17-year-old Formula 1 racing driver Max Verstappen has caused quite a stir since he entered the F1 scene in March this year. The son of former Dutch F1 driver Jos Verstappen, Max is the youngest driver in Formula 1. Unbelievably, he hadn’t passed his driving test when he joined the sport, so he was allowed to run 200 mph around a mile. race track, but driving on public roads is not allowed. Since then he has passed his test and due to a regulatory change, his record as the youngest driver to compete in Formula 1 will remain, as the minimum age for a super license (the type you need to be able to race on the track) has been increased to 18 years.
Despite the endorsement of his famous father, Max has earned his place in F1 through talent. He quickly rose through the ranks of Red Bull’s young driver program and beat out several other talented youngsters to secure a unit for Red Bull’s sister F1 team, Torro Rosso. It was widely expected that, despite his talents, Max would not be able to cope with the pressure of the sport, which is notoriously ruthless if drivers underperform. Many of Max’s predecessors on the Torro Rosso team have been eliminated due to substandard performance, sometimes mid-season. A former Torro Rosso driver has gone on to achieve greatness in the sport. Sebastian Vettel joined Red Bull after being promoted from Torro Rosso and won 4 consecutive world championships between 2010 and 2013.
However, Verstappen has risen to the occasion and has consistently exceeded expectations so far this season. He has been praised for his courageous overtaking, as well as his frank pace and maturity. On the occasions when things did not go according to plan, it was due to mechanical failures beyond his control. Red Bull boss Dr. Helmut Marko recently told current Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kyvaat to roll up their socks because their sister team counterparts Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz outperformed them.
The young Dutchman’s fortunes have turned in the last week when Formula 1 headed to Monaco for what is considered the jewel in the crown of the F1 season. Verstappen silenced his critics during Thursday’s “free practice” sessions before the race by driving through the street circuit in the third fastest time. Fellow drivers and racing experts praised Max for his pace on a circuit that is incredibly difficult to master with its narrow track and tight corners that leave no room for mistakes. But his inexperience was shown on race day when he tried to overtake Romain Grosjean’s Lotus at the Sainte Devote corner and ended up causing a major collision.
Having placed his car in a prime position to overtake the Frenchman. Verstappen was caught off guard when Grosjean braked earlier than expected before the corner and crashed into the Lotus’ right rear wheel. Verstappen’s left front suspension broke on impact and his car hit the barrier at over 100 mph. The Lotus was able to continue without obvious damage and, thankfully, Verstappen escaped the cockpit unscathed. Those who watched the race live on television have the best angle of the accident, as the live footage at the time was from the on-board camera next to the driver’s helmet.
After the accident, Verstappen blamed Grosjean for braking too early, but after an investigation by race stewards who handle racing disputes and incidents, Verstappen was found to have caused the collision and was given a grid penalty for the next race in Canada June 5-7, and also received 2 penalty points on his license. The youngster has been philosophical ever since, saying that he is a rookie and will make some mistakes, which the team expect from time to time. He is also aware that if he is promoted to the Red Bull team in the future, those mistakes will not be tolerated. We hope Max recovers from this incident at the Canadian Grand Prix at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal. For more details, plus tickets and the latest Formula 1 news, visit http://cheapf1tickets.com.