Formula 1

Max Verstappen hails Honda reliability after third place finish in Melbourne

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Max Verstappen Australian Grand Prix
Credit: Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images / Mark Thompson

Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen finished third in the Australian Grand Prix after an interesting on track battle with Scuderia Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel.

Dutch prospect Verstappen climbed from fourth on the grid to finish third and landed a place on the podium for the team.

His third placed finish was earned after an energising display in the RB15 and an engaging battle with Vettel.

Verstappen eventually came out on top after he overtook the experienced German with a terrific move on the outside as the pair raced into turn three at Albert Park.

The youngster also came close to challenging Mercedes-AMG Petronas driver Lewis Hamilton, finishing the race just 1.6 seconds behind the Brit.

“To be able to challenge Lewis at the end of the race and overtake Seb on-track, which around here is very difficult, is very positive.

“We had a little advantage with the tyres but it was satisfying to pressure Lewis even though I couldn’t get quite close enough to overtake him.

“The car was working really well and we also look strong on the straights which is hopefully a good sign for the rest of the season.”

Verstappen’s podium finish also marks the start of a new era for Honda as it’s their first podium as an engine supplier in the V6 age.

It was a convincing performance from the Japanese engine supplier, who last saw their engine on the podium in 2008 when Rubens Barrichello finished third at Silverstone.

And Verstappen was left impressed with the new look Red Bull power unit and added: “I am very happy for the Team and also for Honda to finish on the podium today.

“Since we started working together it has been amazing and I am really enjoying the partnership, so this is a well-deserved third place for all of us.

“I heard this is the first podium for Honda since 2008 so I am very happy that I managed to achieve this for them today.”

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