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Toro Rosso praises Verstappen and Sainz: are they Red Bull's best Formula 1 rookies?

Franz Tost has praised the performance of his two Toro Rosso drivers, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, after both put in attacking drives to score ...

Toro Rosso praises Verstappen and Sainz: are they Red Bull's best Formula 1 rookies?

Franz Tost has praised the performance of his two Toro Rosso drivers, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz, after both put in attacking drives to score points on their first visit to the Circuit of the Americas.

Verstappen and Sainz are already the most successful Toro Rosso pairing, based on points scored, since the combination of Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais in 2008.

Before the main event had got underway, severe weather prevented any meaningful running and qualifying was postponed to Sunday morning, which meant both rookie drivers had little time to prepare for the race.

Then in a chaotic Grand Prix, both Toro Rosso drivers performed strongly in the challenging conditions and close racing. Sainz shot up from last on the grid, where he had started as a result of his crash in qualifying, to 11th by the end of the first lap.

XPB.cc Carlos Sainz

The Spaniard then battled with several drivers, including Jenson Button and Daniel Ricciardo, and finished sixth on the road, which became seventh after he was handed a five-second penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Verstappen, who had qualified tenth, fought with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen – which incensed the 2007 world champion – and made full use of pitting under the first safety car to jump up the order and held on to finish fourth, the joint best result of his career.

XPB.cc Max Verstappen

After the race, Tost congratulated both of his young drivers for the resilience they showed during a hectic Grand Prix that was disrupted four times by virtual, and actual, safety cars.

He said: “I must say that Max did an extraordinary job. Today's qualifying session was the first time that he could properly drive here and to get into Q3 shows his great skills.

“His race was also really good: after the start he was immediately fighting with the Ferrari's and other rivals and he was able to keep his position, crossing the line in fourth position, without making one single mistake during the 56-lap race.

XPB.cc Franz Tost

“Carlos also did a fantastic job, recovering very quickly after his accident in qualifying this morning. He went from P20 to P11 in only one lap and he was able to keep this position and overtake a few more cars in front of him.

“Unfortunately he had a problem during one of his pit-stops with the rear-right wheel nut and then he got a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit-lane.

“[He] ended in a very good sixth position, which then became a P7 after the penalty. I'd like to congratulate both drivers for the great job. We must not forget that this was their first ever race weekend here.”

XPB.cc Carlos Sainz Max Verstappen

Verstappen, who equalled his best F1 result with fourth, reckoned the race was the most complete performance he has driven in his career so far.

He said: "I really enjoyed today's race. A fourth position is a great result, definitely the best we could do today, and I'm just really, really happy.

“There were some very good battles out on track and I'd say this was the most complete race of the season so far, everything worked out as it should have: I made no mistakes and the team did a perfect job with the strategy.”

Sainz explained that it was a pitlane speed limiter problem that resulted in his penalty, but added that he was still pleased with his race.

XPB.cc Carlos Sainz

He said: “What a mad, amazing race. We were fast from start to finish and I'm really happy with today's result, my best so far this season. To start from P20 and to finish P6 is just unbelievable.

“Okay, P7 after adding the 5-second penalty for speeding in the pit-lane because of the pit-limiter not working is a bit of a shame, but I've still got a very big smile on my face.”

XPB.cc Sebastien Bourdais Sebastian Vettel

The current Red Bull junior pair has amassed 63 points so far in 2015, 45 to Verstappen and 18 from Sainz. In 2008, Vettel and Bourdais scored 39 points under the old system that only went to eighth place. Recalculated under the system that has been in place since 2010 and that pair would have collected 105 points.

The majority of Verstappen’s tally has come from his two fourth places in Hungary and America, while Sainz had a number of mechanical failures that cost him good results. The Dutchman has come home in the points on eight occasions so far in 2015, and he is currently on a four-race streak, while Sainz has chalked up seven points finishes.

Are Verstappen and Sainz Red Bull's best ever junior drivers? Can they go on to emulate Vettel? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
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