Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa, 2020

‘He lived on the kart track’: How Verstappen’s early start made him F1’s most formidable team mate

2020 F1 season

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What is the toughest job in Formula 1? Race director? President of the FIA?

How about being Max Verstappen’s team mate?

Pierre Gasly found out just how hard that is last year. He struggled to get within half a second of Verstappen in qualifying and on race day was lapped by his team mate more than once.

Red Bull showed Gasly the door after 12 races, sending him back to Toro Rosso and promoting Alexander Albon in his place. But Albon hasn’t able to get much closer to Verstappen’s one-lap pace than Gasly did, and lags well behind his team mate in the points standings.

As recent races have shown, Albon and Gasly’s F1 credentials are not in doubt. Albon scored a breakthrough podium finish at Mugello while Gasly is still basking in the afterglow of his shock win for AlphaTauri at Monza.

Verstappen had his first F1 test for Toro Rosso at Adria
It serves to underline that Verstappen is a very special talent indeed. AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost, who gave Verstappen his F1 race debut in 2015, believes there are few drivers in F1 today who can measure up to him.

“Max is a super special driver,” Tost told RaceFans in an exclusive interview. “For me he is one of the fastest in the complete field.

“There are hardly [any] drivers who will successfully compete against him. He is doing such a good job that any other driver will have problems to be on this level.”

Red Bull plucked Verstappen from F3 in 2014, his first full season in racing cars following a highly successful karting career. After testing for Toro Rosso at Adria, he made his first race weekend appearance for them in practice for the Japanese Grand Prix, aged 17.

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Both Verstappen’s parents have motor racing experience. His mother, Sophie Kumpen, was a successful kart racer, and father Jos raced in Formula 1 between 1994 and 2003. Verstappen therefore benefitted from being immersed in motor sport from a young age, says Tost.

Tost’s team gave Verstappen his F1 race debut
“What makes Max special is his driving style is on a very, very high level. Where did this result from? I think most one of the most important facts is the dedication his father, Jos did. He started karting being five, six years old. The mother was also karting very successfully.

“That meant he grew up in the environment of karting, of motor sports. And you can see this because nothing can surprise him anymore.

“He knows it because what happens in Formula 1, in karting it’s not different. It’s another category but the processes are nearly the same. So now Jos spent a lot of time and for sure a lot of money in educating him.

“He was living on the kart track. That means he was trained in a very special manner. You could see this when he was driving Formula 3 and you could see this when he joined us for doing the first practice tests and later on when he was driving for us. He immediately was on a very high level and this he kept until now.”

Verstappen was only 16 when Red Bull confirmed he would make his Formula 1 debut with Toro Rosso the following season. Tost says the experience he had accumulated put him several years ahead of his rivals.

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“I remember back when they all said ‘you can’t do this to bring a 17-year-old into Formula 1 now’. He was 17 years old on paper but from his driving experience he was maybe 22, 23 or whatever in comparison to other drivers.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Mugello, 2020
Verstappen’s 2020 campaign has been hit by misfortune
“He did a fantastic job in Suzuka. And he did a very good job in Sao Paolo when he nearly lost the car, but how he caught it back was really fantastic to observe. Then also in Abu Dhabi in the Friday test and he was prepared for the following season.”

Though he is hesitant to draw comparisons, Tost describes Verstappen as “one of the best” drivers he has ever worked with. Although Verstappen has won races since joining Red Bull, he has not been in a position to fight for a championship yet, though Tost clearly suspects it is only a matter of time.

“If you look at his overview during the race, how he reads the races, then he could have won the championship already a couple of times. He can immediately react to info from his engineers, he knows exactly what the strategy of direct opponents, what they’re doing. And he’s reacting in the way champions are doing.”

Verstappen’s intense introduction to motor racing helped mould him into one of the sport’s most fearsome competitors and a tough prospect for any driver to go up against. Tost remains as certain now as he was six years ago that his former driver is a champion in the making.

“I was convinced that he can win the races. To become world champion first you must win races. To become world champion the ingredients must come together.

“But I was convinced in those days that he can win races and the world championship. And I’m convinced now as well.”

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83 comments on “‘He lived on the kart track’: How Verstappen’s early start made him F1’s most formidable team mate”

  1. I completely agree, Max is something special – he now has several years of experience in F1 and several F1 wins. He’s considered the one the absolute best drivers on the grid, and he’s still one of the youngest drivers on it.

