back from a disappointing Saturday which had left him 18th on the grid.
Mclaren-Honda driver Jenson Button scored his first points of the season with a late charge through the midfield to ninth though his teammate Fernando Alonso had to retire due to engine failure on lap 47. Daniil Kvyat, after returning to Toro Rosso, finished off the last points-paying positions.
Esteban Gutierrez was hopeful to score his first points of the season and had past his teammate Romain Grosjean on lap 34. However, a crucial mistake allowed Button pass him, with Kvyat following before the chequered flag flew, denying Gutierrez the the chance.
“I think we could have done a bit better with the tires – maybe taken a bit of a longer stint with the softs as toward the end of the race I just ran out of tires. However, it was really enjoyable out there and I had some great battles throughout. Today wasn’t straightforward for us to finish in the points, but we’re finding more consistency in the car, which will give us more opportunity to go forward, said Gutiérrez.
Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson finished 12th ahead of the Renaults, which saw Jolyon Palmer beat Kevin Magnussen to 13th despite a frustrating weekend of limited running.
Felipe Nasr finished 15th, ahead of Manor drivers Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.