The Red Bull ace starred in treacherous conditions, initially working his way up from fourth on the grid to second following a pair of bold moves on Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Formula One points leader Nico Rosberg.
Verstappen then nearly crashed into the wall on the main straight but managed to continue until Red Bull’s gamble to put him on the intermediate tyre failed to pan out and the Dutchman had to make an extra stop for a new set of full-wets.
This pushed Verstappen down to 15th place with 15 laps to go, from which he recovered to third behind the two Mercedes at the flag after a stunning display of overtaking prowess and race craft.
“This race was incredible to watch, though I did not understand with the Safety Car start,” Lauda told Sky Sports. “Lewis and Nico did a perfect job coming first and second. Verstappen was outstanding, the way he passed everybody so it was an interesting race.”
When suggested to him that the 19-year-old’s recovery was bolstered by his fresher rubbber, the former triple world champion refused to belittle the achievement.
“Nevertheless, he did the job, unbelievable, the way he passed it was just incredible. I knew the guy is good but he proved to everybody what he can do.”