“Completely unnecessary”, former driver Niki Lauda, Mercedes’ non-executive chairman, said from the pit lane. Hamilton and Rosberg have given their perspective of the incident, which was deemed as a racing incident by the stewards after the conclusion of the race.
Verstappen took advantage of the early crash involving the favorites and held on for the victory only a few days after moving up from feeder team Toro Rosso in a controversial driver switch with Daniil Kvyat.
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen celebrates o after winning the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. An emotional Verstappen replied: “Thank you very much, Christian”. “It was a miscalculation in Lewis’ head, I blame him more than Nico”.
Trying to avoid a collision Hamilton took to the grass, but immediately went into a slide and careered into Rosberg, sending both into the gravel at Turn 4.
From second on the grid Rosberg enjoyed a slightly better start than Hamilton on pole and passed his team-mate around the outside of the first corner.
Rosberg continues to lead the drivers’ championship by 39 points from Raikkonen.
Watching in the pits, the vehicle giant’s CEO Dr Dieter Zetsche could only shake his head and speed away in his limo before the inquisition had even begun. The incident had the hallmarks of a racing incident, but Lauda, not one to mince his words, had already made up his mind.
‘To win in the first race is such an unbelievable feeling, ‘ Verstappen told the broadcaster. Nico just happened to be in the wrong engine mode and he derated, which I didn’t, and I was gaining at him at fairly decent pace.
While Wolff elected not to place blame on either driver, Mercedes adviser Niki Lauda was blunt in his assessment of the incident.
“As soon as Hamilton sees that light flashing he knows what is happening and goes for the move”.
“For us it’s not a situation where you can attribute 100 per cent of the blame to one of the drivers”.
They matched tactics at their first stops for mediums, before both teams then split strategies. “There wasn’t any finger-pointing”. After the safety auto period, Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo led the race with Verstappen in second position and Vettel and Raikkonen behind them.
While Red Bull celebrated, and Ferrari rescued a race that had looked like being one to forget after Raikkonen and Vettel qualified fifth and sixth, dominant champions Mercedes were licking their self-inflicted wounds. From there, he did not look back to complete an incredible victory.
He said post-race: “It feels wonderful”.
The Australian had led most of the race, but found himself running fourth on the road after the stops.
“I think this time is another challenge for us in order to demonstrate that as a team we can move on from hard circumstances”.