At just 18 years of age, Verstappen took advantage of the two Mercedes crashing out early on by driving a near perfect race, holding off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Verstappen also defeated his team mate on his debut for Red Bull, as Daniel Ricciardo finished 4th.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 15, 2016
In a tactical battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, Verstappen was to come out on top with Ricciardo eventually finishing fourth, despite leading the race for the first 28 laps. Ricciardo was understandably frustrated with the decision by his team to deploy the three stop strategy, as it was proven to be the slower of the two before the race.
Ricciardo was left frustrated following a fourth place finish in Spain, after his team brought him into the pits on lap 38 to use the three stop strategy. Team Principal Christian Horner later told the BBC that the team didn’t know which strategy was most effective in order to slow down the two Ferrari’s.
“We elected to split the strategies because it wasn’t obvious which was going to be the quicker route, the three-stop or the two-stop, and we felt Sebastian in clean air looked to be the fastest car and we were asking: ‘How do we beat Vettel?’ Horner also told the BBC.
Ricciardo said he felt bitter about the decision, but not at his new teammate Verstappen and later said “whatever happens on track, Max crossed the line first”
As for Mercedes, disaster struck on the opening lap in Barcelona as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton both ended up in the gravel, and out of the race.
Following a front row lock out for the Silver Arrows, Hamilton attacked the inside of Rosberg entering turn four, however the German was to force Hamilton off the track and onto the grass.
Hamilton lost control of his car crashing into Rosberg resulting in both drivers being out of the race in an incident which caused plenty of controversy.
The incident was similar to the collision which occurred at Spa 2014, which also caused a rift in the camp with the blame being pointed at both the drivers. Hamilton told the BBC he was “Hurt and disappointed” and said he had apologized to his teammate following the Incident.
Opinions differed as to who should get the blame, with Niki Lauda criticising Hamilton for attacking space that wasn’t really there, to David Croft suggesting these sort of incidents will happen in a sport with a competitive nature.
— Nico Rosberg (@nico_rosberg) May 15, 2016
Fernando Alonso qualified in an impressive 9th position, however could not build on this as he lost power to his car late on, meaning he retired for the second year running and his home Grand Prix. As for fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz, a 6th place finish was a great success for Torro Rosso. New teammate to Sainz, Daniil Kvyat finished just inside the points in 10th.