    He’s achieved so much and could still have 2 decades of F1 career ahead of him.

    Max Verstappen may well win multiple world championships, he has the talent. But the stars need to align in terms of equipment to help him deliver those championships. He’s a superstar in F1 right now – and not because of off-track antics, or ‘celebrity’ – but because he’s freakin’ awesome to watch, he’s not just one of Red Bull’s biggest assets, he’s one of F1’s biggest assets.

    1. I completly agree with you!

    2. Imagine labelling someone who has never won an open wheel title a superstar based off a handful of performances.

    3. So what exactlly has Max achieved´,one pole couple of wins ,beaten Gasly ,Albon,Sainz a toss up with Ricciardo…..I know the white establishment wants a white savior because black guy Lewis is winning everything,but he has to actually achieve something .coming 2nd to Lewis in Brazil is not an accomplishment..ok it is because lewis is sooo good but….being praised for qualifying 1.2 of Lewis in the wet is not an accomplishment ……Every time Max had an opportunity to take pole to be the youngest pole-sitter he failed loosing 3 poles to Ricciardo…..

      1. @spactus I know right.

        Verstappen is pretty much in a situation like Vettel was in 2015. In the second fastest car with the third fastest car a mile behind. Plus a team mate who is no competition either and who is used as a pawn and test lab for pit strategies in a car that doesn’t suit him. So Vettel scored a few wins on tracks that the Mercedes car didn’t do well on, ie making Mercedes de facto the second fastest car behind Vettel’s Ferrari. Or finish ahead of one Mercedes when one of the Mercedes drivers had an issue or perhaps made mistake.

        Vettel was also highly regarded for his “Herculean efforts” that season. By now (if 2014 wasn’t clear enough) it should be abundantly clear to everybody that he wasn’t that special either.

        Let’s see Verstappen actually help his team move forward for a change. Plus then the next leap, to actually keep up the attention and dedication over a whole season to take a WDC. Because so far he’s still making too many mistakes (Styria, Hungary) and has too many off weekends where he can’t figure out how to set up the car (Hungary, Monza) and is suddenly a second a lap slower than he should be.

        1. he’s still making too many mistakes (Styria, Hungary)

          you really are looking in a very special way i see.
          Tell us,

          1. You mean you repressed the broken front wing in Styria (costing him P2) and crashing out in Hungary before the race had even started? Special indeed.

      2. The points are awarded on Sunday, not Saturday, and scoring poles alone doesn’t make a driver great, or even good. Verstappen is (in my view) the best driver on the grid. He has consistently stood out head and shoulders above the rest. He’s made his share of mistakes like any other driver, but now he has matured a lot.

        I think it’s a testament to how good Ricciardo is that he was able to rival Verstappen when they were teammates.

      3. For most of us colour (even without the ‘u’) has nothing to do with it.

        1. same thought here !

        2. Exacrtly. I don’t think the “white hope” story applies here. As much as I would like to see it I don’t expect to see another person of african descent in F1 any time soon. Just a once in lifetime thing.

          It is hard to say if driving utilizes any significant amount of fast twitch muscles so Black people should not have any inherent advantages! Lol

      4. I know the white establishment wants a white savior

        really? You are sure that is an argument in your distorted vision. But try to enjoy the sport as it is..
        Two of the best drivers in very different cars fighting for the lead. At least that is how it should be. Now we see a top driver in a very fast car and a top driver in a much less faster car. Black, white, green, blue.. only the colours of cars. Ecept for the weight of the paint that is no issue.

      5. Jose Lopes da Silva
        19th September 2020, 11:40

        “white establishment wants a white savior because black guy”
        That’s quite demeaning for the antirracist cause.

      6. Lol…ironically when Dan took thos 3 poles Max was either not taking part in quali or had car issues….
        Never mind all the other sessions right… 34 vs 24 was overall, but yes Dan had three poles, good for him!

    4. The Skeptic (@)
      19th September 2020, 7:28

      Max has earned my respect (not that he cares about my opinion!).

      I thought he was promoted too early, and that he would be too arrogant to learn. How wrong I was. Every year, he has learned and improved – maintaining his speed while tempering the extremes that used to lead him to crashing too often.

      I also admire the way in which he is his own man. He is clear, direct and not prone to silly fads.

