F1 Spanish GP: 5 most memorable moments

Max Verstappen won his first-ever race in Spain in 2016
Max Verstappen won his first-ever race in Spain in 2016
Charanjot Singh

The Spanish GP has been a part of the F1 calendar for decades now. The circuit has been one of the permanent fixtures and has delivered some great moments throughout all these years. Even before Fernando Alonso became the Spanish phenom that he is right now, the circuit would be filled with fans almost every time.

In this piece, we take a look at some of the most memorable moments in the history of the Spanish GP.

#1 A Star is born (2016 Spanish GP)


Max Verstappen was a young teenager who was thrust into the cutthroat world of F1 in 2015. The driver, considered to have precocious talent, impressed everyone while driving a Toro Rosso. So much so that after a handful of races for the team in his second season, the Dutchman received a mid-season promotion to the Red Bull senior team.

Verstappen had no prior experience driving the Red Bull car. While everyone looked on with interest, however, the young driver won his very first race with the team by beating not only his teammate but also a four-time champion in Sebastian Vettel and a former champion in Kimi Raikkonen. After what he did in Barcelona, it was obvious that a star was born. Even the skeptics had to admit that this teenager, regardless of how young he was, was very, very special.

#2 The Silver Arrows collide (2016 Spanish GP)

“Oh no…” “Ohhh! Ohhhh!” The Barcelona crowd reacts to THAT crash 💥#SpanishGP 🇪🇸 #F1

The 2016 season is still remembered as one where Nico Rosberg took on Lewis Hamilton and did the unthinkable by beating the F1 legend in the same car. Having said that, the race in Barcelona that year was one of the highlights of the season.

Rosberg was coming off a 7-race win streak. He was leading the championship from Hamilton by a significant margin. The Briton, on his part, was on pole for the Spanish GP but lost the initiative at the start as Rosberg jumped him.

After getting through cleanly on the first turn, Rosberg suffered a drop in power as he approached the end of Sector 1. Looking to grab the opportunity, Hamilton dove down the inside which led to Rosberg closing the door. The two Mercedes drivers subsequently crashed into each other and took themselves out of the race.

The race acted as a flashing point in a rivalry that had been brewing for two years.

#3 Pastor Maldonado beats Fernando Alonso (2012 Spanish GP)

WATCH Pastor Maldonado's lone #F1 win to date then check out our list of one-win wonders >>

Pastor Maldonado was an anomaly in F1. He was a very fast driver but when it came to keeping control of the car, he could never get on top of that. In 2012, Williams had a very strong car in a season that had far too much unpredictability due to variations in tire performance from track to track.

At the Spanish GP that season, Maldonado found himself on the front row alongside Fernando Alonso in his home race. By all measures, it was expected that Alonso would toy with the young driver and the win was his. When the race started and Alonso took the lead from Maldonado, it appeared that everything was going according to the script.

Maldonado and Williams had other plans, however, as their undercut gave him track position over Alonso. From that point onwards, he fended off the Ferrari on his tail and picked up a rather unlikely win in his career.

#4 Nigel Mansell puts one over Ayrton Senna (1991 Spanish GP)

Nigel Mansell (Williams) & Ayrton Senna (McLaren) - Circuit de Catalunya, Spanish Grand Prix - 1991

In the 1991 season, McLaren-Honda still enjoyed an advantage over its competitors in the early part of the season. Come the Spanish GP, with rain falling on the track, things did get neutralized a bit for the chasing Williams. Nigel Mansell, on what was a rather new and damp track, chased down the rain master in his McLaren.

On a track that appeared not to have too many overtaking opportunities, Mansell was able to stick to the back of Ayrton Senna's McLaren in the last corner. Subsequently, he was able to get right alongside Senna by using his slipstream to ultimately complete a bold pass over a driver who had made his name by driving in these very conditions.

#5 Hapless Hakkinen (2001 Spanish GP)

On this day in 2001, Mika Hakkinen suffered last lap heartbreak in the Spanish GP when his car stopped while leading. Here is a look at other late-race dramas we've seen in #F1…

The 2001 F1 season was the last of Mika Hakkinen's illustrious career. The Finn did not have the best of starts to the season, and by the time the F1 circus reached Spain, he had a mountain to climb in terms of points deficit. The race in Barcelona, however, was a timely reminder to anyone who had forgotten how good the Flying Finn was.

After trailing Michael Schumacher early in the race, Hakkinen got the jump on the Ferrari driver. On the last lap of the race, he had a dominant lead of around 40 seconds. Things took a turn for the worse for the Finn, however, when his engine shut down all of a sudden. The McLaren driver tried everything to take the car to the checkered flag but had to sit helplessly as it rolled to a stop before the finish line. Schumacher picked up the win and it did appear that whatever motivation Hakkinen had for racing in F1 ended that day.

What's your favorite race of the 2022 season so far? Tell us in the comments below..

Edited by Anurag C


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