Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said Max Verstappen's start to the Russian grand Prix was so impressive he made his rivals look like they were driving in the wet. Forced to start 19th on the grid, Verstappen made up 10 laps in four laps, going on to finish fifth.
A change of power unit put Verstappen and Red Bull team-mate Danie Ricciardo to the back of the grid, but they were able to secure a decent points haul regardless thanks to extended opening stints on soft tyres.
Verstappen's drive was especially impressive, working his way to fifth by the eighth lap and going on to lead the race for longer than any driver, ultimately dropping back behind the Mercedes and Ferraris after pitting.
Asked about Verstappen's first few laps, Horner said: "They were mega. His 21st birthday today and he drove like a veteran.
"By the time he got to lap seven he's in P5. That was one of the most outstanding first few laps we've seen for a long time.
"There's always risks, but he was very assertive, and it looked like the start of a wet race at the start of the grand prix, the way he was able to pass cars inside, outside, and very, very quickly and efficiently.
"He's driven some great races, but this was an attacking race. He then led from lap 14 all the way to lap 42. And he was able to manage the tyres extremely well. It was just a shame we had to stop."
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