In his first race with Red Bull, Verstappen took over the lead at the halfway mark and then had to withstand immense pressure from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen throughout the second half of the Grand Prix. He remained unfazed throughout though, eventually holding on to beat Raikkonen by 0.6s – and become the youngest winner in history in the process.
“An unbelievable achievement,” Horner said after the race. “We’re in shock from our side.
“We know this year that our races have been reasonably competitive, and the updates we brought have done their job… but to see this kind of result is a dream come true, a dream debut.
“We took the opportunity with Mercedes not being there, but we had to cover Ferrari today – they probably had the faster car in clean air. So for Max to soak up all that pressure… he didn’t make a single mistake, not just today but all weekend. And at only 18? Unbelievable.”
Speaking on the podium, where the Dutch national anthem played for a winner for the first time in F1, Verstappen said he too was struggling to take in his accomplishments.
“It feels amazing. I cannot believe it,” he said. “It was a great race. I have to say thanks to the team for making such a great car.
“To win straight away in the first race is an amazing feeling.”
At 18 years and 228 days, Verstappen is two years and 210 days younger than the previous youngest winner, Sebastian Vettel.