      My opinion is that he is the best qualifier on the grid, and is the equal of Lewis in a dry race … and one of the only drivers within cooee of Lewis in a wet race. I am a fan of Daniel Ricciardo … one of the only drivers to be on terms with Max in a team… but I suspect that Max has the edge over him.

  2. There is no doubt that if he had had the car to challenge Lewis, he would’ve done so and could’ve beaten him in the past few seasons. Just listening to Lewis’ radio calls in Monaco or his response on track to Max’s pace in Brazil last year shows that a strong Verstappen definitely has more of an effect on Lewis than a Bottas or even a Rosberg did in the second Mercedes. As soon as Verstappen gets near, Lewis is on alert.

    It’s a shame this current era of F1 is so singularly focussed on Merc that there’s not really a chance for anyone to pose a serious season-long challenge, but if that changes in the future, we’ll see Max winning races and championships, no doubt. He’s young, something is bound to come his way at some point.

    1. @aiii I think the new gen cars from 2022 are going to make a huge difference and will really accent Max’s specialness. I’m one to always clarify how statistically almost all WDCs have had the WCC car in F1’s history, and the very odd time that they didn’t, well they had a very close 2nd place car. I am stoked to see how that might change with these new cars, so ‘unharmed’ by dirty air. I’m excited for what a driver like Max, who is a cut above, can do with a strong second place car. It just feels to me like at a minimum the odds will be better for a strong driver (not just Max) in a strong second place car, to win WDCs with the new ground effects cars.

    2. @aiii Yes because he knows Verstappen takes much more risk. Plus he’s in a different team and is therefore in a much better place to attack.

      That last bit is what people tend to forget when they insist both should be in the same team. Mercedes doesn’t allow much leeway for their drivers to attack each other anymore.

      Verstappen should learn to give better feedback to help the engineers design a faster car. Like Hamilton does. Always pushing for perfection. Instead Verstappen shows up, entitled to the fastest car and when it isn’t he throws everybody under the bus. It’s more a Raikkonen approach rather than that of Senna, Hamilton or Schumacher.

      1. @f1osaurus are you aware Raikkonen is known for giving incredibly good feedback?

        1. To the ice cream manufacturers? He’s know to just want to pitch up and race.

          It’s also how he lost the 2008 WDC title. He was well in the lead, but then Massa developed the car further and Raikkonen couldn’t drive it. When he finally reverted back to the old spec car he was performing again (Spa), but too far behind to still play a role in the championship.

          1. He was never “well in the lead”. You make up facts as you go. After 6 races he had 1 point more than Massa, who already retired from two races. It’s funny how you mention Spa, as it was one of the only races, together with China that he was actually outperforming Massa in the latter part of the season. He had a gloryrace as well in France, but for some bad luck.

            He binned it himself in Spa, he binned it in Singapore. Had he not done that, he would have had every chance to still win the championship, as it would have given him quit a bit more points. He was dreadfull in a couple of races.

            Massa outperformed Raikkonen in 2008. He was already very close in 2007, but for more bad luck on Massa’s side. They were very evenly matched, as was reflected later, when both faced Alonso.

          2. Also worth mentioning that Ferrari signed Alonso in 2008 (to drive from 2010) as part of the deal with Santander. Ferrari decided Massa should develop the car with Schumacher, with the intention of replacing Raikkonen (which was already rumoured at the time, source)

          3. Raikkonen was well in the lead (especially compared to Massa). Then 5 or 6 races long he struggled with the car.

            Massa out spun Raikkonen. He went off in the first two races.

          4. Stop making up facts. Raikkonen was 11 points in front after 2 races, he was never further ahead then that and as I said, after 6 races, he was 1 point ahead, so a slump of 5 – 6 races had nothing to do with it. Massa outperformed him from race 3 onwards, after spinning out in Malaysia (already in front of Raikkonen).

            At the end of the season, Raikkonen finished ahead of Massa 3 times out of 11 when they finished together. He helped Massa once, in China. That’s it. He was 23 points behind, 4 of them for giving a position in China, 8 to 10 for Spa en of course a few for Singapore. He would have been right in the hunt had he not crashed out in those 2 races as Ferrari would have not let him give up his position in China.

            Even in 2007 they were very equal. Up until Monza, Massa actually had more points than Raikkonen. Massa than had to retire in Monza due to a failure and the team openly said only Raikkonen had a realistic chance for the title, so they would do everything for him to win. You just make up facts as you go, like i said.

