As all 20 drivers were out warming up their tyres, Verstappen spun his Red Bull around in an almost full circle.
F1 rules state if a driver drops to the back of the pack during a formation lap then he must then start the race from that position.
However, the Dutchman was able to make his way back through the field up to fifth place.
Once the Chinese Grand Prix got underway there was chaos on the opening lap.
Land Norris was torpedoed up into the air before coming crashing back down onto the track.
Contact with Daniil Kvyat forced the young Brit into the pit for repairs to his car.
Kvyat was investigated by the stewards for apparently skirling both cars.
A virtual safety car was called and the drivers bunched up while the debris was cleared.
Meanwhile, Lewis Hamilton got off to a perfect start to the race as he overtook pole-sitter and team-mate Valtteri Bottas on the opening lap.
Ahead of the race, Hamilton paid tribute to Bottas who is fighting for his Mercedes future.
“I didn’t give up, I kept pushing him right to the end,” he said.
“Big congratulations to Valtteri, he’s been stellar all weekend.
“I’ve been fighting the car all weekend and been chipping away at it.
“But I’m much happier with it as the gap between us was eight tenths so to be as close as we are at the end is fantastic.
“It’s an incredible result for the team, there’s a little bit more time on the table there but that’s cool, I’ll try and get it tomorrow.”
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