RESULTS: Brazilian Grand Prix – Race results
Christian Horner says Max Verstappen's charging drive from 14th to the podium in the final laps of the treacherous Brazilian Grand Prix exhibited all the wet weather prowess of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher.
On an eventful afternoon for the 19 year-old Dutchman, Verstappen had already survived a heart-stopping high-speed half-spin mid-way through the race as he was running second only for his podium hopes to seemingly be scuppered by Red Bull erroneously placing him on intermediate tyres just before rain began to fall more heavily.
Forcing Verstappen to pit again for extreme wet weather tyres on lap 54 of 71, the youngster proceeded to reel of a series of stunning passing manoeuvres at unusual points on the Interlagos circuit, at times overtaking one car per lap as he charged up the order.
With scalps including his own team-mate Daniel Ricciardo – also on new tyres – and Sebastian Vettel, Verstappen was up to third place by lap 68, earning him huge adulation from the impressed Brazilian fans and high praise from across the paddock.
POINTS: The F1 Drivers' & Constructors' standings after the Brazilian GP
Indeed, it was Brazil's most famous son Senna that would be mentioned in relation to Verstappen's performance, with Red Bull boss Horner agreeing this could be his 'Senna 84 Monaco' or 'Schumacher Spain 96' moment.
“It is right up there, you have to compare it to those great moments,” he said. “You don't witness a motor race like that, and what we saw was something very, very special.”
Indeed, Horner was thrilled with his driver's performance and was gushing in praise for his efforts, not least his passes on Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg early on too.
“They don't get much better than that! After the race got underway he quickly moved past Kimi, a very decisive move into Turn 1, and you could see from that point onwards he meant business all afternoon. At the next restart, a fairly audacious move on Nico around the outside of Turn 3 was really only the start of things to come.
"After the restart and the red flag, it looked like the intermediate tires were looking like the tire to be on. As we have seen so many times, once you generate a bit of heat in those tyres, they are the much quicker tire. We elected to put Daniel on them initially, and immediately he started setting purple sectors and went a second quicker than anyone else, which promoted us to then take the risk and go for the change with Max.
“Unfortunately not long after that the rain just intensified very slightly, just enough to make the final sector pretty tricky. And then after another safety car we had the difficult decision to make to sacrifice track position versus going on to the safer tire.
“After discussing it with Max we decided to go onto the extreme, and so the same with Daniel. So both drivers had reasonably fresh sets fitted, and then it was really all over to him for those final 15 laps. He drove an incredible race; losing very little time in each of the passing moves he made to be able to finish the grand prix in third position demonstrated what a great talent he is.”
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