      2. Verstappen should learn to give better feedback

        by people who know its a established fact VER input is more than excellent.
        So not sure where your version fits in.

        entitled to the fastest car

        ah, now i know, you are talking about Lewis ;)

        1. So his feedback is “excellent”, but the car is not getting any better. I guess it’s just how you define excellent.

          Meanwhile Mercedes keeps steadily improving their car based on what their drivers tell them. Hamilton puts in a lot of effort with the engineers and the rest of the team to improve the car.

          Verstappen just curses that it’s not fast enough and then next race it’s the same drama or suddenly even a lot worse.

          1. So you mean Lewis “I don’t see the point in testing” and “I used to spent 9 days traveling, between 2 races, across the world for side projects” Hamilton spents significantly more time with his engineers than other drivers?

            Also your point is extremely reductive not only diminishing the skill, talent, effort, education, culture, and philosophy of the Mercedes team, and from Red Bull, but also diminishing the difficulty that designing, developing, producing an F1 car is and managing an F1 team.

          2. The last seasons redbull had a car that was a second a lap slower n qualy in Melbourne but improved their car very much during the season.

            Using your logic that would be because of Max giving very good feedback.

            This season they were again a second slower in qualy but they simply have no time to work on the car because we have triple headers.
            The thing with Max is that he’s kind of a love him or hate him guy. But he is very special indeed. That started in karting where he had complete seasons he won all races. And going into car racing, just ask Will Buxton hoe fast he was in Florida at age 15.

            Or look at his F3 year driving Van Amersfoort Racing and winning 10 races. Hoe many drivers won multiple races in such a team? Non did. Yeah sure Ocon won the championship in a Prema car. But the champion is almost always driving a Prema car.

            One can of course differ in opinion, fair enough. But Max being special is not really an opinion. It’s a fact.

            Is he the best, I don’t know. He simply hasn’t got the car to prove it so it’s all guessing. Is he beating Bottas in an inferior car in a regular basis? Yes he is. Is bottas often close to Lewis in qualy, yes he is. So you could make a case he has a very good chance of beating Lewis in the same car.

            Its a shame we probably will never see a proper Lewis vs Max fight in the same car.

          3. Yes that Hamilton, that actually does work with his engineers. But sure throw one test he didn;t have time for in over a decade in his face to pretend otherwise.

          4. @anunaki Max is “special” yes. That is something different from “best” or that he would even come close to beating Hamilton consistently.

            Verstappen doesn’t care and that makes him do “special” things. Which are entertaining. He can be “special” fast on occasion.

            The reality is though, that “special” doesn’t win championships. Ruthless consistency is what wins championships. Ruthless Verstappen might be, but consistent he’s not.

            He might beat Hamilton a few races, but over a whole season his inconsistency will kill him. Just like he couldn’t beat Ricciardo. Verstappen would be in the lead (or not), he would then crash (or in practice) and Riciardo takes the win.

            Things like Brazil 2018 is also where one off his other problem shows. Taking useless risks for no good reason other than that he hates a guy. Helmut Marko claims that that was just his immaturity coming through, but I would propose that it’s in his core. His sense of entitlement that triggered that. Either way, things like that just cost points.

            It’s not a shame that we don’t get to see them fight in the same car. At Mercedes there is no fighting allowed. After the first corner it’s pretty much done. There is zero excitement in that.

            Stop it with the entitlement and just see that it is Verstappen who needs to get on with it and help move his own team forward to make the car faster. That’s the only way you get an actual title battle going. Not by gifting him the fastest car that he never worked for.

      3. Your theory is based on Lewis helping engineering the hybrid engine…in the real world however that’s highly unlikely.
        With the surplus of power the Mercedes car has they obviously can driver with much more downforce which makes the car a heap easier to handle…

        1. No it’s not. Do you see the difference between Mercedes and Racing point and then to Williams. That’s the delta where Hamilton helps. It’s not the engine.

          Also, it’s not the engine. There is hardly any difference between the Honda and Mercedes engine.

          Plus, there is a reason why Red Bull is slower on straights and faster in corners. It’s called aero. Red Bullhave their high rake design which gives them more drag (slower on straights) and more downforce (faster in corners).

