In the wake of Max Verstappen’s shock maiden grand prix victory in Spain two weeks ago, four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has reflected on his own early success in the sport, saying it can be “difficult to grasp”.
Verstappen became the youngest winner in F1 history at the age of 18 in Barcelona, breaking Vettel’s record that had stood since the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.
Both drivers were members of the Red Bull junior programme, making their way through Toro Rosso before racing for the energy drink giant’s senior F1 team.
When asked by NBC Sports in Wednesday’s pre-Monaco FIA press conference for his thoughts on Verstappen’s success, Vettel noted that at the same age he was only racing in Formula 3.
“I was in Formula Three so I can’t possibly share…” he said.
“But yeah, in both cases probably the circumstances were very new. It wasn’t an expected win, probably little bit less for me at the time.
“Still, I think your first grand prix win is something. You’re over the moon. Something very difficult to grasp.
“I’m sure he felt now how it was and he wants to do it again. That’s how I felt back then.
“It’s up to all the rest of us to ensure it doesn’t happen too often.”
Verstappen has been subject to a great media focus in his native Netherlands after becoming the nation’s first grand prix winner.
“Yeah, it was pretty crazy in Holland,” Verstappen said.
“The first Dutch winner I think it’s always very special, so I can call myself now the youngest and the oldest – something I’m the oldest in!
“Luckily, I didn’t go out too much in Holland on the streets, just enjoying my time a bit with family and friend but of course hopefully we’ll see more fans [at races], that’s for sure.”