Staying cool is key to his success, says Verstappen senior on son’s sensational debut win
Staying cool under pressure is the key to teenager Max Verstappen's success in becoming the youngest race winner in Formula One history.
Spain: Staying cool under pressure is the key to teenager Max Verstappen's success in becoming the youngest race winner in Formula One history.
That is the opinion of the man who knows him best, his father Jos, a former F1 driver who watched in awe on Sunday as his 18-year-old son, the first Dutchman to do so, claimed his record-breaking victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.
As all around him celebrated one of the most stunning achievements in motor sport, Verstappen senior reflected on how his son had resisted all attacks to win ahead of Ferrari's two world champion drivers, Finn Kimi Raikkonen and German Sebastian Vettel, on his debut with the Red Bull team.
"He's cool, he knows what to do, but this is his life," he said. "He has been racing his whole life, so it's quite normal for him, but to win a Formula One race will always be very special, particularly with the way he won it.
"He was always in control, he didn't make mistakes, and he deserved it."
A sensational opening-lap collision between the two Mercedes drivers, defending three-time champion Lewis Hamilton and championship leader Nico Rosberg, set the stage for Verstappen.
A strategy switch, taking him from three stops to two and doing the reverse for his more experienced Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, was also instrumental.
But it was down to the driver to take his opportunity to win just 10 days after being promoted from the junior Toro Rosso team to replace Russian Daniil Kvyat.
"A lot has happened in the last two weeks, but the most important thing is Max can cope with it all," said Verstappen senior.
"He has put in a lot of hard work with excitement for himself to be driving a top car and for a top team. He's very flexible and he's shown that again."
Father Jos drove 106 races in his career, but was never a winner. His son has claimed a win in his 24th outing.
"To come into a new team and have an achievement like this, it's unbelievable," he said. "I never thought for a moment that after only just changing teams such a thing could happen, not in this way, but we knew we had more chances to win.
"Red Bull is a top team and they know how to win races."
Bottas finished the 18-lap dash 2.325 seconds ahead of Verstappen but will start at the back of the grid on Sunday as he is going to take a new power unit and will receive a penalty for doing so.
Tsunoda has impressed in his rookie season, winning 18 points with a best finish of sixth at the Hungarian Grand Prix while Gasly has been with Alpha Tauri since joining in 2017, except for a short stint with sister team Red Bull in 2019.
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Perez's car was equipped with a new engine as Red Bull decided to make the change given his poor grid position. The Mexican qualified a disappointing 16th on Saturday.