The 17-year-old Toro Rosso driver, who is not yet old enough to take to the roads unattended in his native Belgium, narrowly missed out on a spot on the podium in a chaotic race which was won by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
“Unbelievable, P4 – what a great result, I have no words,” said Verstappen, son of the former Benetton driver Jos, who partnered Michael Schumacher in the mid-90s.
“I didn’t expect that at all after a bit of a bad start. However I managed to stay out of trouble and during my second stint everything was going well, I felt comfortable in the car and the guys behind me were not catching me up.”
Verstappen was dealt a drive-through penalty following a collision with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages. But he benefited from the late carnage around him to seal fourth place in the dramatic race.
“When the race restarted after the safety car period there was a lot going on, with cars crashing in front of me,” Verstappen added.
“So with a few laps to go I was asking my engineer in what position we were in, and when he said P4 I just couldn’t believe it. I’m very, very happy today.”
Incredibly Verstappen, who turns 18 in September, will now use the four-week summer break to brush up on his road skills ahead of his driving test.
“I’m doing my lessons in the summer break and then will take my test around my birthday in September,” Verstappen, the sport’s youngest-ever racer, added.“With the F1 schedule it has been difficult to fit everything in so I’ve had to wait for the break. You need a minimum six or seven hours driving under the laws in Belgium where I live – and I hope that’s all I need. We’ll see.”
Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton remains on course to become the first British driver to win back-to-back Formula One championships despite what he described as one of his “worst performances in a long time” at the eventful Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old endured a sluggish start, a trip through the gravel, an unscheduled pit stop following a collision with Daniel Ricciardo, and a subsequent drive-through penalty, yet miraculously he heads into the f our-week summer break still leading the title race.
“It was a bad performance from me, the worst in a long time,” Hamilton said. “But considering how bad it was, one thing I can take from it is I never gave up. While I finished the race and got some points – how the hell I managed to extend the lead in the championship – I am grateful with myself and I apologise to the team for losing them points.”