The Genesis Of Lewis Hamilton’s Kryptonite: How Max Verstappen’s First Red Bull F1 Race Has Been A Prophesy Of Years To Come

How Max Verstappen’s First Red Bull F1 Race Was a Forecast of Years to Come

In Formula 1, benchmarks are always being set. And one generation after generation comes and breaks them in their journey for glory. But on the 15th of May 2016, Max Verstappen set a record that will never be broken. By winning the Spanish GP, he became F1’s youngest winner in history; at 18 years and 227 days old to be precise.

Replacing Russian driver Daniil Kvyat in the fourth round of the season, there were a lot of questions being asked. Many critiqued Red Bull for replacing Kvyat just after the Russian Grand Prix. But nevertheless, the pressure was on Max to impress in his first outing for the Milton Keynes-based outfit.

How the race unfolded and how Max Verstappen won

But Max showed that he had skills by the bucket loads. Quickly putting his RB12 through its paces and he was within two-tenths of his team-mate Ricciardo in practice. Verstappen managed to qualify fourth and in front of the Ferraris. The race start was decent for Max. Trying to get a slipstream behind his team-mate allowed Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to jump Verstappen going into Turn 1. The Dutchman responded by overtaking the German on the outside of the long Turn 3 right-hander and got his fourth place back. But like Moses parting the Red Sea, the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton colliding into each other gave a Red Bull 1-2.
How Max Verstappen’s First Red Bull F1 Race Was a Forecast of Years to Come

Plenty of action followed on track as Red Bull tried outwitting the Ferraris to make it a 1-2 finish. Both Ricciardo and Vettel were asked to pit but ultimately gave up the track position. Verstappen and Raikkonen were on medium tires and were to go till the end. A tussle between Daniel and Sebastian, left the Australian with a puncture while Vettel just did not have the pace to challenge the leading pair of Verstappen and Raikkonen.

The 2007 world champion was putting all the pressure on the young Dutchman but the Red Bull driver did not falter. Even as Raikkonen had DRS, the Fin could not make a pass. The Ferrari driver tried one last time and was unsuccessful, and Max Verstappen crossed the line to win the race. Max’s win sent out a statement. One, that Red Bull absolutely made the right choice, and two, that he is here to stay at the front of the row. And if the likes of Niki Lauda take his cap off and claim Max to be the “talent of the century”; there is truly no debate around it. Five years after that historic win, Max Verstappen paid back Red Bull by winning them a Driver’s World Championship; truly cementing his place in Formula 1.

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