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Verstappen recalls 'pressure' of first Red Bull race weekend

Max Verstappen has now amassed 35 race victories and two World Championships in his F1 career, but the Dutchman can still recall the "chaos" of his first win during his debut weekend with Red Bull.

Max Verstappen has recalled the "pressure" he felt ahead of his maiden Formula 1 victory, which also marked his first race weekend with Red Bull. Little over a year after he joined the sport as a 17-year-old rookie with Toro Rosso, Verstappen was promoted to the lead outfit to replace Daniil Kvyat for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix. The Dutchman remembers that there had been plenty of last-minute preparations ahead of the event. "Leading up to that week was crazy," Verstappen told US broadcaster NBC . "I had to travel a lot. I had to go to Milton Keynes on the simulator and learn [about] the new team, learn all the procedures."

Verstappen reflects on 'pressure'

With Verstappen moving up to Red Bull at just 18 years old, he admits that he felt some pressure ahead of his debut for the team, especially given outside comments on the move. "There was a lot of pressure involved," he explained. "It was a bit like some people were not happy with the decision, that I was moving up; [they thought] I was young, too inexperienced. So a lot of things were coming together. I'd never driven the car before. "Now looking back at it, of course, it was an amazing weekend."

A 'crazy, chaotic' weekend for Verstappen

Verstappen remembers hearing some encouraging words from team boss Christian Horner before the start of the event at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. As it was, the youngster soon found himself in the lead of the race following a first-lap collision for Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. "I remember also, before the start of the race on the grid, Christian came to me and he was like, 'Just have fun out there,'" the two-time World Champion said. "I definitely had fun, but also [felt] a lot of pressure, because I was on a two-stop [strategy] and the tyres were dying towards the end. It was really tough, especially in a car you don't really know that well. "To try and minimise the degradation of the tyres was very tough, especially [during] the last 10 laps. Not being entirely comfortable with the car as well [made it] really stressful." Even after the race was over and Verstappen had sealed his debut win in F1, he could still feel the effects of the hurried preparations. "After [crossing] the finish line, when I won the race I was celebrating, but I also felt a lot of cramp in my whole body, because I didn't have my full seat yet," he added. "It was all rushed, so it was a crazy, chaotic weekend."

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