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Seven years of Verstappen: these were the crucial moments in his F1 career

Seven years of Verstappen: these were the crucial moments in his F1 career

30 January - 15:53 Last update: 17:52


From the moment Max Verstappen scored his first Formula 1 victory, it seemed inevitable that he would be a future World Champion. In 2021 it finally happened. After an intense battle with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, the Dutchman captured his very first, hard-earned world title. Which moments in his so far seven-year Formula 1 career played an important role in his way to the top? We list a few.

Formula 1 debut

When it comes to key moments in Verstappen's career, his Formula 1 debut cannot be missed. At the age of 16 he drove a Formula 1 car for Toro Rosso, now known as AlphaTauri, for the first time.

In October 2014, at 17 years old, he became by far the youngest Formula 1 driver ever when he officially made his debut in the premier class of motor racing. In the first free practice session for the Japan Grand Prix, he was impressed by setting a 12th time, putting Daniil Kvyat under immediate pressure.

Verstappen makes Grand Prix debut

The 2015 Australian Grand Prix marked Verstappen's Grand Prix debut. All eyes were on the 17-year-old rookie, who many believed was far too young to be driving around in Formula 1. However, Verstappen immediately showed his nerves of steel and drove in the points for a long time. An engine failure put an abrupt end to his hopes of scoring points in his debut race, but the first impression was made.

Promotion to Red Bull Racing and first victory

Perhaps the most important moment in Verstappen's career came completely unexpectedly. After just four races in the 2016 season, Helmut Marko made the bold decision to bring the young Dutchman to Red Bull Racing effective immediately. Daniil Kvyat, in turn, was transferred back to Toro Rosso.

That announcement caused a small landslide in the Formula 1 world. That it was the right decision became immediately apparent in the first race weekend in which Verstappen appeared for Red Bull Racing.

Mercedes' champion contenders Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg offered him an opportunity by crashing off the track together just after the start, and Verstappen seized the opportunity with both hands. He managed to keep Kimi Raikkonen 's Ferrari behind him for dozens of laps and immediately turned his first race on behalf of Red Bull into a victory.

Amazing rain race in Brazil

The 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix is one that will not soon be forgotten. Verstappen started fourth in a rained-out race, but dropped back to 16th after making no less than five pit stops, two more than his opponents.

Then the Dutchman began a legendary advance through the field. In sixteen laps, he fought his way back from sixteenth to third place, impressing the Brazilian race fans as well. The comparison with Formula 1 legend Ayrton Senna was born.

Turning point after crash in Monaco

After some early successes, a learning period followed for Verstappen. In 2018, he was involved in several incidents, with a crash during FP3 in Monaco as the low point. Due to the necessary repairs, he had to start the race from the back of the grid. It turned out to be a turning point for the young Dutchman: it took full blame for the incident and seemed to change his attitude after that. From then on, more consistent results followed and mistakes made became rare.

Verstappen captures first world title

He has already completed seven years in Formula 1, but the biggest part is yet to come for Verstappen. The most recent key moment is also the most emotional moment of his entire career: after driving his best season ever and fighting an intense battle with Hamilton, Verstappen captured his first world title in Abu Dhabi.

Winning the title will undoubtedly be one of the most important key moments for the future of the Dutchman. How important exactly will become evident in the coming years. Verstappen has indicated that he would prefer to stay with Red Bull, but in doing so he is also dependent on how his team handles the rule changes of 2022. As a brand-new world champion, the question is now: how many more championships will huh win?

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