The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix is in the books and what an eventful race it was for both the Formula One official driver standings as well as the ASN driver standings. With both Mercedes of defending champion Lewis Hamilton and his teammate and current season leader, Nico Rosberg, starting in the 1-2 positions, it initially looked like a typical start of a typical Mercedes runaway victory – which it surely would have been had not Hamilton crashed into Rosberg on the first lap – taking them both out of the race and gifting the victory to Dutch teenager Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
Hamilton began on the pole position but Rosberg immediately passed him on the first turn, only to have Hamilton attempt to return the favor shortly after – however – Rosberg was in the wrong engine mode, causing his car to decrease speed and the onrushing Hamilton had to both select a side to pass Rosberg and avoid a collision. Hamilton chose a side, which Rosberg blocked, but Hamilton’s tire caught some grass, which then spun him out where he collected Rosberg and took both cars into the gravel.
The result was no points for Mercedes in the race and an ensuing four-car free-for-all for the race win between the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel and Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. It was Ricciardo who led the first half of the race but pit strategies gave the lead to Verstappen and the Dutch teen was able to barely hold off Raikkonen for the win with Vettel in third and Ricciardo dropping to fourth and off the podium after a last lap tire puncture. The obvious top points for the race this week must go to Verstappen who showed maturity beyond his years in holding off Raikkonen for half a race. Second place goes to another youngster, Carlos Sainz, Jr., who got an impressive sixth place finish for his Toro Rosso team while Jenson Button gets the final point by impressively finishing in ninth with his underpowered McLaren.
The Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award has to go to Hamilton because, as we all know from driving school – especially Pastor Maldonado’s driving school – the driver who hits somebody from the rear is always at fault. In this case, it was not too difficult to determine.
The Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing!” Award goes to Button, who was in the midst of a late race run to his eventual ninth-place finish but Manor’s Rio Haryanto was impeding his progress, causing Button to get on the radio to his team and plead for them to do something – “Get him out of the way! I know he thinks he’s quick but he’s not.”
The Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award goes to the Formula One race milquetoast stewards who, after viewing the collision between the Mercedes cars decided that they did not want to offend anybody and perched themselves squarely on the fence by declaring it a “racing incident” with the most milquetoast-y words available to them…
“Having heard extensively from both drivers and from the team, the Stewards determined that Car 6 [Rosberg] had the right to make the manoeuvre that he did and that Car 44’s [Hamilton] attempt to overtake was reasonable, and that the convergence of events led neither driver to be wholly or predominantly at fault, and therefore take no further action.”
That’s some premium non-action-taking there – well done!
2016 ASN Driver Standings [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Nico Rosberg – 12 points
2] Sebastian Vettel – four points
3] Kimi Raikkonen/Max Verstappen – three points
5] Fernando Alonso/Carlos Sainz, Jr. – two points
7] Jenson Button/Romain Grosjean/Daniil Kvyat/Stoffel Vandoorne – one point
Pastor Maldonado Driving School Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Alonso/Valtteri Bottas/Lewis Hamilton/Nico Hulkenberg/Kvyat – one point
Kimi Raikkonen “Leave Me Alone! I Know What I’m Doing! Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Button/Kvyat/Raikkonen/Rosberg/Vettel – one point
Lewis Hamilton Doofus Moment Award [after Spanish Grand Prix]
1] Hamilton/Bernie Ecclestone – two points
2] Formula One race stewards – one point