Verstappen in disbelief over maiden F1 victory

© Getty Images

Max Verstappen was in a state of disbelief after becoming the youngest winner in Formula 1 history on Sunday by beating Kimi Raikkonen to Spanish Grand Prix victory.

Verstappen, 18, joined Red Bull for the race in Barcelona as a shock replacement for Daniil Kvyat, but the move immediately paid off as the Dutchman swept to a dominant win.

A first-lap crash for the two Mercedes drivers left Red Bull and Ferrari to fight for the race win, and when both Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel opted for a three-stop strategy, the race was Verstappen’s to lose.

The Dutchman soaked up the pressure piled on by Raikkonen in the closing stages to cross the line first and break Sebastian Vettel’s eight-year record for the youngest race winner.

Taking to the podium after the race, Verstappen – who only became old enough to drink the winner’s champagne last September – admitted that he could not believe he had won.

“It feels amazing,” Verstappen said. “I can’t believe it.

“It was a great race. I have to say thank you to the team for giving me such a great car. To win straight away in the first race, it’s an amazing feeling.”

Verstappen took a moment to thank his father, Jos, who also raced in F1 but never won a grand prix.

“I think so,” Verstappen said when asked if his father would be proud.

“From a very young age, my Dad helped me a lot. To achieve this: amazing.”

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”