Max Verstappen admitted that he did not expect to finish as high as fourth in his first qualifying session as a Red Bull Racing driver in Barcelona on Saturday.
Ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix, Red Bull announced that Verstappen, 18, would be moving up to its senior team with immediate effect from Toro Rosso, with Daniil Kvyat moving in the opposite direction.
Verstappen made an instant impact in practice, finishing within two-tenths of a second of new teammate Daniel Ricciardo in both FP1 and FP2.
The Dutchman even outpaced Ricciardo in Q1 and Q2 before ultimately being edged out in the final session, but still managed to qualify an excellent fourth.
The result not only marked the best in qualifying of Verstappen’s Formula 1 career so far, but also matched the highest starting position for a Dutch driver in the sport’s history.
“I enjoyed the qualifying, it was getting better with every lap,” Verstappen said.
“For me the target today was to enjoy myself and I had a good feeling in the car. I focused on what I had to do and it worked.
“I’m happy, I didn’t expect to adapt to the car so quickly. I didn’t expect to be on the second row, so it’s a positive feeling.
“We are close to a podium and hopefully we can keep our positions in tomorrow’s race.”
The Spanish Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and Live Extra from 7am ET on Sunday.