Verstappen retakes third spot in the championship after Barcelona podium

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen once again showed he was the 'best of the rest' behind the dominant Mercedes duo as he claimed third in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

Starting fourth, the Dutchman passed Sebastian Vettel's Ferrari around the outside of Turn 3 after the German had missed out on the chance to pass Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton at the first corner.

Verstappen held of the Ferrari pair at the safety car

Verstappen held of the Ferrari pair at the safety car

From there, Verstappen put a comfortably cushion between himself and the chasing Ferrari duo, while unable to keep in touch with Bottas and leader Hamilton.

He said: "At the start it was quite hectic with three cars going into one corner, so I decided to back out of it, but actually in the end I had a good line out of Turn 2 into Turn 3. To take P3 in that corner was very crucial as from there on I could do my own pace and strategy, which worked out well.

"The Mercedes cars were out of reach, but we were very consistent and we’re of course happy to be on the podium. Everybody is very motivated to close the gap and we will try a few things in the test next week that can give us a better direction in which way to work.”

Team-mate Pierre Gasly had another fairly uneventful race in sixth spot, but nearly managed to snatch fifth from Charles Leclerc after the Monegasque driver was sluggish at the safety car restart.

"I tried to push as much as I could but I couldn’t keep up with the Ferraris in front of me," said the Frenchman. "At the Safety Car restart, I tried a move on Charles but I couldn’t make it stick. It was a pretty good fight and I think at the start we actually touched in Turn 3. In the end, it’s good to score some points."

Verstappen's podium finish, his second of the season, sees him jump back into third spot while Gasly remains sixth.