          So they choose to do this themselves. Yet they pretend in public that their gains are because of their great work and their losses are unfair. Only 5 years old s and Verstappen fans fall for this claptrap

      4. Come on, you THINK all this you know.
        The input of a driver on the development of a car appears to be very little (heard/saw it on youtube from a F1-driver, don’t know anymore, was it Rosberg?)
        You act as if you know what kind of input drivers give…
        Mercedes was about an average car before 2014, since 2014, with the new PU, they are invincible. The PU at that time made all the diverence. After 2014 I think their car also improved a lot. Mercedes is the most dominant factor. I think every ‘above average’ driver would have become WDC driver since 2014, also/even in the years Vettel as close.

        You can see some are more special than others, you can see it with Hamilton, but you can also see it with Verstappen, and Leclerc (at least these 3)
        I have a feeling, that if you give a vehicle with 4 wheels, they are the ones who will go fastest, they are the ones with that gift

  3. The thing is, it much more entertaining to see these once in a generation talents battling for the podium places than to see them cruise to victory in superior cars. Hamilton is a living legend but it’s not fun seeing him cruising away in the distance. History is made in Monaco 1984 or Brazil 2016. Of course Max should aim for all the records but for us fans it is better if he doesn’t achieve many.

    1. @matthijs As confident as I am in Max and for his future, I don’t see another run happening like MS and LH have needed in order to compile their numbers. The vast amounts of money spent on MS and LH just won’t be there. These records have been made under BE’s watch when these teams were given huge power over other teams, and have had ‘locked in’ advantages that I’m convinced will not be invited once Liberty’s reign finally begins in earnest with their take on the future starting to come to fruition. Up until now Liberty and Brawn have had to (inevitably) deal with the cars and the contracts that are overspill from BE/CVC. Upon the new gen starting in 2022, and along with the budgetary changes etc, I think we have seen the last of the mega dominance runs. I could be wrong of course but that’s just the way it feels to me. But I’m not one to just look at numbers to decide on the ‘greatness’ of a driver, and have always felt that even winning one F1 WDC puts a driver in a highly select and elite small group of drivers in the history of racing, and they all should be honoured for that. Oh I think Max will compile some big numbers too, but I’m not so sure the bulk of it will be with one team during one long run of consecutive years, and rather might happen with two or three strong but shorter runs than LH and MS had.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        19th September 2020, 12:50

        Max will eventually get tired. He’s already predicting that, as he says he won’t stick around until he is 40 years old. His life has been too committed to the profession.
        Otherwise, he could race until 2040 if he retire at MS age. In 20 years there’s time to win a few championships if you have 2 or 3 short-life dominant cars.

  4. Agree with the above comments and with the article. I like when Max said a few ago how on the kart track as a kid they’d have 5 or 6 lap races, because after that the order sort of sets in a bit, and that wouldn’t be as instructive. Rather, 5 or 6 laps and you can only pass at one designated corner per race. I love that kind of stuff.

    It just seems inevitable to me that Max will have the necessary ingredient of a WCC car in order to win WDC(s) before long and likely more than once in his upcoming long career. He has that ‘it’ factor.

  5. The comments about his “experience-age” as opposed from real age makes all sense. Max was only 17 when he debuted on F1 but since he was karting, and extensively, since age 5 (or between 5 and 6 yo) then it means he had +3 years of experience when compared to other drivers same age (since many only start at 8 yo or older).

    1. @bakano As well it’s that Max had two racing parents, so they must have all been eating and sleeping it 24/7, as opposed to ‘regular’ parents if you will, who have the resources and the love and support for their child to excel at karting, but can’t ‘walk the talk’ like at the Verstappen household where Jos is an F1 insider.

      1. @robbie of course his racing lineage plays a huge part but even though I knew he started at very young age (as many prodigies do, even at music and dancing, etc.) I myself had looked into his young age as a sort of handicap but forgetting that many times he drove against older guys but had way less racing years than him…

      1. @keithcollantine that means that “by the time” Latifi was starting, Max was racing automatically with his eyes closed even though he is more than 2 years younger.

        That helps understand why they are where they are.

        As a note, karting is not mandatory to make it to F1, not even starting at a young age. Tiago Monteiro started racing when he was past his 20s, although since his father raced Porsches I guess he had some experience before.
        However IMHO one can only achieve real greatness and be a genius if you start for real from very young age…

    2. Max drives a bit more maturely each year @bakano, but he’s still making the odd mistake he won’t be making when he’s 30. There’s experience and there’s maturity, they’re separate. They both help of course. But he’s still a young driver, a lot of people are too impatient and not waiting for him to be mature.

