Max Verstappen says Mexican GP victory was 'one of easiest races'
Max Verstappen described the Mexican GP as "one of the easiest races of my career" after taking his third victory in Formula 1.
The Dutchman was in a league of his own around the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, forcing his way past pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel through the first two corners before finishing nearly 20 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
Verstappen had missed out on becoming F1's youngest-ever pole sitter on Saturday by 0.086 seconds and said that had spurred him on in Sunday's race.
"This was one of the easiest races of my career," Verstappen told Sky Sports F1.
"I felt I missed out yesterday so I felt I had to make it right today.
"I was so far in front I thought 'let's cut the corner and get a five-second penalty to make it a bit more interesting'. It was a good race and after last week this was a great result."
The greatest threat to Verstappen's victory had been unreliability with four other Renault-powered cars being forced to retire, including team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Verstappen's race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase asked the 20-year-old to slow down, and prompted the response "alright son, I'll take it easy" only for him to keep pumping in fastest laps.
"Unbelievable. We couldn't slow him down," team principal Christian Horner told Sky F1.
"He had an unbelievable start. It's amazing how quickly he gets on the radio [to celebrate moves].
"He dominated the Grand Prix and it was a question of slowing him down. We had concerns, one was reliability - we kept seeing fellow cars with similar power units dropping out - and it was quite nerve-wracking that something might happen for Max but he controlled everything."
Verstappen and Red Bull to be title challengers in 2018?
Verstappen's pass on Vettel was followed by the German tangling with rival Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes driver claimed his fourth world title with Vettel ultimately finishing fourth.
But will Verstappen and Ricciardo be able to challenge the multiple world champions Mercedes for the title in 2018?
Since the summer break Red Bull have closed the gap on Mercedes and Ferrari and Verstappen, who signed a new contract at the US GP, believes they can be in the mix if they resolve their reliability issues.
"We are in a good way and we need to make sure we keep working this way and that we have a better start to the season next year because then I think we can achieve great things," he said.
"For the moment it's the right decision [to extend contract] but you never know for next year. We learned a lot from what we did wrong at the beginning of the season and hopefully we can start better next year. Hopefully we get a bit more horsepower and I'm sure we can be really competitive.
"We have to start earlier with everything and bring the car earlier to the track.
"At the beginning of the year we were so far off that you lose a lot of crucial points. The last few races have been great and Lewis and Seb had some problems.
"If we can start like this next year and not have too many reliability issues then we can be strong."