Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya delivered a stunning Spanish Grand Prix.
After Rosberg and Hamilton collided on the opening lap, the Red Bulls and the Ferrari duo fought over who would take the first non-Mercedes victory since September 2015.
Max Verstappen prevailed, winning on his Red Bull Racing debut, not only becoming the first Dutch Grand Prix winner, but also the youngest ever driver to lead a lap, score a podium and clinch a Grand Prix victory. Without a doubt, he’s our TOP DOG!
Ten days ago, when Red Bull announced the Kvyat-Verstappen swap, Verstappen said he needed time to get used to the RB12. Despite this, he showed his pace through the Friday practice sessions and come Saturday, he duly qualified behind teammate Ricciardo on the second row on the grid. Ricciardo might have had the better pace this weekend and led after the Rosberg and Hamilton crash, but together with Vettel, he stopped three times. Raikkonen and Verstappen only did so twice, which proved to be the faster strategy.
Verstappen, on only his third day in the car, then made his tyres last thirty-two laps on the high degradation tarmac of Barcelona, all while fending off Raikkonen. The Finn was slightly faster, but not fast enough.
In the closing laps, the nerves were felt. Not by Max, but by millions of my fellow Dutch countryman, glued behind their televisions. When Max took the chequered flag, their relief made Twitter and Facebook-timelines explode, and it filled WhatsApp groups not meant for F1 commentating with cheers and racing-car emoji’s.
I’ve been watching Formula 1 for over two decades, and for years, I never expected to hear the Wilhelmus echo after a Grand Prix, but today I did. It’s very special, writing this as a Dutchman, but Max Verstappen is a Grand Prix winner, and our Top Dog!!