Race Report: Spanish GP- Verstappen makes it ‘youngest ever’

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With all of the action over the Spanish Grand Prix, you may have missed this small tidbit of information—Max Verstappen is the youngest-ever Formula 1 race winner at just 18-years-old! Probably didn’t hear that from anyone did you?

The Plucky Teen Max Verstappen said the champagne tasted good (is his old enough to drink alcohol?) and he wasn’t expecting to win but then I’m not sure his teammate Daniel Ricciardo was expecting Max to win either. Ricciardo was rather blunt in post-race interviews saying he wasn’t sure why the team had chosen to move him to a three-stop strategy as Vettel had already jumped them in the pit stop and he was leading the race early on. I think I have a good idea of why they chose that strategy Daniel and you won’t like the answer.

The Plucky Teen was marked all day by the 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen in his Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari had marked Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull for much of the race. Ferrari read the strategy moves by Red Bull and efficiently covered both drivers perhaps thinking that Ricciardo was the focus for Red Bull Racing so they had Vettel on his tail. As it turns out, Max was their focus and Kimi was on his tail.

The race was a clear battle between Ferrari and Red Bull with the latter coming out on top and this was due to the first lap incident between Mercedes teammates Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. While at the time of writing this race report, team boss Toto Wolff says it is too early to apportion blame in the incident, non-executive chairman Niki Lauda clearly felt it was Hamilton’s fault as Nico has no reason not to the shut the door and Lewis was too aggressive. Toto has learned his Spa 2014 lesson and playing it cool will go a long way to keeping the #TeamLH mobocracy at bay.

WinWin

A huge win for Max Verstappen and Red Bull who not only faced stiff questioning over their demotion/promotion move this week of Kvyat and Verstappen but also will face some questions as to how they managed to orchestrate a Verstappen win at the expense of Daniel Ricciardo’s race lead and possible win. There is no reason not to be elated for what Verstappen has achieved for sure but it does make you feel a bit sorry for Daniel as he was in the groove, five by five and looking great for a race win.

Max’s career has been certainly helped and promoted but none of that is possible if he didn’t possess the talent and natural-born ability he clearly has. He deserves every accolade he’s gotten this weekend and given the car, he’ll deliver. He drove and incredibly mature race and perhaps one of the most frequent comments about this young man is his maturity which seems beyond his years. This was the first race in a brand new car in high-pressure situations and he managed it better than many of the champions did when they were new to F1.

A win for Williams who found Valtteri Bottas driving a lonely but effective race to 5th place with his teammate, who created a little controversy inside the team on Saturday’s qualifying, managed a recovery drive from 18th to 8th putting Felipe Massa in the points.

Kimi Raikkonen marked Max Verstappen for most of the day and while he couldn’t get around the young Dutchman, such is aerodynamic life in F1 and Ferrari’s awkward lack of performance in Spain, he did manage to get 2nd and a good podium finish and didn’t fail to mention with a smile that he had raced against Max’s dad in F1.

A win also for Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz who was running third early on and managed to finish 6th just behind Bottas. His recently demoted teammate, Daniil Kvyat, managed to pip Haas F1’s Esteban Gutierrez for the final points position in 10th and was actually driving extremely well toward the end of the race.

A win for Marcus Ericsson and Jolyon Palmer who bested their teammates in some decent intra-team duels to finish 12th and 13th respectively. Jenson Button also gets a win for bringing the McLaren home in the points but a far cry from where they really want to be.

FailFail

Mercedes clearly had a major fail this weekend and taking both cars out denies the team a result that respects all of their hard work and effort over the weekend, as Toto says, but that’s true of any F1 weekend where a car(s) crash out or experience a DNF. Lewis could argue the same over the prior two race weekends if I’m honest. It’s a little heavy handed to add gravity to how the drivers let the team down and how that’s an unconscionable sin while leaving a driver stranded for two races in a row due to mechanical issues. It’s all part of the game and it happens either in the garage or on track, that’s the risks involved in F1.

