Verstappen becomes youngest F1 winner on Red Bull Racing debut

Max Verstappen made Formula 1 history by taking victory at the Circuit de Catalunya on his first appearance as a Red Bull Racing driver.

On his debut drive for Milton Keynes-based team after recently swapping seats with Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso graduate Verstappen became the youngest driver to win a race at the age of 18 years and 227 days, beating Sebastian Vettel’s record by more than two years.

Verstappen led for the final 32 of the 66 laps as he completed a two-stop strategy to perfection, finishing just 0.6 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari, with Vettel third, a further 4.9 seconds down.

While such an achievement was unforgettable, the Spanish Grand Prix will be go down in motor sport history as to what unfolded between Hamilton and Rosberg.

From second on the grid Rosberg enjoyed a slightly better start than Hamilton on pole and passed his team-mate around the outside at Turn 1.

Out of Turn 3 Hamilton managed to gain a superb launch, moving into Rosberg’s slipstream and across to the right as he aimed for an overtake.

Rosberg aggressively covered off what was an ambitious move by Hamilton, who had managed to get his front wing aligned with his team-mate’s right-rear tyre.

Trying to avoid a collision Hamilton took to the grass, but immediately went into a slide and careered into Rosberg, sending both into the gravel at Turn 4.

Hamilton immediately covered his visor with both hands, and after a period of reflection sat in his car, later flung his steering wheel out in a fit of anger.

The incident immediately brought out the safety car, with Daniel Ricciardo leading new team-mate Verstappen, followed by the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz Jr, who had started eighth, and the Ferraris of Vettel and Raikkonen.

After Vettel and Raikkonen eventually passed Sainz, a tense Red Bull versus Ferrari battle began.

They matched tactics at their first pit-stops for mediums, before both teams then split strategies.

Leader Ricciardo returned to soft rubber after his second stop – immediately indicating a three-stop plan – and was covered off by third-placed Vettel a lap later.

Verstappen, who had closed to within seven tenths of Ricciardo, and Raikkonen remained out, not pitting until laps 34 and 35 respectively and taking on medium tyres to commit to a two-stop strategy with a long stint to the finish.

After just eight laps on the softs, Ferrari made a tactical move by bringing in Vettel again for his third pit-stop, and moving back to the mediums.

Leader Ricciardo, following a poor few laps, took on his set of mediums after 43 laps, emerging some distance behind third-placed Vettel, with Verstappen holding on to a one-second cushion to Raikkonen at the front.

Despite constant pressure from Raikkonen, Verstappen stayed ahead to the chequered flag for a remarkable win.

As the lead quartet bunched up, Ricciardo attempted a pass on Vettel for third into Turn 1 with seven laps left, only to slightly overcook it and allow the four-time champion back through.

Vettel was forced to take evasive action to avoid hitting Ricciardo, and yet again an expletive-laden radio rant from the Ferrari driver.

Ricciardo kept pushing, but on the penultimate lap his right-rear tyre gave way, forcing him into the pits for a late change, and with such a significant gap to fifth-placed Valtteri Bottas in his Williams, he still claimed fourth.

Behind Bottas came Sainz, followed by the Force India of Sergio Perez, Felipe Massa’s Williams – charging from P18 on the grid – Jenson Button for McLaren, with Kvyat taking the final point with tenth.

Nico Hulkenberg was forced to retire after 21 laps following a small fire and with smoke coming from the back of his Force India, with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso following suit 25 laps later, bemoaning “no power”.

So a dramatic Spanish Grand Prix. The Mercedes self-destruct will be the major talking point as both Rosberg and Hamilton not given an inch. Yet, the feel good story from Barcelona is Verstappen winning his first race.

The youngest winner in the sport. On his debut with Red Bull Racing. Fantastic achievement. Here’s to many more for the Mad Max in Formula 1.

