Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner says that Spanish Grand Prix third place will give a confidence boost to Max Verstappen for upcoming European races. The Dutchman made his first season podium finish at Barcelona after a difficult beginning to the year.
Sebastian Vettel made a good start from P3 and managed to pass front-row starter Valtteri Bottas who slotted into third ahead of Kimi Räikkönen (who retired mid-stint of the race following engine trouble) and the Red Bulls.
During the final VSC period Ferrari decided to pit Vettel for new mediums. The German rejoined in fourth place between Max and Daniel as Bottas moved into P2 ahead of Max.
The Dutch driver hit trouble soon after the VSC withdrew, however. Attempting to pass backmarker Lance Stroll he clipped the rear of the Williams and damaged his front wing.
The damage might have given Vettel hope of a return to a podium position, but after being told by his race engineer that his wing was structurally sound despite damage to the end plate, Max drove around any problems and actually stretched his advantage over Vettel to 2.7s.
— Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) May 13, 2018
Finally Max finished third at the Circuit de Catalunya to stand on the podium for the first time in F1 2018, holding off Vettel.
“It’s a great booster for Max to stand on the podium for the first time this year,” Horner told Sky Sports F1.
“He’s had a difficult start to the season, so starting a new chapter in Europe I think will really settle him and send him on his way.”
“I think we had a very fast race car again today. Our problem is we have got to do a better job on Saturdays, we have got to get further up the grid,” Horner said.
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) May 13, 2018
“Starting fifth and sixth, you are in the dirty air, you’re in the mess at the start, and I think if we can just get a little higher up the grid then bigger results are going to come.”
“We’re looking forward to Monaco. The car has been strong in sector three which is usually a good indication for a track like Monaco. Both drivers have always gone well around there. It’s an opportunity for us.”