No wins but Verstappen in the mix on Supercars online debut

Max Verstappen scored a hat-trick of runner-up spots on his debut in the BP Supercars All Stars Eseries.

The Red Bull F1 drivers was the recipient of a wildcard to join the Aussie event which features the touring car series’ full-life grid of pro drivers.

Verstappen launched his first race at Silverstone from sixth, but a superb opening lap put him in contention for a podium position from the outset.

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The Dutchman eventually inherited second when he swept past the battling duo of Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen when the pair made contact and ran wide. However, leader Anton De Pasquale remained out of reach.

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From 25th on the reverse grid of the second race, Verstappen had his work cut out for him from the outset. His initial progress was hindered early on however following a string of clashes that damaged the Red Bull-liveried Holden Commodore and left its driver 18th at the checkered flag, with Cameron Waters” Ford taking top spoils.

The field moved on to Barcelona, the scene of Verstappen’s very first F1 win in 2016, for the second pair of events. From P6, the 22-year-old elbowed his way up to second but van Gisbergen was in a league of his own up ahead.

The final 11-lap battle saw Verstappen quickly progressed from fifth to third and then to second when De Pasquale spun off on his own at Turn 2.

The eight-time Grand Prix winner caught and undercut van Gisbergen after his mandatory pitstop but the Kiwi fought back and overhauled his rival with a clean overtake move into Turn 1 with two laps to go.

“It was a bit of fun,” said van Gisbergen after the race. “There was a bit of carnage and some good racing as well.

“Two good starts in a row, I couldn’t believe it. It was really fun. Battling with Max, he was giving me a bit of crap for being Pastor Maldonado. But he forgot that Pastor wins at Barcelona…”
Verstappen was overall happy with his performance but admitted he was still getting acquainted with the Supercars series machinery.

“I’m still getting used to it, I’m definitely not the best in this car,” he said. “Actually from my feeling, I’m struggling a bit in it.

“But it’s fun, it’s really cool. Luckily the tracks [for this round] I know, so that helps a bit.

“[The issues are] nailing the grip, unlocking wheels, and having wheelspin out of the corner, I’m still not really good on blipping the throttle so I’m using the auto-blip at the moment. Probably there is a bit of time in that.”

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