May 16, 2016

Crash to the Max: the 2016 Spanish GP:

It was bound to happen, everyone expected it sooner or later.

If there's little doubt the silver cars would have dominated the race had they managed not to hit each other, the Nico-Lewis fratricide set up a magic moment in F1 history.

The youngest Grand Prix winner ever, the first ever Dutch winner, on his first race with a new team on his third day in the car,   if it was a distinct possibility Max Verstappen had not had time in his life to even have sex, that's probably going to change after today.

Verstappen took his opportunity and did not put a foot wrong the whole race, not a single error, not a lock up, not a bobble,  nothing.  Remarkable.  

If you had any doubts before, it should be perfectly clear why Red Bull moved him up,  Ferrari and Mercedes must have been sniffing pretty hard and you just don't let someone with this kind of potential out of your grasp.

It's important to remember Maldonado won a GP, so let's not immediately declare Max the next Schumacher but I get the feeling this will not be a one off, perhaps even this year.

Who must be a bit shaken is Ricciardo.   Tough to keep a smile when a guy steppes into your same car and wins his first time out, the first win for the team in 30 races.  

After the race everyone is a strategy genius but it's hard to see how the three stop strategy Ricciardo an Vettel executed could have worked on a track, like Barcelona,  where passing is close to impossible.

It must sting for Ferrari too.  After all they were supposed to be the ones threatening Mercedes, not Red Bull.   Once again their loss comes first and foremost from qualifying.    In the race, Raikkonen made a terrible start and Vettel got passed by Sainz in the Toro Rosso in the first couple of turns.    Later in the race Ferrari had their #1 driver cover Red Bull's #1 and Raikkonen cover their #2....  except they covered the wrong #1 at Red Bull.

In any case, the RB12 had an incredible traction and stability advantage over the Ferrari in the final chicane and particularly the last turn before the start finish.  There was no way Raikkonen could ever get close enough to even have a go a Verstappen.      Now you know why neither Ferrari nor Mercedes want to give Red Bull their top tier engine.

Now to the Mercedes mano-a mano:

For as much as Hamfosi the world over are freaking out tonight,  the race stewards got it exactly right to call it a racing incident.    

At no time did Rosberg violate any sporting regulations, the stewards were explicit about that in their verdict,  Hamilton simply went for a low percentage gap.    I'm sure if he watches the video he will bang his head against the wall and wonder why he tried to do it the hard way.

What is ridiculous is hearing people blaming Rosberg:  what he did makes perfect sense,  if you are slow out of a corner you will try make your opponent go around the long way on the next.   This was clearly Rosberg's intention and you can see he starts for the inside before turn 3 is even finished, he never fully tracks out.    Rules state he is allowed one move, the move was not in the braking zone.

At no time is Hamilton fully alongside Rosberg, Rosberg does not start to move right as a direct reaction to Hamilton, he starts before.   He fully expected his good friend to go for the left.

So an error in judgement for Hamilton, things like that happen,  look at Alonso in Canada.

Perhaps Lewis was thinking how he had once again lost the lead after starting on pole,  or how Rosberg outbraked and passed him on the outside of turn one.    It must be tough for Hamilton to hit such a string of bad luck,  especially after spending so much time proclaiming his own superiority over Rosberg as a driver when Nico his his bad patches.

On to Monaco then.  Scene of much drama last year  and now with a great buildup in 2016.

Maybe the Merc boys will keep this up and we can have more entertaining races.

Pass the popcorn!.

Scheisse! from AC on Vimeo.

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