Record books inevitably get rewritten occasionally, however solely not often do whole pages get ripped out directly. Yet that’s precisely what occurred when Verstappen entered the sport.
Just three days after his seventeenth birthday, the Dutchman made his official grand prix debut at the wheel of a Toro Rosso in apply for the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.
Groomed by his father, former F1 driver Jos Verstappen, Max was clearly destined to achieve the highest echelons of motor racing. After reaching success in karting, Verstappen instantly jumped as much as Formula three in his first season in vehicles.
At the age of 16 Verstappen completed third in the 2014 Euro F3 championship behind Esteban Ocon and Tom Blomqvist, choosing up 10 race wins alongside the approach.
Red Bull received the battle for Verstappen’s providers when it managed to supply him a 2015 F1 drive at Toro Rosso, which might make him by far the youngest and least skilled F1 driver ever.
Max Verstappen celebrates his first F1 win with Red Bull
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
The Verstappen Rules
In response to Verstappen’s early rise, the FIA issued its first “Verstappen rule” by elevating F1’s age restrict to 18 from 2015 onwards. It would imply the Verstappen would stay F1’s youngest driver for the foreseeable future.
In Melbourne Verstappen eased any worries the FIA could have had about his maturity by impressing with a strong efficiency. The Dutchman was solely denied factors on his debut by an engine failure, however factors would arrive in Malaysia with a surprising seventh place.
That set the tone for a outstanding debut season by which he in contrast favourably to teammate Carlos Sainz, however it might pale in comparison with what the 2016 season had in retailer.
When Red Bull’s Helmut Marko determined to demote Daniil Kvyat simply 4 races into the 2016 season, Verstappen’s promotion to the A-team was a shock however at the identical time absolutely according to his meteoric rise in the sport.
At the Spanish Grand Prix Verstappen wrote historical past once more, holding off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to turn into F1’s youngest-ever winner.
Overnight Verstappen had turn into a frontrunner in Formula 1. A brand new contender the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Raikkonen needed to reckon with.
Verstappen reintroduced a extra aggressive fashion of racing and shortly got here to blows with a few of his rivals, significantly Raikkonen after incidents in Hungary and Belgium.
The FIA issued a guidelines clarification in Austin, clamping down on the dreaded transferring below braking which Verstappen had been discovered responsible of.
Ironically, the second “Verstappen rule” caught out Ferrari to Red Bull’s profit, when Sebastian Vettel was penalised in Mexico for his defensive actions in opposition to Ricciardo.
The second Verstappen rule didn’t final lengthy. The FIA relaxed the guidelines once more forward of the 2017 season in a bid to provide drivers extra on-track freedom and cut back the strain on its stewards.
In his early days Verstappen definitely made the odd mistake, however it might have been short-sighted to chalk off his driving techniques as youthful exuberance.
Verstappen appeared to have taken a web page out of the late Ayrton Senna’s e book, who was identified for the same aggressive fashion of racing.
From his early F3 days in England Senna established himself by attempting to get into his opponents’ heads, bullying them into both yielding or risking an accident.
In comparable vogue the 2016-spec Verstappen tried to indicate he’s no pushover, backing up his occasional brash strikes with fiery post-race feedback.
Verstappen notched up two extra wins in 2017, however every so often the impatience of youth would nonetheless shine by with a number of on-track incidents, which might draw criticism from mentor Marko and staff boss Christian Horner.
That all appeared to vary in 2018 after a troubled Monaco Grand Prix weekend, by which Verstappen did not make qualifying following an FP3 crash and his teammate Ricciardo ended up profitable the race.
Verstappen bounced again with an excellent run of measured performances, ending on the podium 10 instances in the remaining 15 races. With new-found consistency Verstappen beat Ferrari duo Vettel and Charles Leclerc to 3rd in the 2019 championship. At the identical time, a heated confrontation with Esteban Ocon in Brazil confirmed Verstappen’s quick-tempered aspect continues to be there.
Dutch followers storm the Red Bull Ring to rejoice the victory of Max Verstappen
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
Rekindling a dormant flame
The two “Verstappen rules” aren’t the solely approach by which the now 22-year-old Dutchman impacted the sport. In his native nation of the Netherlands he rekindled the flame of a sports-crazed nation, which had been dormant after lacklustre performances by its soccer staff.
By the time Verstappen took his maiden win in Barcelona, the bandwagon had properly and actually began rolling and Verstappen shortly grew to become a family identify identical to father Jos was.
Armies of Dutch supporters shortly unfold round European race tracks, colouring grandstands orange and offering a much-needed shot in the arm for a number of grands prix.
The Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was the greatest beneficiary of Max Mania. After a few tough post-Schumacher years, Spa began promoting out once more due to the huge inflow of followers from close by Holland.
Spa’s success was an inspiration for the Netherlands to attach with historical past and convey again a real house race for Verstappen and his legions of followers.
The Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort was a pillar of the Formula 1 world championship between 1952 and the race’s demise in 1985.
Using the momentum of Verstappen’s rising reputation and a rising curiosity in F1, each Zandvoort and Assen battled to convey the race again to the nation.
In the finish Zandvoort prevailed. Exactly one yr in the past the race’s sporting director Jan Lammers and F1 CEO Chase Carey introduced Formula 1 would return to the Dutch dunes on a renovated circuit, a comeback delayed by the COVID-19 disaster.
Charles Leclerc leads Max Verstappen at the 2019 British Grand Prix
Photo by: Gareth Harford / Motorsport Images
Triggering the Twitch technology
Verstappen’s reputation has additionally seen a dramatic improve outdoors his personal nation. At the age of 22, Verstappen and Ferrari rival Leclerc are the faces of a brand new technology of F1 superstars.
Verstappen and Leclerc already went head-to-head on observe on a number of events, producing one in every of the sport’s most memorable duels lately at a riveting 2019 British Grand Prix.
Both kids have been snapped up by their respective groups on long-term offers, offering the mouth-watering prospect of two of the most interesting abilities of their technology doing battle in aggressive equipment for years to return.
In the age of social media, Verstappen and his friends are additionally invaluable in bringing Formula 1 to a brand new technology of followers. During the coronacrisis lockdown, esports and sim racing have seen an infinite improve in reputation.
Along with the stellar efforts of McLaren star and Twitch king Lando Norris, Verstappen’s sim racing exploits can go a great distance in constructing a bridge between two completely different worlds which Formula 1 can capitalise on.
At the age of 22 years and 7 months, Verstappen already has 102 begins, 31 podiums and eight wins below his belt, roughly at the age at which Lewis Hamilton received his maiden grand prix in 2007.
In 5 years of Formula 1 Verstappen has come a great distance, however his journey has solely simply begun. Who is aware of what his influence on the sport will find yourself being.
Shane van Gisbergen and Max Verstappen in a digital Supercar race
Photo by: Supercars