Five important Max Verstappen moments that occurred during the 2019 F1 season

07-01-2020 17:10
by Matt Gretton
Column
Five important Max Verstappen moments that occurred during the 2019 F1 season

Max Verstappen announced on January 7 that he had signed with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing until at least the 2023 Formula 1 season. The 22-year-old Dutchman recorded his best championship finish during 2019. He's tipped to become one of the greatest stars in his generation and looks likely to endure a career-long battle with Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc. We look at Max's five key moments which saw him beat both Ferrari drivers in 2019. 

1. Podium in Australia 

Unless your name is Helmut Marko, nobody was entirely certain how Red Bull Racing car would perform with its first Honda engine in the back. While it wasn't a race filled with high drama, Verstappen overtook Sebastian Vettel on lap 30. The top five remained the same for the next 28 laps. Seeing the Red Bull car keep Leclerc and Vettel behind was a foreshadow of what was to come. 

2. Austria domination 

For the first time in the season, Mercedes weren't able to show strong pace. Who was there to fill the gap? Verstappen. The Australian race might have given us a sign of what was to come for the rest of the season, the Austrian Grand Prix may well signal the future. Leclerc and Verstappen fighting at the top, yet the Dutchman was the man to come out in front. 

3. Master in the wet 

The German Grand Prix was crazy. The Red Bull Racing driver actually spun around, but still managed to win the race. Everyone was slipping up on the track. Even Hamilton had some contact as a result of a slide. Crashes, slips and contact happened to all of the experienced drivers, but Verstappen was the man who barely had trouble. 

4. Hungary pole position

Virtually the only thing that had remained absent from Verstappen's achievement cabinet was a pole position. Up until the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix. At this point, the Red Bull Racing team had the RB15 performing at the top of its game. Both Hamilton and Verstappen were fighting on all cylinders yet the Dutchman came on top by just 0.018 to clinch his first pole. A monkey off his back. 

5. What yellow flags?

Throughout the last 18 months, Verstappen has shown more maturity on and off-track. But the yellow flag incident in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix was a small step backwards. Valtteri Bottas was in the wall, yellow flags were waved (only just in time) but Verstappen failed to lift. In a subsequent interview, he himself admitted that he didn't lift and eventually he was penalised. 

Verstappen is Red Bull Racing's golden boy. Yet the man himself is proving he can battle against the likes of Hamilton and the Ferrari drivers. As proved by the last point, there's still some room for improvement but he's on the right track. And that feeling would have made the contract extension an easy choice. 

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