Wow. Just… what the?
Sometimes, you find yourself lost for words. The front two crashing out and a wonderkid starting his first race in truly capable machinery, only to take the victory? We may have just witnessed one of the most seismic and historic races of all time, folks, so let’s check out the Badgerometer!
The Iceman thaws out
It’s fairly accurate to say that Raikkonen’s second stint at Ferrari has not contained as much of the raw speed as his first, so it was great to see the Finn fighting for victory for a change.
Fundamentally, Verstappen and Raikkonen were ahead of Vettel and Ricciardo because of superior strategies, with the old and young duo stopping twice, and the ex-Red Bull team mates opting for an extra stop, but evidently, he had enough pace as well.
McLaren in Q3
It didn’t actually get that well-celebrated by TV commentators, but McLaren finally got reward for their toils with a place in third qualifying, the first time they’ve done so since Abu Dhabi 2014.
Sadly, ‘Nando didn’t finish the race after his Honda power united cried enough, but it was another helping of McPoints on Sunday afternoon that rounded off a great weekend for the team.
With testing now underway, McLaren will be hoping it’s a case of onwards and upwards.
Crash, bang, wallop – what a video
(If you didn’t get the reference, please educate yourself)
After a few slight touches in Belgium 2014 and America last year, the thing that threatened to happen so many times finally did; Mercedes had the mother of all collisions.
Coming off turn 3, Hamilton got an incredible overspeed relative to Rosberg and went for the inside line of turn 4, covering his team mate. Rosberg tried to cover, but couldn’t have known how much faster he was coming, and so Hamilton was left with nowhere to go but the grass.
There’s likely to be a lot of fallout from this accident, but in my opinion – and that’s the opinion of Charlie Eustice, not the whole Badger GP Team – it was a racing incident.
The leading driver has the right to make one defensive move, and Rosberg utilised this. It is also the obligation of the driver behind to back out of any move unless a significant portion of his car is alongside. Hamilton’s front wing and most of the wheel were alongside Rosberg, and so it was a fair attempt at an overtake.
The compounding factor here, which a saddening amount of people seem to forget, is that drivers have to make decisions in fractions of seconds. Hamilton went for a gap with something like 17kph speed over his team mate. Rosberg closed that gap, not knowing how quick Hamilton was approaching. It didn’t work, and they both slid off. I call that a 50/50.
Versteppin’ up to the plate
This was relatively low-key, unheard news, but in case you hadn’t heard, Max Verstappen won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix.
It still feels strange to write that. Personally, I saw a Twitter poll an hour or so before the race asking where young Max would finish the race. The options were 1st, 2nd, 3rd or other, and I dismissed the notion immediately.
“He’s great, but that’s just silly. He might get third or fourth if he plays his cards right”.
More fool me.
Yes, the Mercedes cars going and getting all eliminated was most helpful, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, and boy was he just that. We’ve seen great attacking overtakes from Verstappen in the last year and a half, but I don’t recall seeing such a measured, composed and defensive drive as the one seen when the youngster held off Kimi Raikkonen for the race win.
You’ve got to wonder how many more he’ll amass as his career continues to develop.
This is Formula 1
It is, isn’t it. For too long in the turbo era, fans, old and new alike, have bemoaned the lack of excitement, unpredictability and intrigue of the last few years. Thank the racing gods then, for this utterly barmy race.
All it took for a mixed-up result was the leading pair crashing on lap 1 and a teenager driving his first race in a new car to provide the ultimate spectacle. As Ted Kravitz said, “maybe Mercedes should retire every race”.
Max broke several records in winning the race, including youngest driver to lead a race, youngest to make the podium, youngest winner, and the first Dutchman ever to win a race. The news went down very, very well indeed in the Netherlands, as our resident actual Dutchman Jaap Grolleman details here.
There are some other crazy stats too; Kimi Raikkonen chased the lead of the race of someone half his age, and this is the tenth different winner of the Spanish GP in the last ten races after Massa, Raikkonen, Button, Webber, Vettel, Maldonado, Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg.
It will be hard to top the drama of the 2016 Spanish GP. However, the Red Bull suits a high-downforce track, and it’s only bloody Monaco next…