It may have been Lewis Hamilton that won the race in Brazil this past weekend, and it may have been Felipe Massa who got the impromptu pitlane standing ovation, but there's no doubt that Max Verstappen earned his share of the plaudits at Interlagos. After ending up with an additional pit stop on his strategy that meant he had a lot of work to do to get back into the points, Verstappen set about doing that hard work... and he made it look easy.
Time after time, he dived to the inside or the outside of a car in his way and zoomed past, finding grip where others couldn't and overtaking lines where no one thought it possible. Incredibly, the Dutch driver finished in third place, taking home a trophy after a well fought journey through the field.
Team boss Christian Horner said: "His move earlier in the race on Rosberg was brave, skilful and totally courageous and later in the race the inter tyre looked like the tyre to be on. We could see others starting to go quicker and we took the gamble and then the rain just intensified slightly, particularly around Turn 12. We had to abort that and fit a new set of extremes and then it was over to Max."
And Max himself was having a lot of fun out there, he said afterwards: "There was no way we could carry on so had to pit again for wets. From there on the race was really good fun, plenty of overtakes around the outside because if you stay behind them there’s too much spray, I had to find another line. I just kept my head down and managed to get past quite a few cars in the remaining laps. I could hear the crowd going crazy when my engineer was on the radio, so I’m very thankful for the Brazilian fans for getting behind me. At the end when I crossed the line it felt like a victory."
It was also embarrassing for Daniel Ricciardo, in the same car, on the same tyres and pitting around the same time in the same position. He couldn't make his way through the field in the same style, putting some of the blame on a fogged up visor that made his visibility even poorer. However, it's a startling sight to see Verstappen on the podium and Ricciardo having to settle for eighth place.