Max Verstappen thanked his team after climbing from eighteenth on the grid to finish the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in eighth position on Sunday.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver drove superbly throughout, finishing on the tail of Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen, and almost jumped the Finn on the final lap on the run down the Kemmel Straight, but made a mess of his braking point to allow Raikkonen back through into seventh.
Verstappen admitted some of the manoeuvres he made during the race were ‘risky’ but felt it was important for him to make those moves, including one around the outside of Blanchimont on the Sauber of Felipe Nasr.
“What an entertaining race, it was a great achievement to start from so far back and finish eighth in the end,” said Verstappen. “My pace was very strong and I enjoyed the overtaking, so we can be very happy about today’s race.
“The car felt great and we were able to keep up with Ferrari and Williams. I really enjoyed it and even if some of the overtakes were a bit risky, when you start from so far back you have to go for it if you want to move forward.
“It wasn’t an easy start to the weekend, but we managed to do a great job in the end and I would like to thank the team for the big effort and my home crowd for the support, we can all be really happy with today’s P8!”
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr was left frustrated after seeing his top-ten qualifying efforts go to waste when a loss of power on the formation lap saw him return to the pits and join the race two laps down.
The Spaniard eventually called it a day when it was obvious he was not in contention for a top ten finish to save on engine mileage, retiring for a fourth time in four races.
“What a frustrating way to end what was being a good weekend,” reflected Sainz. “During the formation lap I felt I had no power, so I had to box. Luckily they managed to solve the issue and I was able to go out and race, but being two laps down there wasn’t much I could fight for, just hope for rain and be lucky.
“After two stints though, we decided to retire to save engine mileage. I’m obviously very disappointed and desperate to finish a race, as it’s now been four consecutive races where I’ve had to retire while fighting for points.
“But this isn’t going to bring me down. I’m going to keep pushing and show my good performances whenever I can, like I did yesterday in qualifying for example…
“We know that this world is sometimes like this and I’m sure this unlucky streak will come to an end soon – hopefully in Monza!”