Max powers to Spanish Grand Prix victory

Max Verstappen gets used to his new surroundings in the Red Bull RB12
Max Verstappen gets used to his new surroundings in the Red Bull RB12

Max Verstappen held off a fierce challenge from Kimi Raikkonen to become the youngest ever winner of an F1 race in Spain.

The 18-year-old was making his debut for Tilbrook’s Red Bull Racing after replacing Daniil Kvyat last week.

Dutchman Verstappen takes over the mantle of becoming the sport’s youngest ever winner, replacing Sebastian Vettel.

After holding off a late threat from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, Verstappen crossed the line to win.

“It’s an incredible feeling, I didn’t expect it at all,” he said afterwards. “I have no words to describe it. I was up there in good company - Kimi Raikkonen even raced against my dad!

“I wasn’t nervous, but concentrating to make sure I made no mistakes. But I was celebrated a lot on the inlap and got a bit of cramp!”

Jos Verstappen, Max’s dad, said: “I can’t believe it. It’s unbelievable. He’s only 18 and the way he raced... I don’t know what to say!”

It was shaping up to be a great afternoon for Red Bull after Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg collided on the opening lap, gifting the lead to Ricciardo, with Verstappen in tow.

Holding off the threat of Vettel, Verstappen took over the lead when Ricciardo switched to a three stop strategy, as did Vettel.

Raikkonen then mounted the challenge but couldn’t get within range to make a move on Verstappen as he raced to not only his first podium finish, but his first win.

Ricciardo was in a battle for the final podium place until a late puncture forced him to pit on the penultimate lap, but he kept fourth spot.

Ultimately though, the Australian felt it was a race he should have won.

He said: “I don’t think it’s hard to see Max on the podium, but it’s hard for me not to be there. We were leading and it was there for us, it was in our hands.

“But we went to a three stop strategy, but we did ti too late and Sebastian Vettel passed us. We’re down on speed and it’s hard to pass here - it didn’t make sense. I thought everyone else was going to do it too, but we threw it away.

“Normally the guy in the lead gets the better strategy, but it didn’t work out today.

“I wasn’t content to sit in fourth unlike most of the grid, so I tried to get past Sebastian. I was always going to try. I get it a try, he said I was a bit aggressive on the radio - typical.”