      1. That’s a valid point, @zann

      2. I simply can’t see what ‘odd mistakes’ Max makes that sets him apart from fe. Lewis…
        Missing a flag… Lewis missed more, spinning in a warm up lap…Lewis spins in Q1 and spun several times during a wet German GP…, taking out other drivers…just once, Lewis has done it twice in just 4 races.

        Don’t exepect any driver to be flawless, Max however is the most consistent out there since halfway 2018

  6. No doubt he’s the best driver on the grid. He’d be unstoppable in a car equal to the Mercedes.

    Maybe Hamilton accepts a new challenge like Schumacher did when it became all too easy after winning two consecutive championships at the end of ’95.

    1. There’s huge doubt. No doubt he’s talented, but genetics and a life of privilege have given him an upper hand that most could only dream of, sure he’s had to have the drive to want it that’s been aided by a F1 driver father that knows who to talk to, how to talk and has guided his every decision up until this point. Most other drivers have come from very different lives, have relied on their families mortgaging homes to keep their racing dreams alive… at the end of the day until he brings home a WDC he is just another driver, one that has benefitted hugely from a life of privilege, until he matches Hamilton’s records he’s no where near the best driver in the grid.

      1. a life of privilege

        because his parents both are drivers?
        He lived his life on the racetrack.. you can see that as a privilege of course. But most times that frase is use to suggest someone who is living easy and rich… both are not true.

  7. They have bred and trained the ultimate driving machine to try and stop Lewis Hamilton.

    Won’t work though.

    1. Put him a merc and see.

      1. He was invited to go over he chose RedBull. If they invite him again will he have the balls to go? Every session will be like a nervy boxing match. That is too much nerves for peoples hearts to take every fortnight.

        1. As I understand it, Mercedes and Red Bull wanted him, the main reason they chose Red Bull was, because RB could give him a seat at TR immediately.

          1. Exactly. Mercedes had Hamilton and Rosberg at the time.

        2. Max was ‘invited’ to join the Mercedes junior drivers program… at that stage it wasn;t even clear in which league he would compete. Being a Mercedes junior driver hasn’t been wordt anything to get a seat in F1…. not a single junior driver ever races for Mercedes in f1

  8. To think that we could have a legendary battle between Verstappen and Hamilton to make this era one for the history books, we are forced to follow the midfield for some close racing just because Mercedes management can’t handle the thought of a rivalry within the team, or simply just want to protect their favorite driver.

    1. @balue I know right. If only Verstappen could help his team move forwards and challenge Mercedes, but he just can’t seem to get that done. More the reverse, when he demotivates the team with his tantrums.

      1. Uhuh, sure pumkin

      2. Trumposaurus

      3. Sure stick your head in the sand. Ask yourselves these questions though:
        – Does he help Red Bull continuously improve the car like Hamilton does at Mercedes?
        – Do his entitled tantrums in Monza and Mugello help motivate the team in the right way?

        1. @f1oclown
          “ Does he help Red Bull continuously improve the car like Hamilton does at Mercedes”
          Given the fact he joined RBR when they were third in the standings and endured a winless streak of + 20 races
          and they are now second in the standings and have won atleast 1 race per season after he joined, yes he does.

          “ Do his entitled tantrums in Monza and Mugello help motivate the team in the right way?”
          Given that Lewis his entitled tantrums in Spain/Baku/Malaysia/Abu Dhabi 2016 and his entitled whining in basically every other race since 2008 doesn’t seem to have a negative influence in his team, yes it does.

          1. Oconomo Good thing Trumposaurus isn’t writing the questions for the F1 Fan Surveys, huh?

          2. Improve the car is not the same as “win a race”. The team was performign better when Ricciardo was still there.

            Yeah, those weren’t tantrums from Hamilton. I’m actually not even talking about the disgraceful way that Verstappen spoke to his engineers while on track. That could he ascribed to adrenaline and the fact that he had no clue what he was talking about while the engineers did. The problem is that he throws his whole team under the buss in interviews when he has had plenty of time to cool down.

            If you don’t even understand the questions then please don’t answer.

    2. Red Bull could’ve signed Lewis alongside Seb @balue, in 2011/12, but they didn’t wanna. Teams have all learned the lessons from McLaren and the comparison with Ferrari.

