The Dutchman Max Verstappen is undoubtedly responsible for a portion of the enjoyment that can be derived from watching a Formula One race every week on Sunday (1997).
To what extent is that accurate? The appearance of Mad Max among the top drivers competing for the championship has been a welcome change of pace.
In the hybrid era, which is about to end, the Mercedes team has held an unchallenged hegemonic position since this competition began in 2014.
Because of all of this, as well as the possibility that he will be proclaimed champion sooner rather than later, it is worth pausing for a moment to talk about his figure, his beginnings, the historic achievements he has already made after spending a little more than five years in the premier class of motorsport, and a few other peculiarities that are unknown to a significant number of fans of this sport.
Following this brief introduction, we will discuss the most significant aspects of the driver’s life and career, who is considered the flagship of the Red Bull team.
In 1997, Max Verstappen was born in the town of Hasselt, Belgium, which is close to the Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
He was welcomed into a family enthusiastically committed to the sport of motorsport.
He did not become eligible to receive his current nationality until he turned 18.
He took part in many karting competitions in Belgium over many years.
As was stated, his family history has strong ties to the racing industry; his father, Jos, was also a Formula One driver between 1994 and 2003, and his mother, Sophie-Marie Kumpen, competed on four wheels, having spent a significant amount of her life in karting.
Although Little Max made his first steps into this world when he was only four years old, he did not begin competing until he was seven.
The wait for success was short-lived, as he won the Dutch Minimax championship in the same year it was held (2007).
Two years later, in 2009, he joined the ranks of Team Pex Racing, with whom he re-edited victory in the Flemish edition of the competition above and was joined by the Belgian KF5.
During his time with Team Pex Racing, he was also joined by the Belgian KF5.
Beginning in 2010, thanks to the CRG team, with whom he competed in European and world karting championships, Verstappen was able to broaden his horizons and experience new things.
The year after that, in 2011, he triumphed in the KF2 category of the WSK Euro Series and the WSK Master Series to take first place.
In the years to come, his progression was going to go even further, as evidenced by the fact that he won the KF and KZ titles in Europe in 2013, as well as the world championship of the latter event when he was only 15 years old.
This is a remarkable fact considering that it is regarded as the most or one of the most important championships in the entire karting world.
At the end of that same year, 2013, he had already climbed for the first time in a single-seater on October 11 at the circuit of Pembrey.
From that point forward until the beginning of 2014, he put himself through an enormous amount of tests and trials in the hopes of securing a spot in a competition with a higher pedigree, which would allow him to get started on his journey sooner rather than later.
Cars competing in the Formula Renault 2.0 series passed through his hands. Still, the Van Amersfoort Racing team gave him the opportunity to race in the European Formula 3 series.
Some people believe that his father made this choice to relieve some of the pressure that was being placed on him because the team was also Dutch, and his popularity in the country was growing along with that of his son.
His season was incredible because he triumphed in ten races and came in third place at the end of the course.
In the life of Verstappen, the month of August 2014 served as a marker for both the beginning and the end of a chapter.
And what’s more, is that his excellent performance in the F3 of the old continent did not go unnoticed by several Formula 1 teams.
This was especially the case when they saw that a boy who had just turned 17 was dominated by winning six races in a row.
Moreover, the fact that he was doing this was awe-inspiring.
Red Bull was the company that placed the largest wager on him when they recruited him for their young driver program and then, just a few days later, announced that they would be using him as their official driver for the Toro Rosso team during the 2015 season.
The fact that he ended up winning the Formula 3 championship after certifying his title at the Zandvoort track (the Netherlands) in front of his own by dominating that race from start to finish, as he led all the laps, is proof that he is not at all distracted by the allure of the premier class of motorsport.
Since he had his first ride in a Formula One car on October 3, at the beginning of the first free practice session for the Japanese Grand Prix, which was held at the Suzuka circuit, everything moved very quickly for him during those months, just as much or even more so than when he had been on track.
This was the case since he had been on track for as long as he had been on his way. After a few more months, in March 2015, he made his debut in Formula One as a full-fledged driver.
Max Verstappen set the record for the youngest rookie in the history of the Grand Circus on March 15, 2015, when he was 17 and 166 days old.
This achievement occurred during the Australian Grand Prix, the first race held on that course.
A record that will continue to belong to him for a considerable amount of time because, subsequently, the regulations were altered, and it is now forbidden for drivers who have not yet reached the age of majority to compete in Formula One races.
