Lewis Hamilton calls Max Verstappen's style a 'breath of fresh air'

Trevor Jackson
April 11, 2017

Ricciardo's Australian Grand Prix was a disaster following his crash in qualifying and a grid penalty and his eventual retirement in the race after just 25 laps.

Red Bull team boss Christina Horner says that Max Verstappen's early charge in the Chinese GP was remarkable, as the Dutchman took advantage of a damp track to charge up to third by the time the safety auto intervened.

Verstappen's display evoked memories of his charge through the pack in the rain at last year's Brazilian Grand Prix, where he charged from 14th to third in just 14 laps, leading Horner to believe he is "right up there" among the greatest wet-weather drivers in F1 history.

"He appears to have nearly a sixth sense in the wet. He doesn't seem intimidated by it in any way, and is prepared to explore all the boundaries of the circuit available to find where the grip is", Horner told reporters after the race, via The Telegraph. "If we could score some nice points that would be positive but then the first lap was very challenging. It's a lot harder to do that when you're in the lead of a race obviously because you can't do much overtaking".

"I think I passed nine cars".

"I say we probably haven't found the right set-up but we've had enough time now, so I'd say we're still lacking and I would say it's a bit of overall downforce".

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But his tyres soon began to wear and his only mistake of the race came when he went in too deep at the penultimate corner to allow Vettel through.

Verstappen, son of former racer Jos, has taken Formula One by storm since he made his debut two years ago as a 17-year-old. "Max has obviously done a fantastic job since he's been in the sport and I think he's been a real breath of fresh air for everyone".

But Red Bull driver Ricciardo said he is happy Ferrari won the season opener, because he thinks Mercedes will in fact be the stronger title contender this year. His Ferrari team pulled him into the pits to change to slick tyres on just the second lap following the deployment of the virtual safety vehicle as Lance Stroll was punted out of the race by Sergio Perez.

Verstappen, who has established himself as a wet-weather ace, lost a place to Sebastian Vettel, but gained one back from teammate Daniel Ricciardo, whose own fourth place finish made it a good day for the team.

"At the moment we don't have enough rear grip, downforce basically", the Australian told reporters in Shanghai "To be honest, I don't know if it's we don't have enough or we just haven't set the auto up in the right way".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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