March 29, 2015
Max Verstappen finished the Malaysian Grand Prix in seventh, with his team-mate Carlos Sainz right behind him in eighth, the Spaniard ensuring he has a 100% record for finishing in the points in his two race F1 career! While there was a feeling the first round in Melbourne had not been a thriller, today's 56 laps of the Sepang circuit produced an interesting race, an unexpected winner and 10 points for Scuderia Toro Rosso. In addition, at the age of 17 years 5 months and 27 days, Max Verstappen becomes the youngest F1 points scorer in history.
Today's 10 points plus the 2 from Melbourne currently puts us fifth in the Constructors' classification, 2 points behind Sauber. Fifth is our target for the season and this is where we are two races into the season. For now we can enjoy what has been a successful start to our 2015 campaign.
Carlos got a great start, going from fifteenth on the grid to eleventh, by the end of the opening lap. Max dropped a few positions at the start on the Medium tyres, but as the Safety Car was needed on lap 4, Max pitted and switched to Hards. The Dutchman found the Prime tyre much more to his liking and from then on had a great race, running the more conventional three stop strategy and making his next two stops on laps 20 and 40. Carlos on the other hand ran really long, not pitting until lap 14, when lying sixth, having run as high as fourth as others around him changed tyres. He would only make one more stop for fresh rubber, a tactic he had in common with just one other driver, the race winner Sebastian Vettel. Carlos' final tyre change came on lap 32, leaving him 24 laps to run to the flag. A two-stopper in the heat of Malaysia is quite an achievement and proves that Carlos delivered a truly mature performance, managing his tyres well, as indeed did his team-mate.
The most telling part of our great result today was pointed out by Team Principal Franz Tost, namely that we finished behind the three top teams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Williams. And yes, the Ferrari name comes first, because Sebastian Vettel took a sensational victory for the Prancing Horse in his second grand prix with the team. It was an emotional day for the four times world champion, as he stood on the podium listening to the German and Italian national anthems for the first time since...he won the Italian Grand Prix with Toro Rosso back in 2008.