18-year old Max Verstappen has become the youngest driver ever to win a Formula One race, scoring victory by six tenths of a second at the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
The son of ex-F1 driver Jos Verstappen didn't put a wheel wrong all weekend to take his first win, and on his debut for Red Bull Racing following his promotion from feeder team Toro Rosso last Thursday. On moving from Scuderia Toro Rosso to Red Bull, Verstappen admitted to being 'very happy and a bit shocked' as he’d never driven the RB12 car before this weekend.
Verstappen kept Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen at bay for almost a third of the race to score the famous win after the two Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton crashed out of the race on the opening lap. Verstappen, who replaced Daniil Kvyat after the Russian Grand Prix, went on to produce the record breaking victory aged 18 years and 228 days, beating Sebastian Vettel’s previous record - winning at age 21 and 73 days in Monza, 2008 - by two and a half years.
"It feels amazing I can’t believe it, it was a great race" Verstappen said after, "To win straight away in the first race it was amazing." After team mate Daniel Ricciardo pitted to hand him the lead, Verstappen never looked back and finished ahead of Raikkonen, with the second Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in third on the podium. Ricciardo, who suffered a puncture on the last lap, finished fourth place with Valtteri Bottas in fifth for Williams.
Lewis Hamilton said after the race: “I had a decent start from pole but got slipstreamed on the way to the first corner and lost the lead. Coming out of turn three, I was catching Nico really quickly and went for the gap on the right – I had part of my car alongside but then had to take to the grass. The gap was there and, if you’re a racing driver, you go for that gap. We saw what happened after that. I’m hurt and disappointed for the team most of all because we lost 43 points today. We’re all here working together towards the same result and the team give me the opportunity to race with the work they do.”
Rosberg added: “I had a great start and I was ecstatic after passing Lewis around the outside of turn one. At that point, it was my race to win. I came out of turn three and realised I was down on power with the wrong mode selected due to the engine mode switch being in the incorrect position. Lewis was closing in, so I decided to make a clear move to the right hand side as soon as possible, to close the door and show him that wasn’t an option. I was very surprised that Lewis went for the inside anyway. The next thing I knew, we were in the gravel trap. I’m gutted, not just for myself but for the whole team, it’s the worst feeling as a driver.”
Next up for the F1 circus is the famous Monaco street circuit, 26-29 May.