On the bitter-sweet Sunday of 1 Oct 2017, Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen made a sensational start to life in his 20s by winning the 19th and final edition of the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit.
The annual event was introduced in 1999, in conjunction with the opening of the Sepang circuit, as the newest addition to the FIA Formula 1 World Championship calendar which at the time consisted predominantly of races in Europe. Being the first Asian GP outside Japan, it put Malaysia on the map and paved the way for the rest of the region.
Scheduled as the season’s second last of 16 events, Malaysia’s F1 GP debut was triumphed by Eddie Irvine in a Ferrari, followed by team-mate Michael Schumacher in second place, and McLaren-Mercedes’ Mika Hakkinen in third place.
Verstappen, who celebrated his birthday on Saturday, 30 September 2017 added to his maiden win at the 2016 Spanish GP by controlling the race from early on. Starting from third, he benefited from Kimi Räikkönen’s early retirement before fending off an attack by Valterri Bottas in Turn 1. The crucial overtake on championship leader Lewis Hamilton came at the start of lap four and he never looked back to seal an important victory.
Verstappen was joined on the podium by teammate Daniel Ricciardo in third place, with Red Bull Racing coming close to replicating their 1-2 from 12 months ago. Ricciardo picked up his eighth podium of an impressive season after some fine defensive skills to hold off a charging Sebastien Vettel.
On winning the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix, Verstappen said,
“It is amazing to win the race today. Straight away I could see our pace was good and that Lewis was struggling with traction. I just went for it and used all the battery power I could to get past him. I knew that he was fighting for the championship and wouldn’t take too many risks, so I went for it. As soon as I passed Lewis I knew from there onwards I could control the race. The car was really good and our pace on the soft tyre was better than I expected. It was a very physical race and very warm in the car, plus I haven’t been feeling that well this weekend but we managed to bring it home. You can never predict how the rest of the season will go but we keep improving the car and it is looking positive. So hopefully from now onwards we can build on this for the rest of the year and then have a good start to next season. I didn’t expect yesterday that we would be so quick today and to win here was unexpected, so I’m very happy.”
In his roundup of the race, the team’s principal Christian Horner said,
“A great performance by the whole team today and fantastic to see Max get a well-deserved victory, after enduring so much bad luck throughout the season. I said when Max’s luck would change it would change in a dramatic way and it’s difficult to believe the last time he was on the podium was at the beginning of April in China. Today he drove a truly dominant race, making a sensational pass on Lewis and then really controlling the race from there. Daniel, after starting on the wet side of the grid, initially dropped a place to Valtteri but worked hard to get the pass done, which is incredibly hard at this circuit, and then managed to save enough in hand to fend off a fast-recovering Sebastian at the end of the race. It’s tremendous for us to sign off the last grand prix in Malaysia with a double podium and a victory, the fifth that we’ve achieved here. Our thanks to the Malaysian Grand Prix and to the many fans in Malaysia who support Red Bull; we celebrate with you today.”
A PIECE OF VERSTAPPEN ON THE WRIST
TAG HEUER FORMULA 1 NO. 33 MAX VERSTAPPEN 2017 SPECIAL EDITION
A landmark agreement back in December 2015 saw TAG Heuer become the official timekeeper and official watch of the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, following which the two brands announced the name of the 2017 car, “Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer RB13”, with TAG Heuer being included in the team’s official constructor listing, the first time a watchmaker has ever been named directly in the constructors’ listing in this way.
Today, the partnership is underscored by the birth of a special timepiece designed in collaboration with Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen—the TAG Heuer Formula 1 No.33 Max Verstappen 2017 Special Edition.
Verstappen was bitten by the racing bug at an early age, inspired by his father, the former F1 driver Jos Verstappen. He began karting when he was just eight and soon moved on to international karting where he was crowned European Karting Champion twice and World Karting Champion once. After the Formula 3 European Championship in 2014, Verstappen’s meteoric rise continued when he joined the F1 team Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2015 season. Since the Spanish Grand Prix in 2016, Verstappen has been a member of the Red Bull Racing team. In the first Grand Prix race of his career for the new team, he set a phenomenal precedent, becoming the youngest F1 Grand Prix winner of all time.
The TAG Heuer Formula 1 No.33 Max Verstappen 2017 Special Edition underlines Verstappen’s success as well as great and long commitment in motor-racing. The 43mm quartz chronograph in steel features a blue aluminium bezel with tachymeter scale and a specially marked red space on the dial with a written “33”. This number was Verstappen’s first starting number when he began carting and is also his starting number at Red Bull Racing Formula One, which means something really special for the racer. As requested by Verstappen, his lucky number “33”, along with “TAG Heuer Formula 1 No.33 Max Verstappen 2017 Special Edition”, is engraved on the back of the case, in order to always keep it close to his wrist. Complementing the racing spirit is a perforated rubber strap in vibrant red. For fans of Verstappen who wish to wear a little piece of Verstappen and F1-racing on their wrists, the watch is produced in just 533 pieces, sold exclusively in the Netherlands.
TAG HEUER CARRERA HEUER-01 RED BULL RACING SPECIAL EDITION
Fans of Red Bull Racing may also support the team by sporting this special edition, launched earlier this year in celebration of the partnership’s second year. With its bold 45mm case, this steel chronograph bears the team’s colours, midnight blue and red, a combination which naturally suggests a racing spirit. Thanks to the bezel sporting a tachymeter scale in blue ceramic, this piece perfectly reflects the DNA of the TAG Heuer Carrera collection. This sporty watch has a highly contemporary design. Its blue skeleton dial and sapphire case-back, bearing the Red Bull Racing Team’s logo, invite you to admire the stunning mechanism of the Heuer-01 manufacture chronograph movement. The watch is available in two versions: one with a steel bracelet in keeping with the watchmaker’s flagship models, and a new blue leather strap with red topstitching and a racing car seat effect for a truly sporty, classy look.