From my perspective, it seems clear that Nico’s car was harvesting mid-corner and he made the adjustment and pressed the overtake button to defend as he saw Lewis, who was aware of what was happening via Nico’s flashing rear light, and moved over to block the pass attempt.

The race stewards deemed it a racing incident with no penalties and the team say they will continue to let the two drivers race against each other as the hard lesson was learned. It was indeed. Regardless of blame, Nico is leading a championship and I said last year that he has to stop letting Lewis shove his way around him like he did in last year’s USGP. Nico was aggressive on the block and Lewis was aggressive on the pass attempt in a gap that was probably too late to take knowing the car ahead of close the door. Nico’s engine setting was wrong and Lewis knew that and tried to capitalize on it and Nico wasn’t going to let that happen.

Ferrari was being marked by Red Bull and as it turns out the two teams covered each other and it was Max Verstappen’s race strategy of two stops that was the better solution even though it seems that Ferrari thought Kimi and Max’s tires would drop off and they didn’t. This is a race that Ferrari should have won and once again, the team’s strategy was slightly askew.

A fail for Haas F1 who couldn’t come to grips, no pun intended, with the tires this weekend as Romain Grosjean sunk backwards and eventually retired with brake issues and Esteban Gutierrez attempted to bring home points only to be pipped by Kvyat. The team felt they had the strategies right but just couldn’t get on top of the car’s setup and tire heat issues. The result drops the team to 6th in the championship. Gutierrez did have his best race of the year.

WTHWTH

Ferrari sticking with Medium compounds when the soft was a much better performing tire for them…Huh?

McLaren’s recurring mechanical issue and I’m unclear as to what it was as the team seem relatively mum but it could have been #justthewind given the location of his retirement.

Unfortunately, Toro Rosso thought the three-stopper would be best for Daniil Kvyat which scuttled his race and that’s got to sting given Verstappen’s result in Daniil’s old car.

Another Hulkenberg DNF with a flaming engine due to oil leaks and potentially the same issue as Perez had but the team are investigating. What does Hulk have to do to buy some decent luck this year?

 

PosDriverCarGap
1Max VerstappenRed Bull/Renault1h41m40.017s
2Kimi RaikkonenFerrari0.616s
3Sebastian VettelFerrari5.581s
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull/Renault43.950s
5Valtteri BottasWilliams/Mercedes45.271s
6Carlos SainzToro Rosso/Ferrari1m01.395s
7Sergio PerezForce India/Mercedes1m19.538s
8Felipe MassaWilliams/Mercedes1m20.707s
9Jenson ButtonMcLaren/Honda1 Lap
10Daniil KvyatToro Rosso/Ferrari1 Lap
11Esteban GutierrezHaas/Ferrari1 Lap
12Marcus EricssonSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
13Jolyon PalmerRenault1 Lap
14Kevin MagnussenRenault1 Lap
15Felipe NasrSauber/Ferrari1 Lap
16Pascal WehrleinManor/Mercedes1 Lap
17Rio HaryantoManor/Mercedes1 Lap
Romain GrosjeanHaas/FerrariRetirement
Fernando AlonsoMcLaren/HondaRetirement
Nico HulkenbergForce India/MercedesRetirement
Lewis HamiltonMercedesCollision
Nico RosbergMercedesCollision

DRIVERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

PosDriverPoints
1Nico Rosberg100
2Kimi Raikkonen61
3Lewis Hamilton57
4Sebastian Vettel48
5Daniel Ricciardo48
6Max Verstappen38
7Felipe Massa36
8Valtteri Bottas29
9Daniil Kvyat22
10Romain Grosjean22
11Carlos Sainz12
12Fernando Alonso8
13Sergio Perez8
14Kevin Magnussen6
15Nico Hulkenberg6
16Jenson Button3
17Stoffel Vandoorne1
18Jolyon Palmer0
19Esteban Gutierrez0
20Marcus Ericsson0
21Pascal Wehrlein0
22Felipe Nasr0
23Rio Haryanto0

CONSTRUCTORS’ CHAMPIONSHIP

PosConstructorPoints
1Mercedes157
2Ferrari109
3Red Bull/Renault94
4Williams/Mercedes65
5Toro Rosso/Ferrari26
6Haas/Ferrari22
7Force India/Mercedes14
8McLaren/Honda12
9Renault6
10Sauber/Ferrari0
11Manor/Mercedes0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.

