Max Verstappen made no secret of his delight after scoring his best result in Formula 1 to date in the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, finishing fourth.
Verstappen made his F1 debut at the beginning of the season at just 17 years old, but has proved that his age is not a sign of inexperience by producing a string of impressive displays.
The Dutchman managed to pick his way through the field in Hungary on Sunday before rising to fourth thanks to a number of incidents involving the front runners, giving himself a boost ahead of the mid-season break.
“Unbelievable – I didn’t expect that at all after my start,” Verstappen told NBCSN after the race.
“At the end of the race I had a bit of front wing damage, so even had to do a drive through, but to finish fourth… no words.
“I think in my second stint everything was going quite well. The guys behind me were not catching up and I was quite comfortable in the car. After the safety car restart, a lot of touching in front of me, crashing. I also had a touch so I had a bit of front wing damage.
“Towards the end, I was asking my engineer for what position are we racing, he said P4, I was like ‘what happened in front of me?'”
Verstappen explained how the result capped off a good first half-season in F1 that has seen him amass 22 points.
“I’m unbelievably happy with P4,” Verstappen said. “Now completely perfect [first half of the season].
“Before it was quite okay, but now with a P4 it’s really good.”
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.