Jos Verstappen believes the key to his son Max’s sensational climb to become Formula 1’s youngest winner was the approach the pair had to iron out any driving weaknesses in karting.
The father-son alliance has been a close one ever since Max started racing, and Jos thinks it was the way the pair set about improving and working out why things went wrong when he first started that is paying off now.
“I think his education as a young boy to get wide information, I spent hours and hours [with him],” said Jos, reflecting on the road that has helped Max become the youngest ever winner in F1.
“Every manoeuvre he made, or every mistake he made, we were talking about it, not shouting: but talking and explaining. That’s why I think he is so fast for his age.
“I definitely feel that he is better than me of course, I’ve known this for the long time,” the proud father added.
Verstappen also believes that his son has been helped by what the former Benetton and Arrows driver learned during his own F1 career - which never delivered the kind of results many had expected.
“I know my mishaps and my good points and my weak points,” he said. “Also you need some luck to arrive to the top, you need to be at the right place at the right time, and luckily we have done that.
“But also from the first moment that he’s been on the racing car, he was very... everybody was watching him.
“He did an outstanding job, the way he was racing, the way he was handling things, and himself. He keeps quiet when he needs to be quiet, and it’s something special,” he added.
On his own now
After Max was promoted to Red Bull, Jos took the decision to step back a little from his high-profile involvement in his son's career, even though he continues to manage him.
But Jos believes his 18-year-old is more than ready to work on his own now.
“He was already [working alone] in Barcelona,” he said. “And I know that he’s ready for it. When he can do a race like Spain, I think he’s very much ready.
“But for me, the job is done? I don’t think so. I try to manage and coach [him] to be in the right direction.
“To be with the right people in the right moment and I think we have done quite well so far.”
Although there was some risk in Verstappen moving up to Red Bull after just more than one year of F1 racing under his belt, Jos thinks that is was a move that could not be turned down.
“Life is a risk,” he said. “At the end we all know the quality of Max, I think Red Bull knows the qualities of Max, they analysed him really well.
“To me it was clear that we had to be here and it’s proven. I think age as we all said is not a big issue.
“Max proved that he is a proper driver [winning the Spanish Grand Prix] and I think this is the most important thing.”
Co-author: Roberto Chinchero, Journalist