Spanish Grand Prix, race results after 66 laps:

1    Max Verstappen    Red Bull-Renault    1h41m40.017s
2    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    0.616s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    5.581s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    43.950s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    45.271s
6    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1m01.395s
7    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m19.538s
8    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m20.707s
9    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
10    Daniil Kvyat    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    1 Lap
11    Esteban Gutierrez    Haas-Ferrari    1 Lap
12    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
13    Jolyon Palmer    Renault    1 Lap
14    Kevin Magnussen    Renault    1 Lap
15    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
16    Pascal Wehrlein    Manor-Mercedes    1 Lap
17    Rio Haryanto    Manor-Mercedes    1 Lap
–    Romain Grosjean    Haas-Ferrari    Retirement
–    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    Retirement
–    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    Retirement
–    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    Collision
–    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    Collision

Drivers’ standings:

1    Nico Rosberg    100
2    Kimi Raikkonen    61
3    Lewis Hamilton    57
4    Sebastian Vettel    48
5    Daniel Ricciardo    48
6    Max Verstappen    38
7    Felipe Massa    36
8    Valtteri Bottas    29
9    Daniil Kvyat    22
10    Romain Grosjean    22
11    Carlos Sainz    12
12    Fernando Alonso    8
13    Sergio Perez    8
14    Kevin Magnussen    6
15    Nico Hulkenberg    6
16    Jenson Button    3
17    Stoffel Vandoorne    1
18    Jolyon Palmer    0
19    Esteban Gutierrez    0
20    Marcus Ericsson    0
21    Pascal Wehrlein    0
22    Felipe Nasr    0
23    Rio Haryanto    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    157
2    Ferrari    109
3    Red Bull-Renault    94
4    Williams-Mercedes    65
5    Toro Rosso-Ferrari    26
6    Haas-Ferrari    22
7    Force India-Mercedes    14
8    McLaren-Honda    12
9    Renault    6
10    Sauber-Ferrari    0
11    Manor-Mercedes    0

Next race: Monaco Grand Prix, May 26-29. Monte Carlo.

5 thoughts to “Verstappen becomes youngest F1 winner on Red Bull Racing debut”

  1. Niki Lauda has blamed Lewis Hamilton for the collision with Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg on the opening lap of the Spanish Grand Prix, branding the accident “unacceptable”.

    Rosberg took the lead into Turn 1, passing Hamilton around the outside, but his team-mate got a run on him on the exit of Turn 3.

    When Rosberg moved to the inside to defend, reigning world champion Hamilton ended up on the grass.

    The Briton lost control of the car, spinning and collecting Rosberg, sending both into the gravel at Turn 4.

    “It’s very simple for me,” said Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda.

    “It was a miscalculation in Lewis’s head, I blame him more than Nico.

    “But for the team and for Mercedes it is unacceptable.

    “Lewis was too aggressive to pass him and why should Nico give him room? He was in the lead.

    “It is completely unnecessary and for me the disaster is that all Mercedes are out after two corners.”

    It is the first proper contact between the pair since the 2014 Belgian GP, when the duo were fighting for the lead.

    “There is always pressure and since Spa two years ago thank God nothing happened,” Lauda added.”

    “Why here? This they have to explain to me.”

    It means Rosberg will retain his 43-point lead over team-mate Hamilton the standings and brings to an end his run of seven wins in a row.


  2. Max Verstappen’s record-breaking triumph in Barcelona on Sunday was a ‘dream come true’ for the Dutchman and the entire Red Bull team, according to team principal Christian Horner.

    In his first race with Red Bull, Verstappen took over the lead at the halfway mark and then had to withstand immense pressure from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen throughout the second half of the Grand Prix. He remained unfazed throughout though, eventually holding on to beat Raikkonen by 0.6s – and become the youngest winner in history in the process.

    “An unbelievable achievement,” Horner said after the race. “We’re in shock from our side.

    “We know this year that our races have been reasonably competitive, and the updates we brought have done their job… but to see this kind of result is a dream come true, a dream debut.

    “We took the opportunity with Mercedes not being there, but we had to cover Ferrari today – they probably had the faster car in clean air. So for Max to soak up all that pressure… he didn’t make a single mistake, not just today but all weekend. And at only 18? Unbelievable.”

    Speaking on the podium, where the Dutch national anthem played for a winner for the first time in F1, Verstappen said he too was struggling to take in his accomplishments.

    “It feels amazing. I cannot believe it,” he said. “It was a great race. I have to say thanks to the team for making such a great car.

    “To win straight away in the first race is an amazing feeling.”

