The Dutch man was demoted to P13 following the engine change gird penalties but shot off the line with the bit firmly between his teeth.
Red Bull set a clever strategy and Verstappen made a perfect start with yellow wall soft compound, quickly moved up to P8 in the opening laps but found himself wheel to wheel with Massa at Turn 1 as the pair fought for position.
“I had a good start, immediately I was between the Sauber cars and then under braking I chose quite a good line, then out of turn two I got another position and it was all looking good. On lap three I had a touch with Massa and punctured my tyre so my race was really over.” Verstappen said.
“I had to pit for tyres and change the front wing which meant swapping to a two-stop strategy. I tried to catch up and the car was working pretty well, so we cannot complain about that. At least we finished the race and at the end of the day I think it wasn’t too bad to end up back in a point-scoring position after what happened at the start.”
Daniel Ricciardo who raced from 16th on the grid to finish fourth: “I’m very, very happy about the result and loved it out there today. It was good fun. Two of my favourite races this year have been starting from the back. Silverstone and this one. Some good overtakes in the race kept me excited and I had some real pace in the end. I could see Seb and the thought of a podium was tempting me, so I was obviously trying to catch him right up to the end.
The boys did the quickest pit stop and I also got the fastest lap so that’s very cool. You can almost call it a perfect day. We couldn’t have done much more from where we started. Of course I wanted to be up there on the podium as it looked unreal, but I believe it will come next year. Today has been a really good boost for everyone and we’re looking ahead to Singapore.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal: “A fantastic drive by Daniel today. After an imperfect start he fought all the way through the race and had good pace, good strategy and made some fantastic overtaking moves to finish within four seconds of Sebastian, just out of a podium place and fully deserved Driver of the Day.
Max was unlucky to get involved in a racing incident with Felipe (Massa) and as a result suffered a puncture. His pace was right there with Daniel’s today and it’s a shame that his race was compromised with that puncture on the third lap. Nonetheless he kept fighting and brought the car in the final points-scoring place.”