It was a victory made all the more remarkable as it came just days after the Dutch teenager was promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull.
But a year on from his incredible feat, the 19-year-old tells CNN's The Circuit that he does not expect to feature on the podium in Barcelona this weekend.
Asked whether this season could be a three-horse race between Mercedes, Ferrari and his team Red Bull, Verstappen says matter-of-factly: "Not at the moment.
"Even at this race we will not be in the fight. I need a bit of luck this season," Verstappen explained in Barcelona ahead of Sunday's race.
"If it's equal, I don't need luck to win but, at the moment, when you're a little bit behind, you do need a bit of luck, like we had last year."
'We will keep pushing'
In the first lap of that Barcelona race, Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton collided and crashed out.
Verstappen, with just 23 starts for Toro Rosso and no track testing with his new team, took advantage and made history on a dramatic May day at Circuit de Catalunya.
"It will always be something special for me," says Verstappen of his first win.
"Especially the way it came, totally unexpected, in a new team, straight away in the first race. I was very relaxed because the team told me to try to understand the car, there was no pressure."
A further seven podium finishes have followed for the Dutchman, but the 2016 Spanish GP remains his sole F1 win.
"After the first victory, you need the car to keep performing. At the moment we never had the chance for that," he says.
"But we keep pushing. I'm still very young so hopefully we have a few more years."
Is the teenager open to the prospect of moving teams to chase more victories?
"The team is really nice," says Verstappen, adding that he owes Red Bull his loyalty.
"I have a good feeling with them, but I also want to win at some point. I have a contract and they gave me an opportunity to get into F1 so there is loyalty.
"In the future, who knows. I don't have a particular favorite team, I just want to be in a fast car."