SEPANG, Malaysia, March 29 (Reuters) - Max Verstappen’s rush into the record books continued on Sunday when the 17-year-old Dutch driver became Formula One’s youngest ever points scorer with seventh place for Toro Rosso at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The glamour sport’s youngest racer had already paved the way by matching the best qualifying position of his father, former Formula One driver Jos, by starting a dizzying sixth on the grid in Sepang.
That in itself was the best qualifying performance by a teenager since 19-year-old Mexican Ricardo Rodriguez in 1961.
“It was a good day. The first few laps were a bit difficult for me, I struggled a bit with the brakes and the tyres,” Verstappen told reporters. “But when we went on to hard tyres, it worked much better.
“I found good balance and good rhythm. From there, the car felt great.”
The youngster made a poor start and opted to pit during an early safety car period, but battled back to end the race just one spot behind his qualifying position and ahead of Spanish team mate Carlos Sainz.
The two Red Bulls of Daniil Kvyat, the previous youngest points scorer who made his debut as a 19-year-old with Toro Rosso last year, and Daniel Riciardo were ninth and 10th.
As was the case after qualifying, Jos Verstappen beamed with pride at his son’s performance and stressed that the points were richly deserved.
“I’m very pleased with what he has done today and I’m most of all happy for himself that he finished the race and the way he raced. I think he deserved it,” the older Verstappen told the BBC.
“You could see he was struggling a bit at the beginning of the race as he lacked confidence with his brakes. The team did an incredible job to call him in when the safety car was there and you saw after that he went into the groove, consistent and he kept going.
“He did some very good overtaking and I’m very proud,” added the Dutchman, who secured two podiums in a Formula One career that spanned eight seasons.
“I think Red Bull are doing an incredible job, physically and mentally the way they treat him, the way he feels at home in the team. He has to be better than me.” (Editing by Alan Baldwin)
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