Max Verstappen’s sensational rookie season in Formula 1 continued in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix as he matched his best race result, finishing fourth at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
Verstappen, 18, made his F1 debut at the beginning of the year after just one year in single seater racing, but has proven his ability with a series of impressive performances in 2015 that show an ability beyond his years.
The Dutchman qualified well at COTA on Sunday morning before spending his race battling well up the order, pitting under the first safety car to give himself fresh tires and track position.
Although he was unable to hold off the charging Sebastian Vettel and claim his maiden podium finish, Verstappen crossed the line in fourth place to match his best result from the Hungarian Grand Prix in July.
“It was a bit of a crazy race,” Verstappen told NBCSN after the race. “The start, [I] didn’t have the best getaway. Then I just dived up the inside and I think I took three guys or something, was very good.
“he pace wasn’t too bad. Struggled the first lap but then we could keep up with the Ferraris, but was stuck behind the Force India because the straight line speed they had was quite impressive.
“From there on I had a lot of enjoyable battles, especially with Raikkonen. I enjoyed that one a lot, maybe he didn’t but surely I did. From there I didn’t make any mistakes. We did right call to switch to slick tires. The team did a very good strategy.
“It was very difficult because you didn’t want to go too early. Then you lose a lot of time. Wait and see when someone else goes. Someone else was, it was not too bad, and I said now we go.”
Verstappen admitted that he did not fight with Vettel for third at the end due to his fading tires, but was delighted with another fourth place finish.
“For sure, I was not fighting Sebastian,” he said. “I was just trying to save the tires. It was quite a risky move to go with the softs for so long. But we managed it.
“The points we’ve scored is quite impressive for the moment. I’m very happy with that and hopefully score some more in upcoming races.”