At 18 years and 227 days, Max Verstappen became the youngest ever Formula 1 winner in history, breaking the record set by Sebastian Vettel in 2008 by three years with an outstanding drive at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Verstappen stretched the life of his medium compound tyre to 32 laps as he held off Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen who was on the same strategy. His teammate Sebastian Vettel held off a pressing Daniel Ricciardo in the late stages of the race to finish third.


Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton again endured a slow getaway once the race began and was forced to defend his position against teammate Nico Rosberg, who passed Hamilton on the outside of the Turn 1.

Along the run towards Turn 4, Hamilton had the better exit and was gaining on Rosberg when he leapt to the inside; Rosberg defended his position which caused Hamilton to run off the circuit and onto the grass.

The World Champion lost control and ran into his teammate, which left both of them spinning off into the gravel to prematurely end their races.

The crash brought out the Safety Car for three laps as the cars were recovered from the gravel, when racing resumed on Lap 4, Ricciardo led from Verstappen and Carlos Sainz while Vettel and Räikkönen were behind the Toro Rosso in fourth and fifth place respectively.

Sainz didn’t have the pace as the Ferraris did and was holding Vettel and Raikkonen behind as both Red Bulls were creating a gap. Vettel passed Sainz on Lap 8 and set after Verstappen, although he was over four seconds behind.

Ricciardo pitted from the lead on Lap 12 and re-joined the race in sixth, while Verstappen pitted a lap later and put on a set of hard tyres. Ricciardo only ran his set of medium compound tyres for 17 laps before pitting again to switch to the softs.

Vettel reacted two laps later and also switched to softs, as Verstappen and Räikkönen stayed out until lap 35 and 36 respectively to pit, both choosing to stay on the medium tyre and run a two-stop strategy compared with their three-stopping teammates.

On the soft tyre, it was Ricciardo and Vettel trading fastest laps of the race before Vettel made the call to pit early and attempt to undercut Ricciardo.

Ricciardo stayed out but lost time to his tyres degrading. The Australian headed for the pits on Lap 44 and re-joined behind Vettel.

A lap later Fernando Alonso joined the Mercedes pair and Nico Hülkenberg – whose engine caught fire – in retirement when his McLaren-Honda lost power.

Both Williams cars ended the race in the points as Valtteri Bottas finished in fifth ahead of Sainz, while Felipe Massa came from eighteenth to eighth behind Sergio Pérez.

Jenson Button wasn’t able to pass Massa and had to settle for ninth, while Daniil Kvyat rounded out the top ten ahead of an impressive Esteban Gutiérrez.

Driver Team / Entry Laps Result
1. Max Verstappen nl Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB12 66 1:41:40.017
2. Kimi Räikkönen fi Scuderia Ferrari SF-16 66 + 0.616
3. Sebastian Vettel de Scuderia Ferrari SF-16 66 + 5.581
4. Daniel Ricciardo au Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB12 66 + 43.950
5. Valtteri Bottas fi Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 66 + 45.271
6. Carlos Sainz Jr. es Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 66 + 1:01.395
7. Sergio Pérez mx Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 66 + 1:19.538
8. Felipe Massa br Williams Martini Racing Mercedes FW38 66 + 1:20.707
9. Jenson Button uk McLaren Honda MP4-31 65 1 lap behind
10. Daniil Kvyat ru Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR11 65 1 lap behind
11. Esteban Gutiérrez mx Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-16 65 1 lap behind
12. Marcus Ericsson se Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 65 1 lap behind
13. Jolyon Palmer uk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 65 1 lap behind
14. Felipe Nasr br Sauber F1 Team Ferrari C35 65 1 lap behind
15. Kevin Magnussen^ dk Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 65 1 lap behind
16. Pascal Wehrlein de Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 65 1 lap behind
17. Rio Haryanto id Manor Racing Mercedes MRT5 65 1 lap behind
Not Classified Team / Entry Laps Result
DNF. Romain Grosjean fr Haas F1 Team Ferrari VF-16 56 Brakes
DNF. Fernando Alonso es McLaren Honda MP4-31 45 Power Loss
DNF. Nico Hülkenberg de Sahara Force India Mercedes VJM09 20 Fire
DNF. Lewis Hamilton uk Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W07 Hybrid 0 Collision
DNF. Nico Rosberg de Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W07 Hybrid 0 Collision

^ Post-Race Penalties:

    • Kevin Magnussen (originally classified in 14th) was awarded a 10-second stop/go penalty – added to his final finishing time – for colliding with Jolyon Palmer.

Images via Red Bull Content Pool

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Josh Kruse

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