The youngest driver to start a Formula One race showed all the maturity of a veteran to overcome a tropical downpour and find the right lines in the final session to secure the best starting position by a teenager since 1961.
“I studied the lines from last year so that helped me already a bit,” the Dutch youngster said after matching his father and former F1 racer Jos’s career best qualifying position.
“I think the most important thing is to just stay cool and do your lap,” he told Sky television. “It was a good start for me as I always enjoy driving in the rain. All in all, I can be really happy about getting P6.”
Verstappen explained that the conditions were similar to those he had experienced early on in his racing career.
“It’s kind of go-kart lines. In the braking, you go a bit off line and then you cut across. I did exactly the same. I only had three laps so didn’t have a lot of time to see where I had to go. It paid off,” he added.
Father Jos, who had two podium finishes in a Formula One career spanning eight years and achieved his best grid position of sixth with Benetton at the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix, was not surprised by his son’s achievement.
“I am very proud of that. He has to do a lot better than I did in my career,” he said. “I try to help him everywhere possible. I speak to him a little bit before he goes out. I’m just here to think for him as well because of his little experience.”
“But he has to do it himself. He did an incredible job and I’m happy with what he’s doing. But there are still a lot of things to learn.”