Max Verstappen becomes youngest F1 race winner on Red Bull debut

2016 Spanish Grand Prix summary

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Max Verstappen grabbed a place in the record books by becoming the youngest driver ever to win an F1 race on his debut as a Red Bull driver in the Spanish Grand Prix.

A first-lap collision between the two Mercedes drivers paved the way for Verstappen to take his shock victory.

Nico Rosberg took the lead from Lewis Hamilton at the start, but the pair collided at turn four when Hamilton tried to reclaim the position. The incident is under investigation by the stewards.

Verstappen pitted twice on his way to victory, as did Kimi Raikkonen who followed him home. Staying out of the pits promoted them ahead of early leader Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel. Ricciardo came home fourth after a late puncture.

Carlos Sainz Jnr ran third ahead of the Ferraris early on but was passed by both. He took sixth place in his home race behind the Williams of Valtteri Bottas. Fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso retired after losing power in his McLaren.

The remaining points finishers were led by seventh-placed Sergio Perez, whose team mate Nico Hulkenberg retired with a fire on his car. Felipe Massa recovered to eighth after being knocked out in Q1.

Jenson Button earned more points for McLaren in ninth while Daniil Kvyat secured the final point on his first weekend back at Toro Rosso.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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36 comments on “Max Verstappen becomes youngest F1 race winner on Red Bull debut”

  1. An incredible race! Congratulations Max!

  2. David (@ringridder)
    15th May 2016, 15:31

    Yeah! Max!! What intense and great race. The first races of the season have been brilliant. F1 does not need further fixing.

  3. Congrats to Max. Still the race could have been way more exciting if Ferrari and Red Bull didn’t ruin Vettel and Ricciardo’s race. Absence of Mercedes duo must be help though :p

    1. Agreed. I hope the red bull strategy guys are apologising to ricciardo. What were they thinking on this circuit.

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        15th May 2016, 23:27

        Why? The strategy worked perfectly (except for reacting to Vettel’s 3rd stop).
        They pitted the car with the highest tyre wear (smart thinking);
        They tricked Ferrari into doing the same with their best driver (but maybe VET also suffered more tyre wear than his team mate)
        They split strategies between the 2 cars, and got the win (very smart).

        Not sure what else they could have done (except for pitting RIC faster after VET’s 3rd stop)

    2. You nailed it. Should have swapped strategies. Regardless, finally a decent race without the Mercs in the mix.
      I hope Alonso is enjoying his pie

  4. Congrats Max… You’ve managed to prove the doubters that you do have talent to deserve that seat…

    Not only did he manage to,hold off Raikkonen, but, also managed his tyres supremely well to hold out for the win…

  5. Solid drive by Max.

    I am still a bit miffed as to why Red Bull ruined Ricciardo’s race. They basically gifted the win to Max.

    I do not understand why, in a race under normal conditions, on a track on which they have so much data, they suddenly put Ricciardo on a much risker stratergy. There was no reason for it.

    I immediatly seemed a bit odd to me, and even more so after the fact.

    Vettel made the error of just mirroring Ricciardo.

    So, somthing smells a bit fishy from redbull to me. They have the headlines and they have been vindicated in swapping drivers. It the timing of the driver swap was not so recent I don’t think it would have been as apparent, but it all just strikes me as odd.

    Having said that, Max delt with the situation really well (whatever the reason for him getting into first place) and did not suffer from any pressure mistakes. So I cannot fault him in that regards.

    The events surrouding it however make it seem more of a gifted win.

    1. You sound like a Hamilton fan.

      1. Nope – i am not a fanboy of any particular driver. i just like the racing.

        I am just questioning an odd stratergy decision by a team. It was Ricciardo’s win if thay had stuck to the planned stratergy. Instead they put him on the more risky one.

        As I said, taking nothing away for Max’s drive.

    2. @mach1 I think you read too much into it. There’s no way Red Bull ‘planning’ Verstappen win with a strategy that entirely hinged on Vettel doing early stop as he did. Max did have the luck of things going on his way, but nobody planned for it. Also, Ferrari have a lot more to stake on winning the race after Arrivabene statement and I doubt they willing to give it to Max so a new record could happened.

      1. Maybe I am…..

        I just seemed odd to me when the stop happened.

        I just thought it was a shame that Ricciardos race was handicapped by poor stratergy.

    3. Actually, I believe it was Verstappen who had the risky strategy having to do more than half race distance on mediums.

      I was concerned that Raikkonen would undercut Verstappen and Verstappen would’ve ended 4th with a third pitstop.

      Verstappen and Red Bull gambled and it paid off. But it could have just as easily backfired. A puncture with 1 lap to go for example.

      1. I guess, I would have thought that the teams have so much data on this track, they would have much more knowledge of tyre wear etc.

        Swings and roundabouts i guess.

        Maybe I am just getting hung up on a “too good to be true” finish.

    4. They didn’t ruin Ricciardos race, the puncture was evidence enough. Ricciardo couldn’t live with Max at the end of the stint as Max is the master of tyre management. He proved that today by going toe to toe with the master of tyre conservation, Kimi Raikkone
      It is no coincidence that the two best drivers when it comes to tyre conservation are Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. In my view those two guys are the most naturally talented guys to come into F1 for the last 25 years, they can drive anything fast.

