Max writes history as youngest ever F1 point scorer
Published on 29 March 2015 by Stefan Meens
By finishing the Malaysian Grand Prix in seventh place, Max Verstappen has become the youngest ever Formula 1 driver to score points. In only his second race, the 17-year-old proved he is worthy of his place in the pinnacle of motor sport by pulling off several well placed overtaking manoeuvres before being classified as the highest placed driver powered by Renault. His Scuderia Toro Rosso team mate Carlos Sainz added to the team's successful weekend by finishing eighth.
“It went very well today”, says Max. “The first lap was a bit difficult and I didn’t want too take to many risks. After we switched to the harder tyres, things improved. Early on, I had some difficulties with the brakes but from about lap fifteen, the car was super. To finish ahead of both Red Bulls is a great result.”
Starting from sixth on the grid, Max is initially able to defend his place but after Daniil Kvyat goes wide in turn two, the Dutchman gets caught up in between a mixture of cars. The result is that both Felipe Massa and Nico Hulkenberg pass Max. Marcus Ericsson makes a move on the youngster going into turn 3, pushing Max wide.
The Sauber driver is not able to enjoy his gained position for long. At the end of the start/finish straight, the Swede outbrakes himself and beaches his car in the gravel traps at turn 1. In order to remove the Sauber safely, the safety car makes an appearance. The safety car phase, prompts several drivers, including Max, to visit to pits for a set of the harder Pirellis. Race leader Lewis Hamilton follows this strategy, subsequently giving Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel the lead, the latter deciding to stay out.
After his pits stop, Max finds himself in P12. After the track is given the all clear and racing resumes, the Toro Rosso driver works his way up into tenth, sandwiched in between the 'big brothers' Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo in their Red Bulls.
After a quarter of the race distance covered, several drivers that did not op the pit during the safety car, window head for fresh rubber, granting Max P7. In front of him, Ricciardo makes a small mistake in the second sector. Verstappen junior does not let the opportunity go to waste and overtakes the Red Bull driver into the sector's tight hairpin.
In lap 21, Max makes his second of three pit stops. Upon returning to track, he is again positioned in between both Red Bulls. Once again, he closes the gap to Ricciardo. With a move set up in turn 1 and completed in turn 2, the Dutchman seizes P10. In the following lap, Max also rounds up Hulkenberg by passing the Force India in the run down to turn 1.
The next man up the road is Toro Rosso colleague Sainz. In lap thirty, Max passes the Spaniard to move up into sixth. However, soon after, Max' STR10 is no match for the speed of Felipe Massa's Williams and the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen, throwing the 17-year-old back to eighth.
Nevertheless, Max is on the pace throughout the entire race, making both compounds work. In lap 49, he experiences a hairy moment. Upon approaching the pit lane for his third and final stop, Max misses the pit entry. After a short excursion through the grass, the youngster manages to reach his pit crew, who bolt on a set of mediums for the final stint.
Max resumes the race in eighth, with his team mate only a hand full of seconds ahead of him. In lap 49, Max passes Sainz for the second time this afternoon to claim seventh. Seven laps later, the Dutchman finishes his first ever Grand Prix and collectis his first championship points. With seven points on the board he is levelled with Sainz and Hulkenburg in the Drivers' standings.
At the front, the race did not turn into another Mercedes dominated Grand Prix. Instead, an emotional Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag in only his second race for Ferrari, beating second placed Lewis Hamilton and third placed Nico Rosberg.
At the back of the grid, there was a glimmer of hope for Manor. Despite not qualifying within the 107%, rule, the FIA allowed the team to start. Unfortunately for one of their drivers, Will Stevens, an issue with the fuel system prevented him from starting. However, his team mate Roberto Mehri finished the race, three laps behind winner Vettel. The German moves up into second place in the standings with 40 points. Hamilton still leads (43) with Rosberg remaining near the top of the table with 33 points.
P7 is a hard earned result for Max Verstappen who proved he was well prepared for the soaring heat that characterizes the Malaysian Grand Prix, “Physically it wasn’t as tough although it was getting pretty hot near the end of the race. But I drank a lot so in the end I coped well and I'm very happy with today's race”, concludes Max
Malaysian Grand Prix – Sepang International Circuit – Sunday 29 March
RACE RESULTS Driver Team 1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes + 8.569s 3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes + 12.310s 4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari + 53.822s 5 Valtteri Bottas Williams + 1m10.409s 6 Felipe Massa Williams + 1m13.586s 7 Max Verstappen Toro Rosso + 1m39.085s 8 Carlos Sainz Toro Rosso + 1 ronde 9 Daniil Kvyat Red Bull + 1 ronde 10 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull + 1 ronde 11 Romain Grosjean Lotus + 1 ronde 12 Felipe Nasr Sauber + 1 ronde 13 Sergio Perez Force India + 1 ronde 14 Nico Hulkenberg Force India + 1 ronde 15 Roberto Merhi Manor + 3 ronden - Pastor Maldonado Lotus DNF - Jenson Button McLaren DNF - Fernando Alonso McLaren DNF - Marcus Ericsson Sauber DNF - Will Stevens Manor DNS