It’s hard to overlook Max Verstappen. I’m still not convinced he is a complete racer, but there is no denying he is quick. Capable of achieving some outstanding overtakes, the youngster has built his name as a bold and hard racer. His age was always going to be a talking point, and at times, I have winced at his ‘teenager’ antics. His attitude is the one thing I look at and hope he addresses. It is simply unacceptable to swear at other drivers and your own team on televised coverage. I know a certain other driver who needs to learn that lesson Seb.
If Max can clean up his act, and allow me to focus my attention on his performance on the track, then I’m sure I will be sold immediately. The guy knows how to drive, this much is clear. Winning on his debut race for Red Bull underlines exactly how special Verstappen has the potential to be. Max has deserved his opportunity, although I think this whole situation has been terribly unfair for Carlos Sainz, another very talented driver.
A World Title Challenge in 2017?
I have said before that this World Championship season could be the most open in a long time. Red Bull and Ferrari have the chance to overcome their shortfalls in power. I am backing the Bulls to produce a very, very strong aerodynamic package, which could well place them at the top of the order come Melbourne. Verstappen will find himself very well placed to mount a serious title challenge should that be the case.
It’s too early to say this could be a defining moment for Verstappen, but Max could begin his legend with a championship win in 2017. There will be some very tough obstacles. Daniel Ricciardo is possibly the strongest overall driver on the grid right now. It will take a very impressive performance to beat the Australian, but I think Max is one of the few who could. Those two could provide some of the highlights of the season.
Mercedes aren’t just going to disappear of course. Lewis Hamilton must still go into the season as favourite for the title. With Valtteri Bottas coming in to stake his claim on the top step, the spoils could be spread between four or five drivers. Consistency could well be the deciding factor. Something Verstappen will need to work on, I feel. An extra year of experience will no doubt help, but he will need to focus less on the short term. The spectacular overtakes will provide the rewards if he chooses the moments. The sooner he can accept that he won’t win every race, the better.
A future Champion, sooner or later.
Max Verstappen will be World Champion one day. No matter the outcome in 2017, he is confident enough to know that. That won’t stop him from going all out for glory when the lights go out though. Should the car be capable, I am pretty sure he will be pushing harder than ever. As far as Max is concerned, the most aggressive driver will win the race. His driving epitomises that fact.
Max Verstappen’s exploits will be dominating the highlight reel of 2017, that much is certain.
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