However, his debut was tinged with disappointment. He was unable to see the checkered flag because his engine broke down.
Two weeks later, on the occasion of the Malaysian Grand Prix that was held in Sepang and corresponded to the second round, he broke another record of precocity by becoming the youngest driver to score points thanks to his great seventh position.
In this position, he also overtook his teammate, Carlos Sainz, who finished eighth just behind him. This led to him becoming the youngest driver ever to score points.
A circumstance remained the same for the majority of the year.
The rookie season was a massive success for the Dutchman, as evidenced by the fact that he scored 49 points and finished in twelfth place in the drivers’ championship.
This score reflected two fourth-place finishes, one in the Hungarian Grand Prix and the other in the United States Grand Prix.
The sweet nectar of success would not be far behind him by any stretch of the imagination.
It could be argued that his 2016 season did not begin where it ended, as he only competed for the Faenza-based team in the first four races of the year before moving on to the leading Red Bull team.
The move was prompted by the improving performance shown by Russian Daniil Kyviat, who returned to Toro Rosso, and the consistency shown by the Dutchman in a sticker swap carried out by the energy drink team’s brass. Kavita had returned to Toro Rosso.
And he could not have asked for more in his debut with the “big” team, the good Max, as he took the victory in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix that took place in Montmeló by taking advantage of that famous collision between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on the first lap when they shared team at Mercedes.
Montmeló was the location of the race. At 18 years and 228 days old at the time of his victory, he set a record for being the youngest to win an F1 race.
The conclusion of his second season in Formula One saw him finish on the podium an additional six times, this time in Austria, Silverstone, Germany, Malaysia, Japan, and Brazil.
Because of his outstanding performance, he ended up finishing fifth in the drivers’ standings with 204 points, which was very close to Ferrari’s total.
Even though he raced the entire year for Red Bull and finished sixth, he scored fewer points than in the previous year (168) and was passed by teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who finished fifth with 200 units.
This was due to the aggressiveness and impulsive nature of his driving, which played a trick on him throughout 2017. As a result, he scored fewer points than in the previous year.
He had a string of bad luck, including issues with the brakes, the turbo, and the engine, but he rebounded quickly and finished on the podium in the second race held in China.
Nonetheless, he ended his winless streak with a victory in Malaysia during the back half of the season, followed by another win in Mexico.
In total, he had four separate appearances on the winner’s podium.
After going through a similar situation to what Max did the previous year, Ricciardo would eventually leave for Renault and race for them after they shared a team together for the final time the year after that.
The collision in Baku between the Australian and the Dutchman, which ruined the chances of the Austrian team, allowed the Dutchman to take over the team’s leadership naturally during the second half of the season.
However, this did not occur without conflict, as evidenced by the incident.
The victory he achieved in front of the Red Bull fans at the Austrian Grand Prix was a turning point for him, and he returned to those fans in Mexico.
The final tally included a fourth-place finish, 248 points, and eleven podium appearances, all of which were improvements on the records set in his earlier years.
In addition, it was sufficient for him to win against Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes and keep a very close distance between himself and Kimi Raikkonen.
The following year, 2019, was even better than the previous year, possibly due to his increased tenacity and icy blood.
It will remain for the retina that spectacular battle against Charles Leclerc in Austria during the final laps after finally catching up with the Monegasque after coming from behind.
He finished in third place with 278 points after racking up two additional victories and several podium finishes during the competition.
The first championship with the COVID-19 pandemic put Red Bull and Verstappen in the middle of nowhere.
They could not get close to Mercedes. They did not feel the threat of another car for the runner-up in the constructors’ championship with a Ferrari that performed significantly below its usual level due to a power unit that had been modified for the worse as a result of an FIA imperative.
The Dutchman finished in the first place only twice, once at Silverstone and once at Abu Dhabi, despite dominating the race from the beginning to the end.
At the time of this writing, the current course had already amassed 369.5 points, representing an improvement over the totals obtained in all prior years.
He will be able to brag that he fought for the championship until the very end or that he won it in the final race against Hamilton. Either way, he will have bragging rights.
Not without many tense moments that have already become a part of the annals of this sport’s history, such as the collisions that took place at Silverstone, Monza, and Saudi Arabia.
The passage of time will tell us very soon whether or not he is the last champion of the hybrid era.
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