Max Verstappen turned in one of the finest performances of his Formula 1 career so far by fighting through to third place in Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.
Verstappen, 19, qualified fourth at Interlagos, but made an excellent start in wet conditions to pass both Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg in the opening stages.
The Dutchman somehow kept his car out of the wall despite spinning at over 150 mph heading onto the main straight, as well as ensuring he did not lose a position to Rosberg behind.
Through red flags and safety cars, Verstappen remained a threat up front, but a heavy rain shower with 28 laps to go forced him to pit for wet tires and drop down the order.
Verstappen was undeterred, though, producing one of the finest recovery drives in recent F1 history by finding grip in places where other drivers seemed to be struggling to keep in a straight line.
This supreme confidence allowed Verstappen to rise all the way up to third place at the checkered flag, as well as bagging the fastest lap of the race.
“It was an incredible race,” Verstappen said on the podium after the race.
“With the red flags, difficult conditions, especially the last straight, really slippery. On the final restart I managed to overtake Nico and I was in quite a comfortable position over there.
“Then I had a massive moment. I clipped the curb, locked all four wheels, managed to keep it out of guardrail. Continued still in second.
“Then we decided to pit for intermediates but unfortunately it started to rain afterwards so it didn’t work out. Then I was like 14th or 15th.
“Then had some great overtakes so to be on the podium is of course amazing. I couldn’t see. I had to take another line!”
The result sees Verstappen move to within five points of Sebastian Vettel in the drivers’ championship, giving him a chance to beat the four-time world champion to fourth in the final standings.