Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Breakthrough win “a very special feeling” Verstappen

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen described his joy at scoring a breakthrough grand prix victory in his first race for Red Bull.

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

At 18 years old, Verstappen is the youngest driver ever to win an F1 race. He is also the first race winner from the Netherlands.

“To hear the Dutch national anthem for the first time in Formula One, I have to think about my dad for sure and I heard he was crying, so yeah it’s unbelievable. He invested a lot of time in me and this achievement is also because of him.”

Verstappen said he kept his cool after taking the lead for the first time in his grand prix career. “I wasn’t nervous during the race, I was just trying to focus and drive the best I could.”

Key to Verstappen’s victory was a long final stint on medium compound tyres which lasted almost half the race distance.

“We focused a lot on keeping the tyres alive because at my last stop I still had to do 32 laps until the end, but it worked out well,” he said.

Verstappen was chased home by Kimi Raikkonen, but the Ferrari driver never got close enough to attempt a pass.

“With five laps to the end I saw Kimi was dropping off a bit, he tried a few times and of course it kills your tyres and from there I just like ‘okay, focus on the tyres now and bring it home’,” said Verstappen.

“I will for sure remember this and at the moment it’s just a great feeling. It’s amazing, I have no words for it.”

“It was very good company on the podium, I mean Kimi even raced against my dad, so it’s very funny!”

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Breakthrough win “a very special feeling” Verstappen”

  1. There are still those who think he’s overrated and overhyped. Honestly don’t know how.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      15th May 2016, 18:09

      @hahostolze Well, for starters Verstappen he didn’t really beat Sainz in quali last year convincingly.

      1. For qualy you need experience and Carlos had far more then Max. Max had 1 year in F3.
        In racing Max beats him every time, because he is better in many area’s. That doesn’t mean Sainz is not good. He showed that today. He will get his chance too.
        Max for sure has more balls then Sainz in overtaking and does much longer with a set of tires and his race pace is higher. Check the stats from China.

        1. Sainz is a great starter

      2. @freelittlebirds

        But qualifying is only one aspect of F1. Schumacher was never a qualifying specialist either but he turned out alright.
        And between Sainz and Verstappen it was pretty even in qualy last year despite Verstappen suffering more problems in qualy. This year Verstappen was already up 3-1 in qualy on Sainz.

        The biggest difference however is that Verstappen was always considerably faster than Sainz in the race. Showing better pace and better tyre management. Allowing him to run longer stints and keep his times lineair. That’s what we saw today as well. Ricciardo is praised for being able to make his tyres last and having good pace. Yet he couldn’t get away from Verstappen in the beginning and couldn’t do the same length stints as Verstappen did.

        1. And also, this weekend proved that Sainz is no slouch. I rate Verstappen higher but in the current Red Bull family I believe Sainz would also give Ricciardo a run for his money.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            15th May 2016, 20:20

            @Baron your last statement is the reason that both Ricciardo and Sainz need to leave Red Bull and Toro Rosso ASAP… Regardless of who’s quicker, favoritism is blatant and favoritism decides performance in F1 just as in life favoritism decides position and income within an organization.

          2. @freelittlebirds well I don’t agree favoritism is blatant. Everyone shouted the same ahead of 2014 and everyone had to swallow all of that as Vettel did not received preferential treatment of any kind.

            Performance is king at Red Bull and Toro Rosso. Always has been. If Ricciardo is faster and remains so he has nothing to fear.

            And you are free to prove me otherwise.

      3. Michael, that’s where most are wrong… take away mechanical failures and gridpenalties and Verstappen won the qualifying battle as well.
        Well in fact let’s leave those in and check the actuall gridpositions from 2015, still in favor for Verstappen.

        Anyways, Sainz prooved he is also knocking on doors, he congretulated Max and thanked RB for their effort to give young talent a chance.

    2. With Ferrari off the pace, the Mercs taking themselves out and his team mate being hampered by poor strategy choice, I don’t think this is really a great race to use as an example.

      A great win and a very solid drive. But by no means exceptional.

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    15th May 2016, 18:11

    Congratulations to Max but there is absolutely mayhem at Ferrari now and at Red Bull. You do have to wonder if Red Bull has just lost 3 drivers (as opposed to only Dani) in promoting Verstappen. Time will tell if the decision was the right one.

    1. You think Riciardo wants to leave now, like Vettel did when Riciardo started to become better at RedBull?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        15th May 2016, 19:42

        @ia yes, I think that’s exactly what’s happened. This was incredible today – not only did they put Max in front but they put Daniel behind Vettel.

    2. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
      15th May 2016, 18:57

      @freelittlebirds if they find out how to get the whole car winning over and over, it won’t be a problem. Max has shown and will keep showing he will be a WDC. Everybody was impressed by Hamilton when he arrived in F1, everyone got impressed by Vettel winning in a Toro Rosso. This will be the same, even better. Max will be a WDC, I have no doubts. If Lewis and Nico keep losing points that way, Toto should give Max a chance, once in car number 6 and another in car 44. Who would be the best of the three?

    3. @freelittlebirds

      “Red Bull has just lost 3 drivers”

      There’s no way the 3 of them will leave the Red Bull family at the end of the year. Realistically, the only one who might want to leave is Ricciardo (with a place both at Ferrari and Mercedes possibly opening up). This means Red Bull can pick any of their Toro Rosso drivers. In the very unlikely event that both Toro Rosso drivers leave the team for other midfield teams, Red Bull can always pick up Raikkonen and/or Rosberg.

      No matter what happens, Red Bull will have an incredible line-up next year.

  3. Stoked about Verstappen and the overall quality of driver, now and for the future!

  4. Definitely this victory is not a case “it’s more than we deserve”, right. Please, confirm I am not missing anything here.

    1. Verstappen outqualied both Ferraris and managed his tyres better than the other three frontrunners. Verstappen fully deserves this one.

      1. @paeschli I don’t believe it’s true to say he managed his tyres better than the other front runners. Certainly not by enough to be notable at any rate. And frankly, the Ferrari’s were off the pace, Max didn’t beat his team mate in qualifying.

        Of course he fully deserves it however. Very solid weekend.

        1. @mike
          I think the way Verstappen managed those tyres, in a car he barely knew, was very impressive.

          Here’s what James Allen said in one of his articles last week following the Verstappen – Kvyat swap: “Verstappen will be up against one of the fastest drivers in the business, who is also one of the best at looking after the rear tyres in a race. That will be the main area where Verstappen will struggle in comparison and only experience will bring success in that specific area, which is critical to doing well in Pirelli era F1.”

          Nobody expected a guy with so few experience in F1 and with a reputation of being a hothead to be able to make these tyres last until the end.

          1. Reputation of being a hothead…?

            He has a reputation of being very calm and down to earth, better listen to what people around him say about him over what people are shouting in fora.

            He only had one burst in so many races, lately we hear Vettel shouting every race….

  5. I am very pleased he won, by the sounds of it he showed the skill and temperament expected of a champion. I don’t know if I will have the opportunity to watch the race, but I will be disappointed if I don’t get that chance because I think this could be one of those “must watch” races.

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