NOT TOO MUCH, NOT TOO YOUNG

There were crit­ics who claimed 17-year-old Max Ver­stap­pen wasn’t ready for F1. But the Toro Rosso racer is rapidly prov­ing them wrong with a string of im­pres­sive drives

F1 Racing - - YOU ASK THE QUESTIONS -

He was barely 17 when he rst slid his feet into a For­mula 1 cock­pit, test­ing a Toro Rosso in prac­tice for the 2014 Ja­panese Grand Prix. He’s still 17 now. And yet – bar the odd slip here and there – Max Ver­stap­pen has con­founded those pun­dits who thought he’d been given too much, too young, and would burn out as a re­sult.

Toro Rosso team prin­ci­pal Franz Tost de­nounced those doubters as “id­iots” ear­lier this year. Now, in con­ver­sa­tion with F1 Rac­ing, he’s more diplo­matic.

“I was 100 per cent con­vinced that he was ready and ma­ture enough to take this chal­lenge, and I said so last year,” says Tost, phras­ing his point del­i­cately and with a wry smile. “I’m happy that he now also con­vinces some peo­ple who were to­tally against this.”

We’re talk­ing be­tween ses­sions in Monaco, so Max has yet to have his late-race con­tretemps with Ro­main Gros­jean. For now, he’s the talk of the town in a good way. Hav­ing never driven on the cir­cuit for real be­fore – he ar­rived in F1 via Euro­pean For­mula 3, which doesn’t race at Monte Carlo – and with just a day’s prepara­tory work on the sim­u­la­tor, he’s nished in the top ten in both open­ing prac­tice ses­sions:

STU­ART CODLING

ALASTAIR STA­LEY/LAT

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