Verstappen, already the youngest driver in F1 history, lapped up wet conditions at Malaysia’s Sepang circuit to finish a brilliant sixth and put himself in line for points on Sunday.
“I studied the lines from last year so that helped me already a bit,” said the Dutch teenager. “I think the most important thing is to just stay cool and do your lap.
“It was a good start for me as I always enjoy driving in the rain. All in all, I can be really happy about getting P6.”
Verstappen has now matched his father Jos, whose career qualifying highlight was placing sixth in qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1994.
The youngster will now hope to make up for the disappointment of Australia, where he was ninth deep into the race before being forced out with mechanical problems. – Agence France-Presse