F1: Max Verstappen thankful for Red Bull opportunity

Max Verstappen speaks of his surprise at the sudden Red Bull opportunityIBTimes UK

Dutch Formula One revelation Max Verstappen visited his new team on 5 May, going to the Red Bull Racing factory in Milton Keynes after being promoted to Red Bull from its sister Toro Rosso team with immediate effect. While the 18-year-old Verstappen steps up to Red Bull Racing, Russia's Daniil Kvyat loses his Red Bull Racing seat and returns to the Red Bull-owned Toro Rosso team with which he entered Formula One in 2014.

Asked what he was expecting from the step up from the Toro Rosso car to Red Bull, Verstappen replied: "Well, hopefully it will be faster, that's the main target. I just hope [for] a comfortable feeling in the car because that's what a driver needs, and so we'll find out in Barcelona."

He added that he had never driven the Red Bull Racing car, so there will be a lot to learn in his first race − the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona on 15 May. Verstappen is being rewarded for the form that he has shown throughout his Formula One career of just over a year, but the shake-up also punishes Kvyat for a nightmare home grand prix last weekend.

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The only Russian currently on the starting grid, Kvyat has plenty of admirers but has also become embroiled in controversy. He has clashed twice in two races with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, the four times world champion whose place he took at Red Bull, and has struggled to match team mate Daniel Ricciardo's pace.

Vettel branded him a "madman" in China last month for an overtake at the start that triggered a collision between the Ferraris. Kvyat then collided twice with Vettel on the first lap of the Russian Grand Prix, punting the German driver into the barriers with a damaged car.

The incident also damaged the race of Kvyat's Red Bull team-mate Ricciardo, and prompted Vettel to stalk over to the Red Bull Racing pit and have a frank exchange with team principal Christian Horner about the collisions.

Verstappen said he was putting no extra pressure on himself for his first race.

"I go there with no expectations to be honest," he said. "I just want to adapt to the car, understand it better and better every session and like I said before, study a lot [of] the data and see what my team-mate is doing because the most important thing is to score points.

Of his promotion, he said: "Well, of course, I was very happy. A bit shocked as well − I didn't expect that, but yes, I'm very happy with the opportunity of course."

Verstappen was 2015 Rookie of the Year and is considered a champion of the future. Red Bull, determined to stave off interest in the young driver from other teams, had been expected to promote him anyway at the end of the season.

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