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Pertama Dalam Sejarah F1, Max Verstappen Pembalap Termuda (18 Tahun) Juara I Naik Podium

Max Verstappen cannot hide his glee atop the Spanish Grand Prix podium
Max Verstappen cannot hide his glee atop the Spanish Grand Prix podium Credit: REUTERS
Max Verstappen’s bonfire of the record books grows with each time this remarkable teenager gets behind the wheel of a Formula One car. On Sunday he obliterated the previous record for the youngest race winner in history by two-and-a-half years with a drive beyond superlatives. Surely it is just a matter of time before he becomes the youngest world champion ever too.

Facing unrelenting pressure from Kimi Raikkonen in the final third of a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix, the 18-year-old drove like a man well beyond his years on his debut for Red Bull. Vindication for their ruthless switch with Daniil Kvyat came faster than they could ever have dreamt, nearly two years since they last won a race. And the champagne could not have tasted sweeter for a driver who little more than a year ago would legally have had to ask for a lemonade instead.

Verstappen pauses with the trophy after his stunning debut win
Verstappen pauses with the trophy after his stunning debut win Credit: GETTY IMAGES
None were prouder than Verstappen’s father, Jos, who shed tears of joy as his son went well beyond anything he managed in his creditable Formula One career. The greatest act of his life has been to nurture Verstappen’s into a driving machine, seemingly impervious to pressure. The Netherlands has its first ever winner and Formula One has a star to upset the established order.

“It’s a very special feeling,” Verstappen said. “Of course I didn’t expect to win. After the Mercedes pair crashed you’re targeting a podium, but in the end to come out on top, it’s incredible.

“I have to think about my Dad for sure. I heard he was crying – it’s unbelievable. He invested a lot of time in me and this achievement is also because of him.”

Verstappen poses with his father, former F1 driver Jos
Verstappen poses with his father, former F1 driver Jos Credit: GETTY IMAGES
The bond between the two is formidable. Verstappen once gave his son the silent treatment for nearly a week after he lost a karting race but he was speechless here in amazement at what the 18-year-old had achieved.

“My son is only 18 and the way he raced was unbelievable,” he said. “I can't believe it.” Watching at home his mother tweeted: “No words can describe my happiness. Proud mother. Tears of joy.”

Of all the things that have impressed Christian Horner, Red Bull’s team principal, perhaps the most poignant came five or so laps from the end, when Verstappen and Raikkonen were closing in on backmarkers which could have ruined this perfect story.

Horner explained: “He calmly came on the radio and said please could we ask Charlie [Whiting, the race director] to deal with the blue flags swiftly. There was no agitation in his voice, no panic, no tension. He was a young man completely in control of what he was doing. And that’s what he’s done from the moment he stepped in the car.”

Verstappen steers his way to victory in Barcelona
Verstappen steers his way to victory in Barcelona Credit: EFE
This was a drive reminiscent of Sebastian Vettel, the man whose records Verstappen is tossing onto the fire.

“It’s uncanny really,” Horner said. “There are an awful lot of similarities from when Sebastian joined the team. But he’s his own man as well. He’s a very together young guy. You’d never think he was 18.”

It seems all the more absurd therefore that since Verstappen’s F1 debut aged 17 the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, have ruled drivers must be aged 18 or over. Perhaps Verstappen is just a once in a lifetime talent.

He absorbed the pressure from Raikkonen, a driver double his age, like a sponge. Both Red Bull and Ferrari decided to split their strategies, putting Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel on a three-stop strategy. It did not pay off, with Verstappen and Raikkonen nursing their tyres to the end.

Vettel and his former team-mate were closing on the leaders but became locked in their own titanic battle which slowed progress. After one typically late lunge down the inside into turn one, Vettel had to take avoiding action, just about keeping third.

The German continued his colourful form over team radio this season. “What is this, racing or ping pong?!” A puncture on the penultimate lap for Ricciardo ensured Vettel kept hold of third. The Australian limped home fourth.

But his team-mate Verstappen is the new star now. The world is at his feet. (*)


Max Verstappen Juara GP Spanyol, Rio Haryanto Finis Ke-17

MANOR RACING Pebalap Manor Racing asal Indonesia, Rio Haryanto, memacu MRT05 pada sesi kualifikasi GP Rusia di Sochi Autodrom, Minggu (1/5/2016).

BARCELONA, — Pebalap Manor Racing asal Indonesia, Rio Haryanto, berhasil menyelesaikan balapan GP Spanyol di Sirkuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Minggu (15/5/2016), dengan finis di urutan ke-17.

Rekan satu timnya, Pascal Wehrlein, finis satu tempat lebih baik darinya, di posisi ke-16.

Pebalap Red Bull Racing, Max Verstappen (Belanda), membuat kejutan dengan finis di urutan pertama.

Drama sudah tersaji pada lap pertama. Jelang memasuki tikungan 4, dua pebalap Mercedes saling bersenggolan hingga keluar lintasan, dan akhirnya harus berhenti dari balapan.

Start dari posisi kedua, Nico Rosberg (jerman) behasil melewati Lewis Hamilton (Inggris) yang start dari pole position.

Setelah melewati tikungan 3, Hamilton mencoba melewati Rosberg. Namun, mobil Hamilton melintir dan akhirnya menabrak Rosberg.

Keduanya meluncur ke luar lintasan dan tak bisa melanjutkan balapan.

Safety car masuk ke lintasan hingga akhir lap ketiga. Balapan kembali dimulai dengan dua pebalap Red Bull Racing, Daniel Ricciardo (Inggris) dan Verstappen.

Di belakang mereka ada Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso). Tak lama berselang, Sainz terlewati dua pebalap Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel (Jerman) dan Kimi Raikkonen (Finlandia).

Posisi keempat pebalap tersebut tidak terusik, sementara di bagian belakang sering terjadi pergeseran posisi, termasuk Rio dan Wehrlein.

Pada lap ke-27, Rio berada di urutan ke-18, sementara Wehrlein ke-20.

Setelah keempatnya melakukan pit stop, posisi mereka sedikit berubah. Ricciardo masih memimpin diikuti Verstappen. Raikkonen berada di urutan ketiga, sementara Vettel keempat.

Pada akhir lap ke-41, Wehrlein berada di urutan ke-17, sementara Rio ke-19.

Di depan, persaingan ketat terjadi antara Verstappen dan Raikkonen dalam perebutan tempat pertama.

Pada lap ke-59, Ricciardo melakukan serangan untuk melewati Vettel. Mereka hampir bersenggolan dua kali. Vettel berhasil mempertahankan posisinya.

Sementara itu, Wehrlein dan Rio naik satu posisi ke urutan ke-16 dan ke-17.

Ricciardo kembali berusaha melakukan serangan, tetapi tak pernah berhasil. Pebalap 26 tahun tersebut mengalami kebocoran ban belakang kiri dan harus masuk ke pit pada akhir lap ke-65.

Di depan, Verstappen yang menjalani balapan pertamanya bersama Red Bull berhasil mempertahankan posisinya hingga finis.

Bagi pebalap 18 tahun tersebut, ini merupakan kemenangan pertamanya sejak naik ke Formula 1.

"Debut yang luar biasa, Max," kata bos Red Bull, Christian Horner, lewat radio setelah Verstappen melewati garis finis.

"Terima kasih banyak, Christian," sahut Verstappen disertai tawa kecil.

Duo Ferrari, Raikkonen dan Vettel, melengkapi podium dengan finis di urutan kedua dan ketiga. Wehrlein finis di urutan ke-16, sementara Rio ke-17.(*)

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