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Andrea_Rae
Guest

Obviously the stars aligned which allowed Max to run a technically sound race to pull off a historic win, good on you mate! Looking forward to a future with Max making a mess of the big dogs plans :D

longshot
Guest
longshot

I don’t agree with your WTH about Ferrari sticking with Mediums instead of Softs. Not only did they have no fresh sets of Softs to use, it was obvious as the race progressed that Mediums were the better tyre. Indeed, that’s how Vettel jumped Ric, by pitting earlier for Meds while RBR persisted way too long with Ric on Softs, lapping 2 seconds slower than everyone else & struggling to overlap Palmer (who was on Hards). Speaking of Ric, I think his moment in the sun at Red Bull has been and gone. If he ever wants to win a… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I agree that, in my opinion, strategy was not Ferrari’s problem rather they lost the race Thursday and Friday. Watching the driver view, that car was just not handling well enough to win and the drivers and team did a good job to get what they did out of it. I think they could not get the front end to work and sector three of that track absolutely demands it, so they turned the balance forward and got it turning at the cost of rear end stability. They were correcting oversteer during every acceleration. They never got that car working… Read more »

The Captain
Guest
The Captain

So a very rare occasion happened and I got to watch the race with an old friend that never watched F1. As in I had to show him what to look for to tell the difference between the cars he’s that new. Here was some his observations. “Everything seems to happen during the commercials” “The announcers really want that Max verzapean guy to win don’t they” (not even halfway through the race) “That guy married a Spice Girl!” He also laughed hardly when I told him the tale of the 2007 Singapore GP, and the story of the ‘Bandit VJ… Read more »

ScottyNZ
Member
ScottyNZ

Hmmm and did you get sick of Vettel? Guess what I think you are goinmg to get really sick of Max if he gets the right car. He deserved all the bias in the world….

B52RockLobster
Guest
B52RockLobster

Ferrari gave the race away and Verstappen was the beneficiary. If Ferrari had kept Seb on a two stop strategy (like it appeared they were doing when they left him out after RBR pitted in the first rotations) then they would have easily won the race. Instead Verstappen went on the ideal strategy (which I doubt even RBR knew was ideal at the time) and he pulled the win out. Good for him, shame on Ferrari.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Seb went 3 stop to cover Dan, pitting a lap after Dan did for softs which is where both of them lost their shot at victory.

Its easy to say Seb would have won easily if he’d stayed on a 2 stop, but if Dan had done the same I don’t see Seb getting past him – no more than Kimi was able to get past Max.

ScottyNZ
Member
ScottyNZ

yep but he sucked up the pressure and earned the win

Al Verstapen
Guest
Al Verstapen

Did any1 else C the fans waving black flags B4 the race?

MIE
Editor
adaptable1
Guest
adaptable1

Aerodynamics won this race. It basically kept Kimi and Riccardo from overtaking.

Bacon Wrapped Sushi
Guest
Bacon Wrapped Sushi

Good summary. The NBCSN coverage was pretty abysmal. The waxing poetic about Verstappen, the commercial breaks…oh my God can the director actually watch a race and understand to go to break AFTER the pass? Then let’s talk about the dumb cutaway at the return from break. Just stop it. Ugh. Sorry, just really frustrated. It looks like there is no end in sight for this either.

Marcio Ribeiro
Guest
Marcio Ribeiro

Watch Sky on your computer. I go up the wall every time with NBC coverage which is even worst then Speed TV in terms of number of commercials during race action. So now I have NBC on the big screen and Sky on the monitor and listen to comments on both.