      I rarery use the phrase “I told you so”, but this time I’ll use it. I’ve been saying since the announcement of Max in 2013 he’s the best I’ve ever seen coming through the ranks. I am a great fan of Alonso, Hamilton an Vettel. But what Max Verstappen is conserned he’s of another calibre. In my view he’s up there with Fangio, Senna and Schumacher. He’s a legend in the making, possibly the greatest ever in F1. I think he will better Schumachers records, never seen a greater talent in F1…

      I have followed F1 and MotoGp for 35 years and have been able to pick the best prospects before they entered the top level. Verstappen was the easiest to pick, he’s just exceptional. He will end Ricciardos hope of a WDC, but that’s not because Ricciardo is not a great driver. Ricciardo is superb but is just unlucky enough to come up against one of the greatest talents ever to enter F1. As I’ve written before on this site, If Verstappen had joined either Ferrari or Mercedes he would have retired Vettel and Hamilton too. Too much talent, too much guts and too much grit.

      I think we’re at the start of a new era in F1, and I like it.

      1. Team changed his strategy in the midrace to move him out of Vertappen way.

    5. Rob (@potsie9000)
      15th May 2016, 16:35

      It was Palmer ignoring blue flags that ruined Ricciardo’s race IMO.

    6. how so? RIC had the more stable strategy, Max had to complete +30 laps on medium tires, Ric ruined his 20 lap old tires, Max drove a great race end of story

    7. Let me make a prediction:
      “Max is setting a new standard for tire strategy”.

      All the other drivers will have to adjust to the fact that Max can manage his tire far better then them.
      So Max can use different tire strategy because he lasts far longer with one set of tires.
      You already could see that in Sotchi and China.

      Check the race stats that F1Fanatic gives us after every race.

      Jan Lammers said: “Max doesn’t have to adjust to F1, F1 has to adjust to Max”.

    8. “Ricciardo on a much risker stratergy.”

      Had a good laugh on this one :)

      Explain to me how a 3-stop strategy (which every commentator agreed was the faster of the two), was somehow riskier than a 2-stop on a track with high degradation, given you have to take the risk of potential safety car into account.

  6. Ricciardo (and Vettel) were on the optimal strategy, it just didn’t work out that way. Bit miffed that the incredible race of the top two is being downplayed, despite the other two getting the optimal choice and strategy.

  7. Honestly can’t believe it. Verstappen’s race was just so perfect it almost felt scripted. Mercedes taking themselves out, Ricciardo and Vettel picking the wrong strategy. But to his credit, Verstappen drove an amazing race. Seeing how cool and composed he was during and after the race is very ominous.

    This will have HUUUUUGGGGEEEE consequences for motorsports in the Netherlands. For a start, in two weeks’ time Verstappen will be giving a demo at Zandvoort and the event is promoted by the Holland’s largest supermarket – Zandvoort will be absolutely packed. Tickets for Spa will be sold out. The TV rights currently lie with Sport 1 (pay TV), but I can imagine how it will become free-to-air in 2017. More kids could take up karting, Zandvoort may get that long-overdue revamp. Maybe the plans for a grade-1 circuit in Flevoland will be taken out of the freezer again, who knows?

    I’m so excited to see where this will go!

    1. @andae23

      Zandvoort may get that long-overdue revamp.

      Not sure that’d be a good thing for Zandvoort.

      Having some rich guy build an Island off Dutch shores (or choose on in the West Indies?) and somehow put a non-Tilke track on it would be better. If only we could have that.

      1. @davidnotcoulthard I was kinda thinking about fixing the off-track stuff, such as facilities, spectator areas.. maybe one day even fixing the major traffic issues. But I agree that the track should be left alone (the Tarzan corner with asphalt run-off gives me nightmares…)

        Would indeed be better to abandon Zandvoort altogether and build something new if we want a Dutch GP in the future.

        1. Just forget about a Dutch GP. No way the Dutch government is going to fill CVC s coffers. Even a Verstappen WDC title won’t change that.

  8. Unbelievable. Dutch national anthem in F1!

  9. AntoineDeParis (@antoine-de-paris)
    15th May 2016, 16:15

    well done, man.

  10. I thought Red Bull had been completely vindicated over the Kvyat-Verstappen swap in qualifying. This though was exceptional. Congratulations, brilliant to see happen.

    1. Can we now worry for Riciardo seat?

  11. Riccardo`s win would be just another “Riccardo`s win”, while Verstappen`s win is a major worldwide news, so that`s why RB axed Ric just like Webber before him…

    1. Of course. And they somehow convinced Ferrari to axe Vettel’s race too, to make sure Max could win.

  12. Max has got my respect..

  13. It is easy to see after the race that Vettel and Riciardo messed up on strategy. This could just have be easy Vet, Ric, Ver, Rai… But it wasnt, so mssive congratulatios to Red Bull and Max.

    Ferrari stumble again. Atleast Kimi is back to his fast self. He was all over Max. But such should be racing, he earned for over 20 laps to be infront.

    Lots of luck Mercedes crashed out aswell. Bernie said on grid walk, that he would put some bombs on Mercedes to improve the show… Well done, Lewis big bonus will arrive via mail no doubt.

  14. For the record: He broke 2.
    Vettel won his race at 21 years and 74 days. That is Formula 1.

    The record he broke for winning a major race was Graham Rahal when he won the St. Petersburg GP Indy Car event in 2008. Graham did it at 19 years and 36 days.

    This record will never be surpassed. It will be there to stay.

    1. Unless racing talent will be trained like Max

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