Mercedes feel the pain in Spain, as Max Verstappen re-writes history wins the Spanish Grand Prix.
A first lap collision between Rosberg and Hamilton saw the Silver Arrows flop at the Spanish Grand Prix. Teeing up a four car battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, with max Verstappen topping the order after 66-laps to become the youngest ever Formula One race winner.
Pole for the Spanish Grand Prix had been near on vital in previous races around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but starting this years race from the first spot of the grid was not enough for Lewis to claim his first win of the season.
Off the line, both Mercedes drivers got clean starts and quickly approached the first corner. And with slipstream to aid entry speed, Rosberg was able to go around the outside of Hamilton to snatch the lead of the race. Lewis though did not yield and returned the favour with an attack through turn three.
Carrying more speed around the right hander saw Hamilton ease across the track on exit to attempt an overtake down the inside of his team-mate into the fourth corner. Rosberg however eased across to the right hand side as well to defend the attack and opted not to leave the cars width drivers are supposed to, should another car have anything beyond their front wing alongside the car ahead.
As the space became closed by Rosberg, Hamilton had a brief chance to lift off and accept second place for now. But the reigning champion carried on pushing for the position into the closing space, which saw Lewis dip onto the grass and lose control of his Silver Arrow. The spin collecting Rosberg too and taking both drivers out of the race, promoting Ricciardo to the lead of the race – followed by his new team-mate, Verstappen.
Off the line, Vettel had a good launch himself to tee up a challenge for the Red Bulls positions into the first corners. But a brief lead he held over Verstappen did not last long as the safety car came out for the stricken Mercedes’.
Once the race re-engaged, Raikkonen did not take long before he joined Vettel in chasing the Red Bulls down following an overtake on Carlos Sainz. Pit stops soon though changed up the order as Carlos dropped back to 13th place, while Ricciardo and Verstappen dropped in behind Grosjean.
Romain though lost position over the Red Bulls on the main straight as they stretched their feet with Verstappen setting the fastest lap of the race thus far.
Once Vettel re-emerged on the track with the medium compound tyres he himself set a new fastest lap of the race as he ate into the minimal gap between himself and Verstappen. Hulkenberg meanwhile was finding a fire marshall post as he was forced to retire with flames spitting from the rear of his Force India.
As Raikkonen joined the battle for the lead to stretch the fight to four cars, Gutierrez was fighting with Magnussen as he charged through the non-point scoring cars. The lead battle itself fell from the four cars soon after Kimi joined the chase, as Ricciardo pitted for the second time.
Ferrari followed Red Bulls strategy with Vettel to pit their driver once more, although Sebastian’s stint on the softs only lasted a handful of laps before Ferrari called Vettel back in for their final change of the race. In contrast, Verstappen and Raikkonen remained lapping slightly longer before taking on their third sets of tyres.
The long stint Max now required to carry out saw Kimi close in to the Red Bull later on as Ricciardo pitted again to drop into fourth. But while Raikkonen could not attack, Gutierrez continued his charge as he picked off Nasr after initially taking the position through turn four. Felipe though carried the speed through to turn five, where Esteban eventually completed the move.
One lap on, Esteban again was gaining positions through turn five as he picked off Palmer after gaining ground on Grosjean. Romain too picked off Palmer as they approached the main straight with the Renault driver hitting the pits.
For the lead battle, Raikkonen was again edging closer to Verstappen. But with the difficulties the Barcelona circuit presents for overtaking, Kimi was unable to find a way past the Red Bull. As for the final podium position, the battle was almost a mirror image as Ricciardo hunted down Vettel. Interestingly, with Kvyat in tow as the Toro Rosso driver – outside of the points – looked to unlap himself on fresh tyres. Daniil though stayed out of harms way as he followed the Vettel-Ricciardo battle closely.
Being in close proximity to the Vettel-Ricciardo duel gave the now former Red Bull driver a great view of the scrap as Ricciardo looked down the inside at turn one. The overtake was not on initially, but the following lap the chance represented itself and the Aussie dove in. A slight lock up though saw Daniel overrun the corner, while an angry Vettel regained the position after avoiding any collision on turn on.
The loss of ground cost Ricciardo a chance to have another run at the Ferrari on the following lap as they caught lapped traffic. Vettel on the other hand was able to overtake Gutierrez down the pit straight while Ricciardo was forced to run around the outside of three. Having to lift off for the Red Bull and Ferrari also allowed Kvyat to sneak ahead for the final point scoring position.
As Vettel began to scamper down the road, Kvyat was also able to unlap himself on the Red Bull of Ricciardo as the Australian’s charge for third came to an end with a puncture on the penultimate lap. Ricciardo limped his three-wheeled Bull back to the pits and was able to re-join the race, still in fourth place thanks to a large lead over fifth placed Bottas.
While at the front, Raikkonen’s charge to claim his first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix too came to an end as Max Verstappen claimed his first Formula One win. The first win for any Dutch driver and sets the new record for the youngest ever Grand Prix winner, replacing Sebastian Vettel. Today also marks the first victory for Red Bull since Vettel departed for Ferrari.
|Pos||Driver||Time/ Gap to leader|
|6||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1:1.395|
|9||Jenson Button||1 lap|
|10||Daniil Kvyat||1 lap|
|11||Esteban Gutierrez||1 lap|
|12||Marcus Ericsson||1 lap|
|13||Jolyon Palmer||1 lap|
|14||Felipe Nasr||1 lap|
|15||Kevin Magnussen||1 lap|
|16||Pascal Wehrlein||1 lap|
|17||Rio Haryanto||1 lap|