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

It was awful you’re right. Watching two cars stalk for three laps, cutting to a lawn mower commercial and some pictures of a castle during the pass then never showing a replay.

jiji the cat
Member
jiji the cat

Gees, how much did RBR screw badger boy. Is this the start of the Vettel Webber war all over again? Did Lord Helmet have a hand in this?

Anyway thumbs up to the plucky teen. He drove well. I also thought Sainz did a mighty fine job.

mini696
Member

Isn’t it interesting that through the elimination of the two Mercs, the race was perceived as even more interesting than it ever could have been.

Even though the same racing would have happened behind the two leaders.

Even though the utter domination of the silver cars would have made little difference to the racing behind them.

It goes to show how much we love to see a good race.

But not a good race between 3rd and 4th, or 15th and 16th.

It seems if it isn’t a battle between 1st through 4th, it isn’t a good race.

Even I got caught up in the hype.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Absolutely – to improve F1, simply remove the Mercs :)

ScottyNZ
Member
ScottyNZ

Sorry disagree I have no problem with the mercs domination it’s up to the other teams to catch up…. that’s F1

Kenitay
Guest
Kenitay

Cool. Then let’s have the Mercs dominate for another 5 years. Still got no problem?

longshot
Guest
longshot

I wasn’t serious – hopefully the 2017 regs will shake the field up though & we’ll see more good races for the podium.

mini696
Member

I am really disappointed to see the favoritism shown towards Max.

I understand why they did.

But I am disappointed to see it.

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I think it’s odd everyone’s on Red Bull for splitting strategies when everyone was on them last week for not splitting strategies. Just shows how hard it is to be an annoying team with a red-head boss I guess. I think they may have wanted to favor Max but mostly I think they wanted to avoid the Mercedes situation and get their drivers away from each other, Red Bull now has a match made in hell for drivers and they’ve seen it before and they’ve used pit stops to create a ‘DMZ’ amongst their drivers before. As I predicted last… Read more »

longshot
Guest
longshot

So being dudded by a poor strategy call = being shown up by another driver?

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I’m just not sure that’s what happened. I’m not so sure Max driving on those older tires was actually something Ricciardo could have done. Max finished in front of a Ferrari, Ricciardo finished behind two of them. For Verstappen (not my favorite guy I want to stress) to jump in that car and qualify where he did and race the way he did – I think he showed Ricciardo up all over the place, strategy notwithstanding.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Well that’s your opinion and you’re obviously entitled to it. But lets ask why Dan fell behind 2 Ferraris? Because he was 3 stopped with the 3rd stint being a long run on degraded soft tyres. He wasn’t passed on the track, he was put behind Kimi and Max with the extra stop and behind Seb through being undercut – all strategy decisions made by his team. He was finally released with fresh mediums behind 3 drivers, 14 seconds off the lead and 6 seconds behind Seb, having to waste a lot of grip chasing him down before he could… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

It’s something we’ll never know for sure, I’ll grant you that. I watched what happened at the USGP when it rained away the power advantage of the other cars and Ricciardo stormed to the front like a top LeMans car through the club teams – he’s special. I’m not arguing that. I just think seeing a guy do what Max did in his first time in the car, it might have been Xtra Special.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Ok fair enough. Personally I didn’t see enough to label his drive as “Xtra Special”, though obviously I’ll be watching him closely over the coming races. Yes he preserved his tyres well, but so did Kimi who also had to drive close behind Max for 30-odd laps while Max was in clean air. And its not as if Kimi was putting any real pressure on – he was just hovering threateningly waiting for a mistake. He rarely ever forced Max to take a defensive line, unlike Seb who was frequently having to defend against Dan. Is driving 32 laps on… Read more »

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

Actually, Ricciardo was very gracious about Max’s victory. He was only puzzled about his own strategy call.

