Max Verstappen Celebrates 20th Birthday in Style at last Malaysian GP
Max Verstappen celebrated his 20th birthday in sensational style by winning the last ever Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.
The Dutchman, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday, added to his maiden win at the 2016 Spanish GP by controlling the race from early on.
Starting from third, he benefited from Kimi Räikkönen’s early retirement before fending off an attack by Valterri Bottas in Turn 1. The crucial overtake on championship leader Lewis Hamilton came at the start of lap four and he never looked back to seal an important victory.
Verstappen was joined on the podium by teammate Daniel Ricciardo in third, with Red Bull Racing coming close to replicating their 1-2 from 12 months ago.
The Australian picked up his eighth podium of an impressive season after some fine defensive skills to hold of a charging Sebastien Vettel.
On his debut race for Scuderia Toro Rosso in F1 Pierre Gasly completed the race to finish 14th but teammate Carlos Sainz had to retire on lap 29 when looking good for a points finish.
MAX VERSTAPPEN, Finish Position: 1st, Start Position: 3rd
“It is amazing to win the race today. Straight away I could see our pace was good and that Lewis was struggling with traction. I just went for it and used all the battery power I could to get past him. I knew that he was fighting for the championship and wouldn’t take too many risks, so I went for it. As soon as I passed Lewis I knew from there onwards I could control the race. The car was really good and our pace on the soft tyre was better than I expected. It was a very physical race and very warm in the car, plus I haven’t been feeling that well this weekend but we managed to bring it home. You can never predict how the rest of the season will go but we keep improving the car and it is looking positive. So hopefully from now onwards we can build on this for the rest of the year and then have a good start to next season. I didn’t expect yesterday that we would be so quick today and to win here was unexpected, so I’m very happy.”