Although Rosberg didn’t finish the race, the German continues to hold on to the lead in the drivers standings; 39 points ahead of Raikkonen. Hamilton drops to third with 57 points. Mercedes AMG lead the constructors with an accumulation of 157 points to Ferrari’s 109 points.
The start of the race was anything but a walk in the park for the Mercedes cars as Rosberg and Hamilton immediately got into a scrap, with neither giving an inch. Rosberg went ahead for two corners but Hamilton won’t budge and tried to overtake his team mate in a tight squeeze at turn 3. The result was Hamilton’s car and Rosberg’s touched, and the two Mercedes cars headed straight into the gravel. It was game over for the defending champions. “I was down on power with the wrong mode selected due to the engine mode switch being in the incorrect position. Lewis (Hamilton) was closing in, so I decided to make a clear move to the right hand side as soon as possible, to close the door and show him that wasn’t an option. I was very surprised that Lewis went for the inside anyway. The next thing I knew, we were in the gravel trap,” Rosberg said of the incident.
With the two top cars out, the field was wide open, it was Ricciardo who led from Verstappen at the head of the order. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Vettel was battling for fourth place, with Raikkonen hanging in there in fift. Vettel soon dispatched Sainz on lap 8 and Raikkonen later overtook Sainz as well, when the Toro Rosso went into the pitlane. After the stops, the Red Bulls held the lead with Ricciardo holding the top spot.
As the race approached the second stint, it was a clear fight to the finish between the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Both teams opted for a 3-stopper. The order was Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel and Raikkonen until the second stops. When the order resumed after the stops, Ricciardo led from Vettel and Verstappen between laps 28 – 34. When Ricciardo and Vettel stopped for a third time, Verstappen grabbed the lead in the race (for a second time). The young Dutchman became the first from his country to lead an F1 race. Raikkonen also jumped Ricciardo and Vettel to go second overall. That set up an incredible final stint scrap between the young Red Bull driver and the experienced Ferrari pilot.
Vettel and Ricciardo, who had dropped to fourth, were in hot pursuit, but neither could make an impression on the race leaders. Ricciardo ran wide on lap 60 in an attempt to overtake Vettel. The Red Bull driver then had to pit on the penultimate lap for new rears. Due to the unscheduled stop, Ricciardo had to settle for fourth, despite having a real opportunity to challenge for the final podium spot. Fifth place went to Valtteri Bottas and sixth place was Sainz. Force India’s Sergio Perez and the second Williams of Felipe Massa finished a distant seventh and eighth.
Jenson Button brought home points for McLaren, with a ninth place finish, followed by Daniil Kvyat in a Toro Rosso; who earned the fastest lap of the race. Kvyat and everyone else finished a lap down on the race leader. The second McLaren of Fernando Alonso had an engine failure, causing the twice champion to retire prior to the flag. Both Red Bulls and Toro Rossos thus were classified in the top ten of the Spanish GP results.
The circus now moves to the Principality for the Monaco Grand Prix, from 26 – 28 May.
2016 Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix results
1 MAX VERSTAPPEN RBR 1:41:40.017
2 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN FERRARI +0.616s
3 SEBASTIAN VETTEL FERRARI +5.581s
4 DANIEL RICCIARDO RBR +43.950s
5 VALTTERI BOTTAS WILLIAMS +45.271s
6 CARLOS SAINZ TORO ROSSO +61.395s
7 SERGIO PEREZ FORCE INDIA +79.538s
8 FELIPE MASSA WILLIAMS +80.707s
9 JENSON BUTTON MCLAREN +1 lap
10 DANIIL KVYAT TORO ROSSO +1 lap
1 NICO ROSBERG 100
2 KIMI RÄIKKÖNEN 61
3 LEWIS HAMILTON 57
4 SEBASTIAN VETTEL 48
5 DANIEL RICCIARDO 48
6 MAX VERSTAPPEN 38
7 FELIPE MASSA 36
8 VALTTERI BOTTAS 29
9 DANIIL KVYAT 22
10 ROMAIN GROSJEAN 22
11 CARLOS SAINZ 12
12 FERNANDO ALONSO 8
13 SERGIO PEREZ 8
14 KEVIN MAGNUSSEN 6
15 NICO HULKENBERG 6
16 JENSON BUTTON 3
17 STOFFEL VANDOORNE 1
1 MERCEDES 157
2 FERRARI 109
3 RBR 94
4 WILLIAMS 65
5 TORO ROSSO 26
6 HAAS 22
7 FORCE INDIA 14
8 MCLAREN 12
9 RENAULT 6