Two-Stop Strategy Helps Max Verstappen To Become The Youngest Winner In F1 History
Strategy was at the forefront of the Spanish Grand Prix, with the final result remaining in doubt right to the very end as the race protagonists adopted different thinking in the timing and choice of tyre changes.
In the end, Max Verstappen became the youngest grand prix winner in history on his Red Bull debut, finishing the race on a set of medium tires that had completed 32 laps: one lap more than those on the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, who finished second. Both Ferrari and Red Bull split their strategies: each team stopping twice with one car and three times with the other.
All three compounds – hard, medium and soft – were used throughout the 66-lap grand prix, with a race-long battle between Red Bull and Ferrari, while tire management provided an essential key to success. Four drivers were still in contention for the win all the way to the final lap, although Daniel Ricciardo was affected by a slow puncture at the very end, probably caused by debris.
The Formula One teams now remain in Barcelona for the first in-season test of the year, which will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. A number of teams will run young drivers, while the tires used will be the usual 2016 compounds seen since the start of this year, chosen by each team for testing purposes.
Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director: “This was a complex strategic battle all the way to the very end, with the balance of power shifting between Red Bull and Ferrari as the tactics evolved from lap to lap. The result was a fascinating race that remained absolutely unpredictable all the way to the checkered flag, making it one of the stand-out events of the season. During the final 10 laps the drivers had to manage their tires to be sure of maintaining performance to the finish, adding yet another intriguing dimension to the action. This is the sort of race we were hoping for with our current range of compounds and the latest tire regulations, so the Spanish Grand Prix certainly delivered. We’ve seen Formula One history being made today with the youngest winner ever in the sport, and we feel very proud to play a part in that.”