Max Verstappen celebrates his first F1 victory
Image by Dan Istitene / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
While the race at Barcelona’s Catalunya circuit will rightly be remembered for Verstappen’s debut win, the other major talking point is the opening lap clash between Mercedes team mates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg which left both of them as spectators. Rosberg had a slightly better start from second on the grid than Hamilton and passed the pole-sitter around the outside through turn 1.
Coming out of turn three Hamilton got a run on Rosberg which the German moved to cover. To avoid contact Hamilton moved onto the grass but could not control the resulting slide and spun into the back of Rosberg’s car, putting both of them into the gravel trap on the outside of turn 4 and out of the race.
The safety car was called for to allow the marshals to remove the two stricken cars. Daniel Ricciardo led the field behind the safety car followed by Verstappen, Torro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jnr, who had a great start from eighth on the grid, and the two Ferraris of Vettel and Räikkönen.
Once racing resumed Vettel and Räikkönen got past Sainz and the battle was between the Red Bulls and Ferraris with the rst fighting over the minor places. All four drivers changed to medium compound tyres at their first stops but strategies were split when first Ricciardo and then Vettel changed back to the soft tyres at their second stops.
Verstappen and Räikkönen remained out, pitting on laps 34 and 35 respectively. Both took on new medium compound tyres and aimed to make it to the finish on a two-stop strategy. Ferrari made the somewhat surprising decision to bring Vettel in and change him back to the medium tyres after just eight laps on the softs. Ricciardo followed suit, rejoining the circuit in fourth place, some distance behind Vettel.
Max Verstappen leads Sebastian Vettel during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix
Image by Clive Mason / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
At this stage Verstappen had a one second advantage over Räikkönen and despite constant pressure from the Finn, managed to stay ahead to the flag. Ricciardo slowly closed the gap to Vettel and attempted a pass from a long way back which left Vettel very unhappy. He made another couple of half-hearted attempts but a puncture on the penultimate lap left Vettel to take third.
The leading quartet had opened such a gap at the head of the field that Ricciardo was able to pit for a change of tyres and rejoin still in fourth, just ahead of Valtteri Bottas in his Williams.
|Red Bull Racing
|Red Bull Racing
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