Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has finished up his strong season with a fifth consecutive podium finish, even though the Dutchman dropped down to tenth place on the grid at the start with an engine problem.
This season has been a defining one for the 21-year-old. He started very poorly, making a mistake nearly every weekend in some shape or form, either spinning his car or wrecking it. He came under a lot of criticism. The boiling point came in Monaco, a place where Red Bull were expected to win. Verstappen was shaping up to get the first pole position of his career and the first win of the season, until he crashed in FP3, wrecking his Red Bull and not being able to qualify.
Since then, the switch flipped. Consistency, determination and clinical driving were shown by Verstappen, who looked a different driver. He won in Austria at the Red Bull Ring, and won again in Mexico, getting more than ten podiums in total during the season.
On Sunday in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen started sixth and dropped to tenth as his engine was malfunctioning.
"It was not an easy race," he told David Coulthard track-side.
"I had a problem at the start: The launch was good, but my engine went into a safety program and I had it again during the restart.
"It was not easy, but we managed to come back to a good position and put some pressure on the guys ahead."
He went on to finish in third place, ahead of teammate Daniel Ricciardo.
"Our pit stop was quite early, but it had to be because I had started on the hypersoft tyres. We managed to keep the super soft alive and I had a good pace.
"The last few laps were not that easy, because I had Toro Rosso in front leaking oil onto my helmet, so I could not really see well but in the end, I am very happy with third place!”