  9. How many single seater championships has Max participated in; and, of those, how many has he won?

  10. Now what if he didn’t start early?

  11. After two consecutive DNFs, Redbull seniors trying to cool down the young angry Max.
    Max in my opinion is the quickest driver on the grid (as fast as the young raw Hamilton of 2007-2012). But Max still has a way to go to become a more complete driver like how Hamilton has become after 2016.

    1. Yeah…a think a competitive car sure would make it more complete, cause frankly that’s all he lack’s

  12. So how come he didn’t win any series as a junior?
    Or has he? Any multi-event series, junior formulas, etc – nothing.

    1. A lot of his fans gloss over the number of low points he has in the year which would cost him in a championship battle. He’s certainly a great driver but until he’s shown he can win the WDC he’s just potential.

    2. He won his first karting race when he was 7 yrs old. On the Dutch Wikipedia site you can see his Karting achievements, he was so dominant that he ran series against drivers 2 years older than he.
      In the end he won 23 Karting championships, and then went to F3, where he pretty much did the same, be it with lesser cars. He won 3 races in one weekend, it was during those days that Mercedes and Red Bull took notice.
      Max and Jos travelled everywhere in their van, and it was certainly no pampered life. Max had to work very hard, and also learn the technical side of things. He had certainly no easy childhood, but that made him mentally very strong. Sure, he is hard-headed and stubborn, but also passionate and incredibly driven. What I love about him, he is a pure racer, Daniel said this about him, when Nico asked who was faster; Vettel or Max. Daniel said Max, because he is such a natural fast driver. Pure instinct.

    3. 2013 KZ World Champion for a start?
      He annihilated the likes of Bas Lammers, Jorrit Pex, Marco Ardigo and Charles Leclerc. He won practically every karting series he entered.

      Bear in mind at a top international kart race you have over 8 manufacturer teams multiple engine manufacturers, and a plethora of paid, professional drivers who make their living from karting, and have done for years.

      Also, a top international kart is incredibly difficult to drive quickly. I’ve driven the OK category, and it’s given me even more respect torwards the likes of Joe Turney, Lorenzo Travisanutto etc. than I previously had (and my level of respect and admiration was already immensely high). I’m lead to believe the KZ gearbox karts are even more mental, so to have driven that to the level he did is simply staggering.

  13. It will be interesting to see if the 2022 cars make any difference to Max’s speed.

    From my observations over the years, I’ve seen that drivers in one “era” sometimes struggle to come fully to grips with the characteristics of cars that have been radically altered by a new set of technical regulations. The most recent example of this would be Seb.

    In the pre turbo-hybrid era, Seb was almost metronomic in the way he could place the car and drive it lap after lap right on the edge which was why they just couldn’t beat him. His car characteristics meant he could do that with 100% confidence.

    Now we’ve seen him lose the rear time after time – he just hasn’t been able to adapt to they changes to the way power is delivered and what seems to be a tendency towards more rear instability in all the cars.

    I’ve no doubt the 2022 cars will be very different. Max has been amazing at mastering Newey’s design and has the ability to keep it under control whereas no one else seems to be able to use it with absolute confidence (including Daniel Ricciardo). It remains to be seen whether or not he’ll be able to transfer that skill to the new cars, as is the case for all drivers.

    Newey is famous for designing very quick cars and just expects drivers to adapt to its design. It’s possible that someone else might design one that is more forgiving but just as fast.

    I’m looking forward to 2022 if for no other reason than major changes can lead to a change in driver hierarchy. My guess is that it should suit Max and the other young brigade, but we’ll have to wait and see.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva
      19th September 2020, 12:45

      One of the best comments around. Thanks.
      I always though, for this instance, that Raikkonen was never the same driver from the 2007 onwards as he was before – even if he became champion in 2007, he did not look “imperial” like in the previous 5 seasons. In 2016 it was published an analysis article on this, pointing that Raikkonen did not adapt to the tyre monopoly.

  14. I wonder when this hype train going to crash. “That’s what you get for……” he was about to bash Honda, and the fia radio silenced the rest of the crap came out of his big hole in the mouth.

    This guy is super over rated and will never ever win a WDC. He goes to Merced or Ferrari, he will be nothing more than a Vettel 2.0.


