6 great sport channels
Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Max Verstappen was overjoyed to secure an astounding race victory at the Spanish Grand Prix.
With Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton having crashed into one another and out of the race on the opening lap, Verstappen emerged as the triumphant competitor from a Red Bull-Ferrari battle at the Circuit de Catalunya.
The 18-year-old Dutchman becomes the youngest winner in the history of Formula 1.
"It feels amazing," said Verstappen, following his maiden outing as a driver with Red Bull's senior team. "I can’t believe it. It was a great race.
"I have to say thank you to the team for giving me such a great car to win straight away in the first race - (it's an) amazing feeling."
Asked whether his father and mentor, Jos, would be proud of his triumph, Verstappen said: "I think so. From a very young age, my Dad helped me a lot to achieve this.”
With strategy calls damaging the hopes of Sebastian Vettel (3rd) and Daniel Ricciardo (4th), Verstappen was forced to defend from the charging Kimi Raikkonen (2nd) late on.
"This race felt like an endurance race to me, especially the last 10 laps. I couldn't believe that I was leading the race.
"Today, everything went well. I could hold on to the tyres, and I think we did the best strategy possible, and, yeah, I can’t believe it."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner called Verstappen's win "an unbelievable achievement.”
The Englishman added: “We’re in shock from our side.
“We know this year that our races have been reasonably competitive, and the updates we brought have done their job, but to see this kind of result is a dream come true, a dream debut.
“We took the opportunity with Mercedes not being there, but we had to cover Ferrari today - they probably had the faster car in clean air.
"So, for Max to soak up all that pressure … he didn’t make a single mistake, not just today but all weekend. And at only 18? It’s unbelievable.”
By David Maher