MAX VERSTAPPEN took advantage of a jaw-dropping first-lap collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg to become Formula One’s youngest-ever Spanish Grand Prix winner.
Eighteen-year-old Verstappen showed maturity beyond his tender years on his Red Bull debut to fend off the challenge from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen.
Pole-sitter Hamilton lost control of his car and crashed into Rosberg at turn three, taking both Mercedes drivers out of the race in one swoop.
Mercedes non-executive chairman Niki Lauda instantly apportioned blame to Hamilton describing the world champion’s actions as “too aggressive.”
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel crossed the line in third to complete the podium. Daniel Ricciardo, who led the opening phase of the race, was forced to pit on the penultimate lap with a puncture.
“Max Verstappen, you are a race winner, fantastic, what a debut,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said over the team radio. An emotional Verstappen replied: “Thank you very much, Christian.”
While Verstappen was completing a historic win, Hamilton and Rosberg were locked away in the Mercedes’ debrief truck with the team’s hierarchy of Toto Wolff, Paddy Lowe and Lauda, following one of the most stunning collisions in recent memory.
Verstappen took the lead with 22 laps remaining and didn’t look back to complete an incredible victory.
“It feels amazing,” he said.
“I can’t believe it. It was a great race and I have to say thank you to the team to give me such a great car.
“To win straight away in the first race is an amazing feeling.”
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