Also keep in mind that the 3-stop was technically the fastest way to finish and should have worked from the lead. I think they just called him in too late… 3 laps in the 1:30s killed his race…

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB
Chuck C
Guest
Chuck C

I find it altogether fitting that the tire strategy for Renault was S-M-H….

ScottyNZ
Member
ScottyNZ

Great for Max…. really good to see a good news story in F1. In reply to mini696 there was a reason that favouritism was shown to Max. He is good really good and unfortunately while Kvyat is good he’s not that good. Unfortunately he got the rough end of the stick. But I am fairly sure that he would not have done the job that Max managed on Sunday. Boy talk about making the most of the opportunities offered to you …… That man deserves a beer. Don’t worry those of you in America most European countries have a drinking… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

It really was fabulous. He hasn’t been my favorite personality wise but full full credit, imagine jumping in that thing and getting that out of it on drive one? Let’s see adjust mirrors, slide the seat back one click, okay I can win.

Truly special and an awesome job.

Andreas Möller
Guest
Andreas Möller

Great race, no doubt made more interesting by losing both Mercs on the first lap. I wonder if Bernie had that in mind when he said “I’d like to stop Mercedes dominating so much” to Martin Brundle during the gridwalk? :-) I’ve commented on the Mercedes crash itself in the other thread, but in short: at first, I felt Nico was a little more to blame than Lewis, but in the end I agree with the stewards. Pass of the race: I liked Gutierrez’ move round the outside of Nasr, on lap 33. Also the scrap between Ricciardo and Vettel… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

Great job McLaren finally having a car that’s sort of borderline crappy for Alonso to make at least SOMETHING out of at his home GP, then easing to the grass in a whimper. The only thing reliable about this team the last five years is disappointment. How long before Alonso stops trying? He’s a better man than I am for getting this far.

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

“Nico is leading a championship and I said last year that he has to stop
letting Lewis shove his way around him like he did in last year’s USGP”

Well said. Let’s give him credit for doing what everyone said he was failing to do before.

MIE
Editor

Does anyone else find it odd that it is the supposedly underperforming Raikkonen in the underperforming Ferrari that is in second place in the drivers championship? For a man who some commentators would have lose his seat at the end of the year because he is no match for Vettel, it seems as if it isn’t just certain Mercedes fans that are biased towards one driver. I also don’t follow Christian Horner’s comments on Ricciardo’s three stop strategy, he said they were marking Vettel, yet it was the Red Bull who switched to a three stop first, by bringing Daniel… Read more »

228929292AABBB
Guest
228929292AABBB

I am surprised by KR I’ll admit it, I had basically written him off. I suppose one thing people find maddening about him is that he still IS so capable, and yet he doesn’t always seem to feel like doing it, at least that’s the impression people get.

It’s almost as much that his teammate is slumping, no? Listening to Vettel on the radio, he seems a tad unraveled by the frustrations lately.

longshot
Guest
longshot

You’ve got to remember that Vettel has DNFed in 2 races (through engine failure and a torpedo) to Kimi’s one (turbo fire), which more than explains the difference in their points, and the last race was decided on strategy rather than their driving merits. And yes, Horner’s defense of Ricciardo’s strategy was rather contradictory. On the one hand he says its very hard to overtake on that circuit, and then goes on to say how it was their best option putting their race leader on a strat that’d ensure he had to overtake 3 cars to win. Makes no sense… Read more »

meine
Member
meine

Has somebody already said Ferrari had no new softs left?

See http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/reports/f1/2016-spanish-grand-prix-report for an excellent report.

longshot
Guest
longshot

Todd, one last thing that’s developed since the race which I think is worth noting – Max’s version of events as stated by him to the Dutch press after the race, and which he repeated & expanded upon a day or two later on Dutch TV. According to him, he complained that Dan was slow and holding him up in the 2nd stint, upon which Dan was (according to Max) asked to speed up and unable to do so. Then Max was offered the choice of going to a 3 stop, he said he preferred the 2, so Dan was… Read more »