Verstappen claims first podium of the season in Spain
Max Verstappen put his troubles behind him to claim third place in the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday.
After crashes in each of the last two races, Verstappen raced a fairly lonely race around the Barcelona circuit, jumping the two Ferraris as Kimi Raikkonen retired and Sebastian Vettel pitted under the final virtual safety car, dropping him to fourth.
The Dutchman almost came a cropper during that same VSC period though, getting the jump of Lance Stroll, clipping the back of the Williams and damaging his front wing, though he admitted it didn't do him much harm.
The other Red Bull, Daniel Ricciardo similarly raced a quiet afternoon to fifth spot, but after a spin under the VSC, managed to post the fastest lap of the race in the closing stages.
For Verstappen, it was his first podium of the season and a great response after crashes in China and Azerbaijan.
"To come back and get on the podium is really nice," he said. "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."
Ricciardo added: “It was certainly a strange race. At the beginning we had good pace and it seemed like Kimi was a bit slower than Max and myself. I thought I was faster than them but then once they picked up the pace I wasn’t really able to go with them.
"I also had a spin on the VSC re-start, struggling to keep heat in the tyres, which really put me out of the race. Fortunately there were no walls but it put me in no-man’s land. There were moments where the car was really fast but it was just too difficult to get it every lap. I would set the fastest lap and then the next lap I would nearly spin.
"There is potential but it’s just hard to extract consistently at the moment, so we have some more to learn with this new package. In the end, it was a pretty boring race but I’m going to take some positives from the potential we have."