Scuderia Toro Rosso boss Franz Tost was impressed with how his seventeen-year-old rookie Max Verstappen took to the streets of Monaco, especially after the Dutchman finished second fastest to reigning World Champion Lewis Hamilton in his first ever practice session at the circuit.
Tost insisted he knew Verstappen, who bypassed both the GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 Series’ that support Formula 1, was a strong racing driver, but believe his performance on Thursday was ‘extraordinary’.
“We know Max is a very, very highly skilled driver,” said Tost. “I was impressed by how he achieved this really, really good time in P1.
“He went out in the morning and from run to run he improved his lap time without making any mistakes. His car control and his feedback, it was really, really extraordinary. I am very happy that he is in the team.”
Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner also praised Verstappen, while also saving some positive words for his Spanish team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr, who was inside the top six in both sessions.
“I thought it was super,” said Horner. “For a guy that can’t rent a hire car yet it is enormously impressive.
“The two Toro Rosso drivers have done a wonderful job this year. It is one of the positive stories in F1 at the moment is those two young rookies that Red Bull have given a chance. They’re here on merit and it shows that the junior programme is most definitely working.”
Toro Rosso Chief Race Engineer Phil Charles also praised both drivers for their efforts on Thursday, insisting the whole day was positive for the team.
“We’re really pleased with both Carlos and Max,” started Charles, “they took the right approach, starting off with a little margin and building themselves up through the sessions.
“We can definitely say that today’s been very positive for us, the car seems to be working okay and as usual we will do our homework and build on all the positives.”