F1 World Cup Championships
ABU DHABI for the F1 World Cup Championships: It seemed unavoidable that Max Verstappen would become Formula One world champion after joining the Red Bull Junior Team in 2014.
The fact that it came in the form of a spectacular final lap sprint in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, dethroning seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, will make it much sweeter for the 24-year-old, the first Dutchman to wear the F1 World Cup Championships. “When I was a kid, my dream was to be a Formula One driver,” Verstappen remarked after the race in Abu Dhabi. “You fantasize about podiums and triumphs. But it’s fantastic when they tell you that you’re a world champion.”
Hamilton, 36, has been a phenomenal champion with Mercedes, but Verstappen’s triumph heralds the entrance of a new global order. His speed and skill have always been apparent, but it is his cool under pressure and determination to fight toe-to-toe with a real F1 great, even when things went messy, that has distinguished this season’s journey to the top.
Verstappen wound himself in the crash barriers at Silverstone, then he crashed-landed his Red Bull on top of the Mercedes at Monza at the F1 World Cup Championships. Hamilton crashed into the rear of the Red Bull in Saudi Arabia after Verstappen braked to allow him past.
Off the track, the events have sparked a verbal brawl. In Jeddah, the Dutchman referred to Hamilton as a “dumb fool,” while Hamilton accused the young pretender of being “beyond the limit.” Verstappen won in Abu Dhabi in one of the most unexpected ways possible, with a last-lap surge that bewildered Hamilton.
The competitor, on the other hand, never took a step back or wilted under pressure at the F1 World Cup Championships. “He appears to handle pressure better than others,” two-time world champion Fernando Alonso observed earlier this season. “Everyone is different, but it doesn’t seem to be a major concern for him.” Verstappen is accustomed to the attention and pressure, and with over 20 years of racing experience, he is wise beyond his years.
Max initially climbed into a go-kart when he was four and a half years old, according to his father Jos Verstappen, who competed in over a hundred Grand Prix between 1994 and 2003. “He was following all of my races and understood exactly what was going on. He was raised with racing “In 2019, Jos spoke to the official F1 podcast Beyond the Grid.
“I never had to teach him racing lines since he knew them.”
In Abu Dhabi, the two had a “special” moment, according to Max. His father had no doubts about his son’s accomplishment.
“I am really proud of him,” Jos stated. “This year, Max was the driver, and he earned it.”
His father was not his sole influence in his early racing career; his mother, Sophie Kumpen, is a Belgian ex-kart racer champion. Her uncle raced motocross and rally, while her cousin Anthony Kumpen raced NASCAR in America in the F1 World Cup Championships. Titles followed, and the adolescent Verstappen made the jump up to Formula Three, winning 10 races and finishing third in the championship won by Esteban Ocon, a year his older and now with the F1 Alpine team.
Verstappen would almost probably have won the Formula Three championship, but after only one season, he made the jump to the largest platform. After participating in practice at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, he made his F1 World Cup Championships debut with Toro Rosso in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix. He was the sport’s youngest driver, at 17 years and 166 days, and he still hadn’t passed his ordinary driving test.
“It was never about age for me,” Jos said. “What he was doing seemed so natural. It was outstanding. Max is a thrilling driver. He’s much superior than me.” During his rookie season, he earned his first points and was engaged in his first brawl at the F1 World Cup Championships betting. Verstappen was labeled “dangerous” by Williams driver Felipe Massa after a shunt on Romain Grosjean in Monaco, yet he went on to win the FIA Rookie of the Year award.
He was promoted to the Red Bull squad in May 2016, replacing Daniil Kvyat, and the results were quick and remarkable. In his maiden race, he qualified fourth and then held off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to become the youngest F1 winner ever, at the age of 18.
In his first eight races, Vestappen finished in the top five six times, including four podiums.
He had a superior vehicle after two seasons as runner-up, allowing him to shred the Mercedes at times. “You simply knew Max wasn’t going to give up,” Red Bull founder Christian Horner remarked on Sunday. “He had come so far this year, and to watch him finish it off and become world champion was an incredible sensation.”
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