  15. Not a fan of the guy, nor of any driver really. He seems like an angry young man, entitled to his success, but with that dad, perhaps that’s to be expected. He’s still young though.. but there can’t much doubt that’s he’s quick. How quick is hard to tell, since it’s seems quite evident that RedBull operates with a 1/2 system. I just hope that the current period of domination from one team will be the last, and we will get many different winners again. I have a feeling that a period of domination from RedBull/Max would be very hard to go through. By Max’s own admission that’s his dream scenario, to lap all the others race by race. Let’s hope for F1s sake that it never happens..

    1. I think Russel is the more complete picture. So let’s hope he takes over when Hamilton finally retires.

      1. Yeah, luckily there’s plenty of young and upcoming talent in F1, so chances are Max won’t have it all to himself even when the “old” guys call it a day 😉

  16. Jose Lopes da Silva
    19th September 2020, 11:43

    “No doubt he’s talented, but genetics and a life of privilege have given him an upper hand that most could only dream of”

    The person who wrote this can only be talking about Lance Stroll.
    If someone wrote this about Max Verstappen than Lance Stroll, the perspective on this sport is completely upside down.

    1. Jose Lopes da Silva, Max’s father, Jos Verstappen, is a multi-millionaire in his own right – I believe his personal fortune has previously been estimated at being between $15-20 million.

      Whilst he might not have access to the same sort of wealth as Lance Stroll, comparatively speaking Max was still coming from a comparatively wealthy background compared to a number of other drivers in the sport – Bottas, for example, came from a comparatively humble background (a father running a cleaning company and a mother working as an undertaker), whilst Grosjean was, even his early career in Formula 1, still working part-time as a bank clerk to help fund his career and then later took up a job as a chef (there are individuals who worked in the GT1 championship in 2010 who can attest to Grosjean often feeing people in the catering unit as well as competing on the track). If I’m not mistaken, going back a few years, Kamui Kobayashi also used to work as a chef to help partially fund his career when working his way up the ranks.

      It’s not to say that he is the only figure whom you could say that about – for example, Sainz Jr could have much the same said about him. However, when you look at it realistically, Max did come from a wealthier and more privileged background than most drivers on the grid have come from and it is something you cannot just hand waive away.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        19th September 2020, 14:37

        I was talking about Stroll. Verstappen, Sainz, Schumacher and every other privileged son-of-driver could be fired for lack of results. None of those drivers had F3 teams bought for them, including their teammates. And soon I’ll hear, as a few days ago, that Senna was also born in the São Paulo upper class.

        I give all my sympathy to the drivers you mentioned. You could add Esteban Ocon, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.

        We’re having talks about the privilege of hard-driven drivers while Stroll gets those sympathy comments of “he is not that bad”.

        1. Jose I only saw this comment after I posted mine. You have an odd perspective. ‘Could be fired?’ You have sympathy for EO, MS, LH? Perhaps you are not aware of how much squalor and starvation and strife there is in this world. Even the ‘poorest’ kids who became F1 drivers were ‘wealthy’ compared to at least half of the population of the globe who have never even made a phone call, let alone had an opportunity to go karting and build their way up to F1.

          Yes the reality is some people in the world have immense wealth, but as I said below, for F1 drivers, if there was not an absolute love and passion for racing then no amount of money would have seen them get to F1. If Stroll is getting sympathy comments as you put it, that would be because initially he was slammed for allegedly only being there due to family money, and now what we see is that indeed he is at least acceptable now that he has an acceptable car, so some are having to eat their words. Was young Stroll to grow up with privilege and yearn to go go karting but say to his Dad, while they’re standing amongst the vast Ferrari car collection at one of their houses, oh Dad I’d love to be a race car driver, but I think I will decline your help and do something in life I don’t really want to do? The thing is, it’s Lawrence’s passion too, or he wouldn’t have been hanging around F1 since before Lance was born.

      2. For sure it would be splitting hairs to claim Lance is the more privileged one between the two. Money was no object for either Lance or Max, whether they come from billions or millions. But Jose there is also in the quote the ‘genetics’ component, and I’m not sure how much weight can really be put to that, but if there is something to it (sons of F1 racers that become F1 racers), then Max wins over Lance in that category.

        Bottom line for me in this though, and it is the same for all pro athletes imho, is that if they don’t absolutely love what they’re doing, don’t have an absolute passion for it, then no amount of money would see them getting to F1.

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