    At 18 years and 228 days, Verstappen is two years and 210 days younger than the previous youngest winner, Sebastian Vettel.


  3. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says blame for Lewis Hamilton and Formula 1 team-mate Nico Rosberg’s collision on the first lap of the Spanish Grand Prix is “not clear cut”.

    Hamilton got a run on Rosberg on the exit of Turn 3 after losing the lead at the start but as the German defended, Hamilton ended up on the grass, spinning out of control and collecting the sister car.

    In the wake of the incident, Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda blamed Hamilton and described the accident as “unacceptable”.

    But following a debrief that involved both drivers, Wolff, Lauda and Paddy Lowe, Wolff said “no one is to blame entirely”.

    “We’ve spoken to both drivers – it’s not clear cut,” he said.

    “It’s not 100 per cent pro one and zero for the other which is why I wouldn’t want to attribute any blame.

    “It’s a very difficult situation for the team because we’ve lost 43 points after huge effort in the last couple of weeks.

    “But you know we let the drivers race and sometimes this happens.

    “The stewards are going to make a decision. In our opinion no-one is to blame entirely, let’s see.”

    Wolff spoke to the media after leaving the debrief with both drivers still in the motorhome and he described the atmosphere as “not good”.


  4. Spanish Grand Prix race review as reported by

    Sunday’s Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Pirelli 2016 served up a battle royal between Red Bull and Ferrari, with Max Verstappen becoming the youngest F1 winner in history as he took an amazing victory from Kimi Raikkonen in his very first race with his new team.

    It came after Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton had dramatically collided into retirement on lap 1 in an incident which the stewards are investigating.

    Verstappen, aged just 18, held off relentless pressure from Raikkonen in the closing stages, while behind them Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel did the same from the sister Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, until the Australian’s right-rear tyre deflated just a lap from home.

    Ricciardo took fourth nonetheless, followed by Williams’ Valtteri Bottas, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz and Force India’s Sergio Perez. Williams’ Felipe Massa, McLaren’s Jenson Button and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat completed the top ten.

    As the first Dutch F1 winner, Verstappen did it the hard way – pushed all the way by Iceman Raikkonen from the 44th to the 66th lap. For much of that the gap between them was rarely more than a second, yet on his debut for the Milton Keynes team the teenager reigned supreme with a measured and superbly controlled drive.

    As Vettel’s three-stop strategy backfired and the four-time champion complained whenever early leader and similarly three-stopping Ricciardo had the temerity to challenge him for the final podium place, Verstappen’s performance was a clear signal that the future has arrived.

    Red Bull’s chances improved significantly as Hamilton was slightly slower off the line than Mercedes team mate Rosberg, enabling the German to get a run on him round the outside of the first corner. Hamilton rallied, and going down the short chute to Turn 4 had momentum that encouraged him to go to the right of Rosberg just as the latter was moving in that direction. Hamilton got on to the grass and spun, collecting Rosberg as his out-of-control F1 W07 Hybrid arrived almost simultaneously at Turn 4.

    Mercedes’ Niki Lauda publicly condemned his world champion, but team boss Toto Wolff said it was a hard one to call.

    Without the Mercedes, however, the race came alive.

    Ricciardo had taken the lead from Verstappen during the melee, with Sainz cheekily battling Vettel for fourth as slow-starting Raikkonen recovered in fifth. So right from the start there was one question: Could Red Bull hold off Ferrari?

    It took Vettel until the eighth lap to displace Sainz, and Raikkonen did likewise a lap later when the Toro Rosso pitted. But even after that it became clear that the red cars were not going to walk over the matt blue ones.

    Ricciardo stopped first, on lap 11, Verstappen and Raikkonen a lap later. But though Vettel went to lap 15, he couldn’t prevent the Red Bulls from resuming their positions. It was close, but whenever the following cars got near to those in front, their tyre life was jeopardised.

    Red Bull and Ferrari went for three-stop strategies with Ricciardo and Vettel, two-stops with Verstappen and Raikkonen. And just as Pirelli had predicted, if two-stoppers executed things well, the three-stoppers would struggle to beat them. Ricciardo stopped again on lap 28, Vettel on lap 29. But Verstappen covered Raikkonen and didn’t stop until lap 34, a lap before the Finn. That left Ricciardo leading Vettel, but then Sebastian stopped again on lap 37, and Daniel on lap 43, and that set up the great denouement as for the second time in the race, Verstappen became the first Dutchman ever to lead an F1 race.

