This race should become the template for the Dutchman moving forward: Feisty when the door was open to overtake Vettel, but controlled and measured otherwise. The Honda power unit has clearly made a step forward, given Verstappen split the Ferraris in qualifying, and then overtook one fairly comfortably, and Max looks well-set to take advantage.
Only denied a second straight podium visit thanks to the late Safety Car, it was another glut of points for the new Red Bull-Honda partnership. Being the third best team was the best they could hope as Ferrari and Mercedes were a class apart. It may have been undeserved to finish ahead of at least one of the four faster cars but give Verstappen a sniff of result and he’ll duly take it.
Chinese GP (Qual: 5th – Race: 4th) 7/10
Could have split the Ferraris on the grid if not for a timing blunder in Q3, but did so anyway thanks to the Scuderia's dithering and Red Bull's disruptive strategizing. Had a game effort at Vettel's P3 at Turn 14 – scene of their crash a year prior – but had to settle for fourth when the German nudged him out.
Azerbaijan GP (Qual: 4th – Race: 4th) 6/10
Three fourth-places in a row for the Dutchman, who might have had a sniff for third but for the VSC brought on by teammate Gasly's retirement. Although it will be replicated by rivals, it will be interesting to see if upgrades in Spain will bring Verstappen closer to those battling for pole position and victory.
Spanish GP (Qual: 4th - Race: 3rd) 8/10
Once again, Verstappen got the absolute maximum out of the RB15 and then a little more. This was evidence of the Dutchman's growing maturity too, holding back a shade off the line and then pouncing once Vettel had made an error and blocked Leclerc in the process, sweeping by the red cars and putting himself in position to take a second podium of the year against the odds.
Monaco GP (Qual: 3rd - Race: 4th) 9/10
The Dutchman can't be blamed for the penalty picked up for an unsafe pit release – when the team says go, a driver must go. For him to have kept such intense pressure on Hamilton for as long as he did, without a costly error spoiling his and the Mercedes man's efforts, shows the Dutchman's maturity is matching his talent. Had Hamilton cracked under that pressure – many would have – then he might have capitalised big time. A fine response after last year's low point at this race.
Canadian GP (Qual: 11th - Race: 5th) 6/10
Caught out by Magnussen's Q2 crash, having tried – and failed – to set a good enough time to start the race on medium tyres. Ended up with free choice of compound after all and made expected progress to fifth, but got no further.
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