There was a slightly surreal vibe in the Sepang paddock after the Malaysia Grand Prix. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton finished in second place, while Verstappen's team mate Daniel Ricciardo took third place.
Hamilton came into last year's Suzuka race in a foul mood and seeking solace after raising the possibility of a Mercedes conspiracy against him following an engine fire in Malaysia. At that time, when it was just a couple of years old, it was such a path-breaking venue in terms of modern Grand Prix circuit.
Team principal Christian Horner was delighted for Verstappen, and indeed Ricciardo after a double podium celebration for Red Bull.
THERE is a word in the English language that is often overused without the context of its full meaning, but as I arrived at the Sepang International Circuit for my first live Formula 1 experience, I was finally able to comprehend what the word surreal truly means. Both Paul di Resta and Robert Kubica will complete a two-day test in Hungary before the team ultimately decide whether to go with one of these two or whether to retain veteran Brazilian Felipe Massa.
"Suzuka will always be a special place for me because I made my Formula One debut there, " Verstappen said.
As it stands, Hamilton is 34 points ahead of Ferrari driver Vettel, with a maximum of 125 points still available. "He did a nice move on him I think, a proper one".
"Sebastian did a great job in Malaysia, but I do not think it will be enough", he said.
He is now looking at a 34 point deficit to Lewis Hamilton out front, and with five races left, and seven more points available for first place compared to second, he must win every race to be certain of winning the title regardless of what Hamilton does.
Reliability issues have been a big issue for Ferrari this season and not just with Vettel, who looked to be the most disappointing as he started from the back of the grid but at least recovered to fourth.
"Who knows whether that is his gearbox busted for the next race or not".
M.Samynathan, 46, who has five Malaysian GP races, said for this edition, he has brought his family and friends to share the warmth of F1 racing.
"I can see the rising demand among locals this year, compared to last few years because of the reduced ticket price and marketing by the organisers". We appreciate you guys having us and all the support you've given us.
But Hamilton reverted to the previous-specification ahead of qualifying and went on to secure pole before finishing second, while team-mate Valtteri Bottas said he regretted sticking with the update after winding up fifth in qualifying.
"The race was a tough one".