2016 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix

 Photo: Formula1.com

Photo: Formula1.com

Barcelona, Spain -

The Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya serves as the testing grounds during the preseason for Formula 1 teams thus creating a maximum amount of familiarity for drivers. Tried and true, Lewis Hamilton achieved pole position over his undefeated Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg (P2), though Max Verstappen continually made headlines throughout the week. Not only was the 18-year-old given the drive at Red Bull in exchange for Daniil Kvyat back to Torro Rosso, but he qualified 4th just behind his new teammate, Daniel Ricciardo.  The two Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out row three in somewhat of a shocking lineup. Fernando Alonso did his home country proud with McLaren Honda's best qualifying of the season with a 10th spot on the grid.  

Nico Rosberg was looking for his 8th straight win, while the start of the race offered different course of events. Lewis Hamilton had quite a jump off the line, though his teammate, got the best of him through turn one. Sebastian Vettel made his way past Verstappen into 4th as the group made their way through turn two and into turn three which provided an unrelenting charge by Hamilton to overtake Rosberg. Rosberg merged from the left edge of the track past the midpoint over to the right side, forcing Hamilton off the track into the slippery grass, sending the Brit into a spin and crashing into Rosberg. Both Mercedes found their way into the gravel along the left side of turn four, ending both drivers' race as well as Mercedes' perfect season aspirations. Absolutely unbelievable.

Red Bull's Ricciardo and Verstappen picked up after the safety car on lap three with Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz, Jr. who squeezed into third position over the two Ferraris.  It took until lap 10 for both of the prancing horses to pass the Spaniard. 

The front four positions were then dominated by the matte-finished Red Bulls and the two from Maranello, taking part in a proverbial game of leapfrog while trading positions in and amongst each of their pit stops. However, it was Max Verstappen who was on a 2-stop strategy and dominated the P1 role for nearly the entire race.  

Lap 47 showcased the end of Fernando Alonso's outing as he lost power and was out of his home Grand Prix. Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa worked his way up to an impressive 8th from 18th after his frustrating qualifying sessions.

Max Verstappen continued to show his unrelenting will, keeping Kimi Raikkonen behind him. The Finn had a multitude of opportunities in the DRS zone but could simply not get close enough to Verstappen.  The young Dutch driver took the checkered flag becoming the youngest winner in Formula 1 history (Vettel 2008 was 21 years old). Verstappen shared the podium with the two former champions in Raikkonen and Vettel who finished a disappointing 2nd and third, respectively. Daniel Ricciardo suffered a puncture on lap 65 of 66 which fortunately didn't sacrifice his 4th position as he had quite the buffer between he and a 5th place Valtteri Bottas and was able to squeeze into the pits for a tire. 

This Formula 1 season has been entirely persistent with its presentation of complete and utter unpredictability, and I cannot wait for Monaco!