Max Verstappen’s impact on Formula One over the past year or so – and certainly since he joined the Team and scored that incredible win in Spain – has been nothing short of spectacular.
But while the Dutch teenager has been hailed as one of the most exciting drivers to join the F1 circuit for many a year, the international fervour is nothing compared to the rapturous reception he received this weekend when he brought F1 action back to his homeland at the Familie Race Dagen (Family Race Days) at the legendary Zandvoort Circuit.
The seaside circuit last hosted an F1 grand prix all the way back in 1985, but this weekend the track echoed to the sound of Max power as the Netherlands’ latest racing sensation brought the spectacular thrill of F1 back to the famous venue with a series of five live demos in our double title-winning RB8.
“It was a great experience again,” said Max of his tyre-smoking runs. “It’s always great to see so many fans coming to this event and to drive on this track with a Red Bull Formula One car is amazing. I definitely enjoyed it a lot.”
Despite his tender years, Max is something of an old hand around Zandvoort and the Dutchman won the 2014 F3 Masters event here. It’s a favourite circuit of the 18-year-old.
“You have a little bit less run off and it’s a bit more old school, with the type of turns [it has] and the elevation but that it makes very interesting,” he said. “It’s very challenging to find the limit of this track because of the lack of run off, so once you find that you’re on the limit or very close to it, it’s very exciting.”
Max’s show-stopping runs were the highlights of a massively busy weekend of motorised action at the track, where the bulk of the racing action was presented by the Formula 4 NEZ championship. The seven-round championship takes in races in Russia, Finland, Sweden and the Netherlands and on home soil 15-year-old local boy and Red Bull Junior Team member Richard Verschoor set the pace.
For many youngsters in attendance, the presence of a grand prix winner not much older than themselves was the big draw and Max was delighted that the two-day event had drawn such a big crowd – estimated at 50,000 per day.
“It’s a very special event, as it’s for the whole family and it’s great to see the ambition of the young kids already,” he said. “Hopefully they also start racing. It’s great for Dutch sport in general, so very happy to see that. Motorsport here got a big boost in the last couple of months and that’s very positive.”