Verstappen excited to return to scene of maiden win

© XPB 

Max Verstappen has good reason to be excited by the prospect of next week's Spanish Grand Prix.

One year ago, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was the venue for his first race with Red Bull Racing. He had been swapped with Daniil Kvyat following the race in Russia. More importantly, it was also the place where Verstappen clinched his maiden Grand Prix victory in Formula 1.

“Going back to Spain will always mean a lot to me.

"Last year was such a special race," he said this week. "I got the call to join Red Bull Racing, which was a great feeling.

"When it got announced everything happened really fast," he continued. "I spent a lot of time in the factory getting prepared in the simulator in order to get used to the car.

"[There was] a lot of media attention, but I wasn’t really nervous, just happy that I was finally driving for a top team

"In the end we managed to pull it off. It was an incredible feeling once I passed the finish line, especially in your first race with a new team."

Returning to Barcelona this week to defend his winner's title, Verstappen said that it was a track that he really enjoyed.

"Track wise I really like Turn 3 as it’s flat and quite a long corner so that’s good neck training.

“We have to wait and see what the updates will bring," he added when asked if the team would be more competitive this time.

"I hope we can be a bit closer to the top teams. Or that we can at least follow them. That would already be a good step forward.”

One of the advantages of being back in Europe is that the team can bring some of its creature comforts. The Red Bull EnergyStation entertainment and hospitality centre will be making its first appearance of 2017.

"It means familiar food and more of a normal, comforting driver room with the Energy Station there," Verstappen explained.

"You get to chill out and prepare in your own room, which is worth a lot if you’re travelling as much as we do.

GALLERY: Alonso's Indy 500 challenger

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter