Max Verstappen’s first lap in China was straight out of a video game. Not only does he make it look easy passing 8 cars, but it’s interesting that he starts the race in 2nd gear and also that he gains at least 100 metres on Dani Kvyat under braking for the final hairpin.
Data was released earlier this week confirming Max Verstappen made more overtaking manoeuvres than any other F1 driver in 2016, which perhaps isn’t a surprise (he held the same record last year too). In this brilliant video Verstappen tells Martin Brundle how his work behind the Safety Car, and his experience on a quadbike, helped him climb 13 places in 14 laps at the end of the Brazilian GP.
In 1994 the Benetton Formula One team dropped an underperforming driver halfway through the season in favour of a young charger called Jos Verstappen. Jos was hugely talented but the sudden opportunity with a winning team was arguably too much too soon. Despite his natural speed, Verstappen struggled with inexperience and was dropped by Benetton 4 months later.
Fast forward to 2016 and Red Bull are taking a similar chance with Max Verstappen. The youngest driver in F1 history is a champion in the making but competing alongside Daniel Ricciardo without much preparation will expose him to a lot of pressure and expectation very early in his career. Red Bull have shown they don’t offer many second chances so Verstappen’s big opportunity is also a big risk. Thankfully Max can ask his Dad for advice.