    Now the fight really was on, and for lap after lap the youngster held off the veteran, no matter what Raikkonen tried, but there was never a moment when any of the top four could relax, let alone the spectators who were on the edge of their seats. The fact that Verstappen never put a wheel wrong suggests that we may have just watched one of the next greats come of age.

    Vettel and Ricciardo closed in on their fresher rubber, but then dropped back after Ricciardo had pushed ahead in Turn 1 on the 59th lap, only to run wide and have to surrender the position. That cost both of them time.

    Sadly, the Australian’s left-rear tyre gave up with a lap to go, but he was lucky enough to pit for a replacement and retain fourth place, such was his advantage over Bottas’ Williams, which finished comfortably ahead of Sainz, Perez’s Force India and Massa’s Williams, which the Brazilian brought up from the back of the grid.

    Button scored another two points for McLaren on a day when he led team mate Fernando Alonso until the local hero’s engine lost power and forced him to retire, and Daniil Kvyat salvaged something from a tough weekend with the final point for Toro Rosso and the fastest lap.

    Haas looked good for points for a while with Esteban Gutierrez, who had rubbed wheels with team mate Romain Grosjean earlier on before the Frenchman too retired, while Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson led Renault’s Jolyon Palmer home after Kevin Magnussen in the other Renault had dropped back. Sauber’s Felipe Nasr and the two Manor drivers, Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto, completed the finishers as Nico Hulkenberg’s burning Force India had joined the Mercedes, Alonso and Grosjean on the retirements list.

    Rosberg continues to lead the championship with 100 points but his seven-race winning streak is over; Hamilton drops to third on 57 behind Raikkonen on 61, as Vettel and Ricciardo share fourth on 48, ahead of Verstappen on 38 and Massa on 36.

    In the constructors’s stakes, Mercedes still lead with 157, but Ferrari close with 109 to Red Bull’s 94 and Williams’s 65.

  5. Spanish Grand Prix race winner Max Verstappen finds his Formula 1 victory hard to believe. This is his first appearance as a Red Bull driver – thanks to a swap with Daniil Kvyat – and the teenager delivers with his victory. has the story.

    Max Verstappen says he cannot believe he won on his debut for Red Bull Racing in Formula 1 in the Spanish Grand Prix.

    The Dutch teenager capitalised on a two-stop strategy to lead the race, holding off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen over the final stint while three-stoppers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo battled just a few seconds further back.

    “It’s amazing, I couldn’t believe I was leading,” said 18-year-old Verstappen, who is now F1’s youngest race winner.

    “It’s a very big surprise, I didn’t expect that. Unbelievable, I can’t believe it.

    “I was targeting a podium but to win straight away is an amazing feeling.

    “In the last laps I got a bit of cramp – I was getting very excited, I couldn’t believe it.

    “I was looking at the pitboard, saw my name with 10 laps to go, then started to watch the board.

    “I was thinking ‘don’t look at it, focus on the tyres and bring it home’.

    “It’s a great feeling. I absolutely didn’t expect this.”

    Key to Verstappen’s victory was fending off severe pressure from Raikkonen over the closing stages, especially once the 2007 world champion got within DRS range of the Red Bull.

    “This race felt like an endurance race, especially the last 10 laps,” added Verstappen.

    “As soon as we pitted I knew we were going to the end, so the first few laps [of the last stint] I didn’t really push.

    “The last stint I got a lot of pressure from Kimi behind but on this track it’s difficult to overtake.

    “For me, it was a case of not making mistakes and it worked.

    “I knew the Ferraris were a bit faster, I let them catch up, so it was just about keeping the gap.

    “That worked well until eight laps from the end, we were catching traffic and it was about managing the last sector, get a good exit out of the last chicane.

    “I knew it was going to be very hard, but you have to set your mind to try to control the tyres.

    “In the last few laps you’re driving on ice, managing everything. That’s how a lot of races are won in Barcelona.”

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