-- Max Verstappen claimed an astonishing maiden Formula One victory at the Spanish Grand Prix after Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out of the race on the first lap.
Verstappen turned in a masterful drive on a two-stop strategy, holding firm under pressure from Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen in the final stint to become F1's youngest-ever winner at 18 years and 227 days on his first race for Red Bull. The collision between Hamilton and Rosberg just after the start blew the race wide open, with both Red Bull and Ferrari splitting its drivers between two- and three-stop strategies.
It was the two men on the two-stop strategies, Verstappen and Raikkonen, who had made the correct calls despite being the two looking less likely to win the race at mid-distance. Verstappen was only promoted to the Red Bull seat ten days before the grand prix, stepping up from junior team Toro Rosso in place of Daniil Kvyat.
Sebastian Vettel rounded off the podium having held off Ricciardo. The Australian driver had led the first half of the race but, as it turned out, went on to the slower strategy, and finished fourth despite a puncture on the penultimate lap.
The biggest drama of the race came at the start. Hamilton had a good start from pole position but appeared to go too defensive on the run down to Turn 1, allowing Rosberg to get alongside him and sweep into the lead around the outside of the corner. Hamilton stayed close to his teammate and, with slightly better drive out of Turn 3, immediately dived to the right of the track. Rosberg had planted his car in the centre of the road and moved over slightly to cover Hamilton off, forcing the world champion onto the grass, where he lost control of the car and ended up wiping out both cars.
The incident turned what had looked likely to be an easy one-two for Mercedes into a fascinating duel between Red Bull and Ferrari, who had locked out the next two rows of the grid. Daniel Ricciardo had beaten teammate Max Verstappen into the first sequence of corners and led the race as the safety car came out, with the Australian successfully managing the restart on lap four.
Ricciardo led Verstappen, Vettel and Raikkonen for the first stint, pitting on lap 12. Verstappen followed a lap later and the Red Bull drivers managed to hold on to first and second when Vettel emerged from his own stop on lap 16. All four drivers -- Raikkonen stopped on lap 17 -- took on the medium compound tyre for the second stint.
It was at this point in the race both pit walls decided to split the strategies of its drivers. Ricciardo and Vettel pitted for soft tyres on lap 29 and 30 respectively. At that point in the race it seemed it would be a fight between the two former Red Bull teammates for victory with Verstappen and Raikkonen staying out on the medium tyres. It meant Verstappen inherited a lead he ultimately would keep for the rest of the race.
More to follow...