Max Verstappen has expressed his delight at his fifth place finish in Sochi this weekend. The twenty-one year old Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver started nineteenth on the grid as a result of penalties, but was able to work his way back up into the points in the first few laps.
“To come from the back and finish fifth was a very good result. I had a good start, a good first lap and from then onwards we could go through the traffic more easily that expected and also manage the tyres very well,” said Verstappen.
“It was a bit tricky at the start because Pierre [Gasly] stalled in front of me and I had to go around him.”
Good timing by the Red Bull team meant that Verstappen was able to work his way up the grid, while still being in the pit window of rivals Scuderia Ferrari and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
“Then going into Turn 2 we were careful not to have any contact and after the first eight laps we were fifth and still in the pit stop window of Ferrari and Mercedes. After they pitted they couldn’t get past me.”
The Dutchman had an exception recovery drive, having started near the back of the field.
“Unexpectedly, I was in the lead of the race and was able to keep them behind me which shows that we really had very good pace, even on old tyres. Then, once we stopped, we just had to bring it home.”
Verstappen said he was pleased with his result, but had not been expecting much.
“Today was better than expected, so I hope the rest of the races this season will also be better than we expect. I enjoyed myself out there and this is a good result for my birthday.”