Max Verstappen admitted that squeezing into the tail-end of the points was as much as was possible for Toro Rosso on a tough day at Interlagos, but the Dutch prodigy was at least able to celebrate another addition to his overtaking repertoire.
Verstappen started ninth and finished tenth in the Brazilian Grand Prix – before being promoted another position by the disqualification of local favourite Felipe Massa – but struggled from a lack of pace on the long straights, leaving him vulnerable to attack from his midfield rivals.
“It was a very tough race – I was attacking but then, behind, they were attacking me,” he acknowledged before Massa's fate was known, “All race, I was pushing as hard as I could but, in the end, to come away with one point was the maximum we could do today. Of course, it's not what we want [in the championship fight] against Lotus, but we have to be realistic…”
There were times when the teenager's frustration showed through – “it was very difficult to defend against a Force India and Lotus unfortunately and, when you see the guys behind catching up so easily on the straights, you just get frustrated, especially as the car was great in the corners” – but the main talking point of his afternoon was the brace of passes around the outside of turn one, where both Sergio Perez and Felipe Nasr fell prey to the Toro Rosso.
“I just do what I think I have to do and , in the end, age doesn't matter,” he said nonchalantly, when asked how he managed to pull off such moves as a rookie, “It was very difficult because, at the start, I couldn't attack because we just didn't have enough straight-line speed but then, at one point, 'Checo' was struggling a little bit with his tyres, and I got a very good exit out of the last corner, used all the power I had and braked around the outside into turn one.
“It was very tricky but, in the end, we managed to pull it off. It was all very close and I think I even touched with 'Checo' a little bit. But we didn't have any damage so we gave each other just enough room and I think it was fair racing.”