Roberto Merhi, Felipe Nasr, Carlos Sainz, Will Stevens, Max Verstappen
It’s a vintage year for rookies. And Toro Rosso, the team at which two of the classiest acts in town are showing their genius, are at the forefront. Lewis may be racing Nico; Ferrari may forever live in the hope of beating Mercedes, but the brio lies this year at STR. They’re Italian, they used to be Minardi, and so they have lots of air. They’re concisely run by Franz Tost, they don’t have to struggle for money the way Force India or Lotus sometimes struggle, and they’ve got Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. What’s not to like?
Verstappen and Sainz are at opposite ends of the style spectrum. Max is all straight lines and supple inputs – very Lewis Hamilton. Carlos is all right foot and oversteer – very Juan Pablo Montoya. Max also has a Michael Schumacher-like ability to distil the complicated into the essential – to focus on only the things that matter. In his rst race, in Melbourne, he started slowly and built up his speed exponentially, staying out of the way of the quicker cars, focusing on the vagaries of the Renault power curve. The car got away from him – but only because he overcompensated for a sudden drop in revs. Call it a rookie mistake.
He improved, and is improving, with every additional dose of experience. There’s no doubt that Romain Grosjean braked early at Monaco, but Max stayed quiet, shrugged it off and was back in business in Canada. Something weird happened to the car at Silverstone but Max again made nothing of it, blaming