Saturday , July 20 2024

Max Verstappen becomes F1 youngest winner

The defining memory of the Spanish Grand Prix should incontestably have been the boy prince, Max Verstappen, becoming the youngest winner in Formula One history.

But for all the appeal of the 18-year-old’s sure-footed precocity, his deeds were in danger of paling alongside the first-lap crash that ended the races of Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg. Their boss, Niki Lauda, blamed the collision on Hamilton.

But, first, the particulars of the smash itself, which unfolded between the third and fourth bends. Hamilton, who had started on pole but was passed on the outside by the German at the opening corner, was trying to force his way into the lead on the straight. Rosberg then moved aggressively to his right to block his pursuer. They spun into the gravel track.

Before speaking to either driver, Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda talked to a host of microphones, saying: ‘Completely unnecessary. It is stupid. We could’ve won this race. Lewis is too aggressive. I need to hear their explanations and then we will see what happens.

‘Why should Nico give him room — he was leading? It was a miscalculation in Lewis’s head. I blame him more than Nico.’

That was just the start of the recriminations. Sir Jackie Stewart agreed with Lauda that Hamilton had been ‘impetuous’. Jacques Villeneuve blamed Rosberg’s ‘ruthless’ move. Team principal Toto Wolff did not apportion culpability, adding that he would continue to allow them to race.

Nor did the stewards point a finger, declaring it ‘reasonable’ that Hamilton should try to overtake and that Rosberg ‘had the right’ to resist in the way he did.

A few hours after the race, and without having had a proper conversation with each other, Hamilton and Rosberg offered their own thoughts. Their comments were veiled. Neither man outright blamed the other, nor did either admit the least bit of guilt.

The Red Bull debutant benefited from a dramatic pile-up involving both of the two Mercedes cars on turn four of the opening lap

Hamilton (left) started the race on pole but lost top spot to Rosberg on the first lap as both drivers showed no fear to compete early on

The world champion lost control of his car after putting it on the grass, as he turns sideways and careers into his team-mate

The world champion lost control of his car after putting it on the grass, as he turns sideways and careers into his team-mate

The British driver's car took Rosberg with him as he left the track, as his early aggression in the race failed to pay dividends

Debris was scattered over the track as Hamilton and Rosberg's cars flew into the gravel and were subsequently ruled out of the race

Track stewards look on at the wreckage of Hamilton's car following the first-lap collision between the Mercedes as Hamilton walks away

The Mercedes of Hamilton sustained significant damage as a result of the crash but the driver emerged unscathed from the wreckage

Both cars were quickly removed from the gravel beside the track, as the remainder of the field were managed by the safety car

This was the view of the incident from Hamilton's cockpit as he tried to pass team-mate Rosberg and the German didn't allow him to pass

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