Verstappen takes maiden win, Mercedes collide

By on Sunday, May 15, 2016
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Max Verstappen became the youngest winner in Formula 1 history after triumphing during a dramatic Spanish Grand Prix after a first lap collision eliminated Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

Verstappen kept Kimi Räikkönen at bay across the final stint of the race to take victory on his Red Bull debut, following a frenetic start in which the Mercedes drivers collided.

Verstappen and Räikkönen made a two-stop strategy work while initial lead Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel stopped three times.

Vettel held third, despite an attempt at an overtake from Ricciardo into Turn 1, who slipped back with a puncture on the penultimate lap.

Rosberg and Hamilton battled along the pit straight and the German driver swept around the outside into Turn 1 to claim the lead.

Hamilton had a run on Rosberg as they rounded Turn 3 and moved to the inside just as Rosberg opted to defend the line.

Hamilton was edged onto the grass and lost control of his car, spinning into the back of Rosberg as the pair approached Turn 4.

Both cars were sent spinning into gravel trap with terminal damage, the first time Mercedes has suffered a double retirement since its dominant period began in 2014.

Mercedes’ intra-team implosion, which is currently under investigation, handed the initiative to Red Bull, allowing Ricciardo and Verstappen to run 1-2.

The order was maintained across the first round of stops as Ricciardo led Verstappen by a second, with the same gap back to Vettel, all on Mediums, who had overhauled fast-starting Carlos Sainz Jr.

Ricciardo and Vettel pitted for a fresh set of Soft tyres on successive laps while Verstappen and Räikkönen stayed out for a further six laps before changing to another set of the Mediums.

Vettel began closing the gap to Ricciardo and moved to within a second when he stopped for a set of Mediums on lap 38.

Ricciardo stayed out until lap 43 until he stopped for Mediums, leaving Verstappen heading Räikkönen by 1.2s, Vettel in third, six seconds back, with the Australian in fourth, seven seconds behind the Ferrari.

Räikkönen cruised up behind Verstappen and remained glued to the back of the Red Bull driver for several laps, but was repeatedly unable to gain superior traction exiting the chicane, compromising his entry onto the main straight.

Verstappen soaked up the pressure from Räikkönen to cross the line 0.6s clear and become the first Dutch victor in the history of the sport, ending Red Bull's win drought in the process.

Vettel held third while Ricciardo was fourth despite suffering a puncture on the penultimate lap, such was his gap back to fifth-placed Valtteri Bottas.

Carlos Sainz Jr. was a fine sixth for Toro Rosso, ahead of Sergio Pérez, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button, while Daniil Kvyat collected the final point.

Esteban Gutierrez narrowly missed the top 10 for Haas, ahead of Marcus Ericsson, Renault duo Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen, Felipe Nasr and Manor pair Pascal Wehrlein and Rio Haryanto.

Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg both suffered engine problems and retired while Romain Grosjean had a trip through the gravel before pulling into the garage.

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