As his teenage son inspired gasps and cheers at fabled Spa-Francorchamps, Jos Verstappen was not surprised by what he saw. 24 hours after a GP2 driver, Dutch countryman Daniel de Jong, broke his back in a head-on crash at the same corner and had to undergo hours of surgery, it was Max Verstappen who used fearsome Blanchimont as the scene of his heroics.
First, the Toro Rosso sensation passed Fernando Alonso on the inside, and later Felipe Nasr on the outside in moves that stunned the racing world. Father Jos was not surprised, although he did admit to being "proud". As for a reward, Verstappen senior joked before leaving Spa-Francorchamps: "He does not have to walk home. I will give him a lift," he laughed, referring to the fact that Max is yet to secure his road driving licence.
Around the racing world, however, people are raving about young Verstappen's bravery and skills. "That's nice to hear," Max is quoted by De Telegraaf newspaper. "I'm glad also for all the people in the stands that I can give them some great moves for their money. That's why they come to the circuit. It's more fun going from 18th to eighth than to start and finish eighth," Verstappen added.
Father Jos, meanwhile, said he was not surprised by his son's courage as he launched the blistering overtakes, particularly the one on the outside of Nasr. "It was typical Max," he said, admitting that he did hold his breath for a moment.
"In those moments I'm confident it's going to go well. In fact, the Max we saw racing at Spa, that's the Max we know," Verstappen told his website. "That's the way he raced in karts, Formula 3 and now in F1. There are many more stunning overtakes ahead of us, I know that for sure." (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing