Max Verstappen has expressed relief at finally claiming a podium position in the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix, despite making contact with Lance Stroll late in the race.
Verstappen showed good pace early in the race to apply pressure on Kimi Räikkönen before the Finn retired with mechanical failure. When the other Scuderia Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel made a surprise second pit-stop, Verstappen was able to hold him off to the finish, despite missing part of his front wing.
“I always feel quite good on this track and today has been a nice turning point after the first few races where it hasn’t gone to plan,” said Verstappen. “To come back and get on the podium is really nice.
“The car behaved really well all race on both soft and medium tyres. It felt balanced and had good pace so I was confident I could push on and achieve a good result.
“We lost a bit too much time at the beginning behind Kimi and it would have been hard to overtake him. We got a bit lucky with him having the problem and therefore allowing us to get an extra place and increase our speed.
“After that I could settle down and concentrate on my own race. I saw Sebastian approaching but I knew I had relatively fresh tyres so it would be hard for him to overtake, this allowed me to manage the situation quite well.
“I had some damage to the front wing which luckily didn’t affect the performance too much. The piece fell off and it only meant a small amount of oversteer so I was able to keep a solid pace and bring it home in third place.”
Verstappen’s first podium of the year will give the young Dutchman confidence heading to the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, for which Aston Martin Red Bull Racing are among the favourites for victory.
“We were quick here in the last sector which is all low speed corners so looking ahead to Monaco we can hope for a good result. We will concentrate on the set-up, get a good balance and hopefully put ourselves in with a real chance.”