Just two years ago, Max Verstappen made his FIA Formula 3 European Championship debut and thrilled insiders, pundits and fans right away. The Dutch talent progressed at racing speed and at the end of just one season in car racing, he made the step to Formula One. And now, less than 18 months after his switch to the pinnacle of motor racing, he clinched his maiden GP win.
Max Verstappen is regarded as one of the biggest motor racing talents of the recent past and with his performances he regularly proved these assessments to be right. A few days prior to the Spanish GP that was held last weekend at Barcelona he was advanced from Red Bull’s young-driver squad, Toro Rosso, to Red Bull Racing – and once again he succeeded in impressing everyone straightaway. By qualifying fourth he secured a promising starting position for the race and following the collision of the two Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, he made perfect use of the situation by winning the race and celebrating his maiden F1 triumph.
“It’s a very special feeling,” said the 18-year old Dutchman. “Of course I didn’t expect to win. After the Mercedes pair crashed then you’re targeting a podium, but in the end to come out on top – it’s incredible. To hear the Dutch national anthem for the first time in Formula One, I have to think about my dad for sure and I heard he was crying, so yeah it’s unbelievable. He invested a lot of time in me and this achievement is also because of him. We focused a lot on keeping the tyres alive because at my last stop I still had 32 laps until the end, but it worked out well. It was very good company on the podium, I mean Kimi even raced against my dad, so it’s very funny. I will for sure remember this.”
Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner also was thrilled by the performance of his young driver: “A quite remarkable day for Max Verstappen who, on his debut for the team, has become the youngest ever race winner after producing an exemplary drive,” he said. “It was a difficult race but Max implemented our strategy perfectly and didn’t make the slightest mistake.”
Before switching to F1, Max also left his marks in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. In the 2014 season he secured 10 race wins, even one more than the 2014 champion, Esteban Ocon. The Dutchman who had switched from karting right to FIA Formula 3 made it to the top step as early as in the second race meeting and in summer, he even celebrated six consecutive race wins. Neither at Spa-Francorchamps nor at the Norisring was anybody able to beat Verstappen who contested the 2014 season for the Dutch squad Van Amersfoort Racing.