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Verstappen: Spain Podium ‘Nice Turning Point’ After Rough 2018 Start

By Joey Barnes, Editor-in-Chief

Max Verstappen enjoyed a solid day at the office after successfully overcoming front wing damage to claim the final spot on the podium for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The third-place result at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is easily his best performance of the 2018 Formula 1 season, which saw the 20-year-old Dutchman retire twice in the opening four races and only muster a previous best of fifth (Chinese Grand Prix).

“I always feel quite good on this track and today has been a nice turning point after the first few races where it hasn’t gone to plan,” said Verstappen.

“To come back and get on the podium is really nice. The car behaved really well all race on both soft and medium tires. It felt balanced and had good pace so I was confident I could push on and achieve a good result. We lost a bit too much time at the beginning behind Kimi (Raikkonen) and it would have been hard to overtake him. We got a bit lucky with him having the problem and therefore allowing us to get an extra place and increase our speed.

“After that I could settle down and concentrate on my own race. I saw Sebastian (Vettel) approaching but I knew I had relatively fresh tires so it would be hard for him to overtake, this allowed me to manage the situation quite well.”

Additionally, the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing pilot had an incident with Williams’ Lance Stroll, which came under the Virtual Safety Car period. The contact knocked out the left endplate of the RB14’s front wing, but couldn’t deter Verstappen of scoring the team’s 150th podium in F1.

“I had some damage to the front wing which luckily didn’t affect the performance too much,” added Verstappen.

“The piece fell off and it only meant a small amount of oversteer so I was able to keep a solid pace and bring it home in third place. We were quick here in the last sector, which is all low speed corners so looking ahead to Monaco we can hope for a good result.

“We will concentrate on the set-up, get a good balance and hopefully put ourselves in with a real chance.”

As it stands, Verstappen sits sixth in the championship standings, 62 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton (95-33).

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Joey Barnes is the Founder of Motorsports Tribune. He has covered auto racing since 2013 that has spanned from Formula 1 to NASCAR, with coverage on IndyCar. Additionally, his work has appeared on Racer, and Autoweek magazine. In 2017, he was recognized with an award in Spot News Writing by the National Motorsports Press Association.