Max Verstappen takes Red Bull-Honda to Australian GP podium
A Honda-engined car back on the podium in first race with Red Bull; Third-placed Verstappen praises new engine partner
By James Galloway in Melbourne
Last Updated: 17/03/19 10:11am
Red Bull's first race with Honda engines has delivered the Japanese manufacturer's first podium since their return to F1.
Max Verstappen finished third and on Lewis Hamilton's tail in the Australian GP after overtaking Sebastian Vettel as Red Bull, and not winter pacesetters Ferrari, proved Mercedes' nearest challengers.
Red Bull, previously powered by Renault, had not finished on the podium in Australia in the current engine era, while Honda's last podium came in their previous spell in the sport in 2008.
"For Honda to have their first podium in the V6 era is a great start so congrats to them," said Verstappen.
"In terms of the speed we had throughout the race, it was a very good step forward from last year. Just compared to the top speeds compared to the other two top teams, so I'm very pleased with that.
"The engine has been performing very well without any issues so that's also really important."
What can Red Bull achieve in 2019?
Verstappen's first season-opening podium in F1 means he has now finished in the top three six times in a row, either side of the sport's winter break.
"Time will tell if we can fight for top spot," Verstappen added after finishing behind only Hamilton and runaway race winner Valtteri Bottas on Sunday.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner told Sky F1: "I think we've overperformed in the race."
Rivals are already starting to take note.
Speaking on Saturday night after Verstappen split the Ferraris on the grid, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said: "The Honda has certainly made a huge step forward.
"If you look at the speed trace it looks a different Red Bull than before. They are very fast on the straights and that's good to see. We want them in the mix and we want to have a great fight."
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