Despite his youth, Max Verstappen is already one of the oldest drivers on the grid after eight consecutive years competing in Formula 1, but at the beginning of this century, reaching the highest category of motorsport was nothing more than a dream.
It all started at the age of four, when the young Dutch driver got his first kart and almost immediately showed his talent. This was what caused his father, Jos Verstappen, then an F1 driver, to hang up his helmet to focus fully on his son’s beginnings in the world of racing.
Together, they toured Europe and competed in different karting races, with Verstappen senior working as a mechanic on Max’s kart, alongside Richard Pex .
On the Red Bull website, Jos Verstappen recalled how his son’s beginnings in motorsport were and explained that it was not easy at all, since they always had to compete against other factory teams, while they went alone.
“We did it all ourselves, while taking on factory teams. We didn’t want to be dependent on others. I’m not saying I knew everything that was needed from the start, but I ended up learning it the hard way. I was working seven days a week , and at least twelve hours a day. I really saw it as a hobby, but I still wanted to always win.”
However, that effort quickly paid off, as Max Verstappen won 49 of his first 50 races, drawing the attention of many brands and teams who turn their eyes to karting and the lower categories to observe and discover the future talents of the sport. motoring.
His greatest success came in 2013, when he became the youngest world champion in the main category of karting. For Jos Verstappen , this victory was a magnificent reward for the hard work he had to do, even pushing the limits on occasion.
“Of course, people sometimes said: there is no reason to do this. And when I look back on it now, I realize that many times we exceeded the limits. Several times I stood still on the workbench, practically not knowing who I was. and where it was”.
“I was exhausted, I lay on the sofa for a few hours and then I continued with the same thing again. But now we know why we did it,” concluded the father of the current Formula 1 world champion after beating Lewis Hamilton, one of the two most successful drivers in history, in the 2021 season.
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Max Verstappen with his father Jos Verstappen