In his home country Max Verstappen is idolised to a degree that’s hard to explain… but we’ll give it our best shot! F1R spent a weekend with him at the former venue of the Dutch GP and watched him smash the lap record in a Red Bull RB8
As the sun rises, the lifeguards move into position. Flags are hoisted and ice-cream vendors stack their wafer cones for business. It’s going to be another scorcher. The busy doubledecker trains pull into the nal stop on the line and holidaymakers swarm ant-like out of Zandvoort aan Zee station. But today, they are not ocking to the sandy beaches. They are turning their backs to the waves and heading inland to the dunes to watch their hero perform. The former home of the Dutch Grand Prix will today resonate to the sound of Formula 1 machinery, 32 years after the last world championship race was held here.
In a garage at the top of the pitlane sits a Red Bull RB8. There’s no need for slick presentation; this is F1 in the raw. As the countdown to a show run ticks down, more fans clamber up the sandy dunes for a better view. Around the track, children press their faces up against the chain-link fences to catch a glimpse of the car and, most importantly, the driver.
Greeted by whoops from the crowd, Max Verstappen, 19, nally appears, anked by his entourage as he coolly strolls down the pitlane. He smiles and waves to his fans as he enters the garage. Marshals clear the pitlane as the V8 burbles into life. Local photographers are literally shaking as they try to line up the Dutch national hero in their viewnders as he lowers himself into the cockpit of the 2012 machine.
Once he’s strapped in, he blips the throttle and the roar thrills those who can hear but not yet see him. The tension builds around the track. Then standard Formula 1 procedures take over. His engineer walks backwards out into the pitlane, signals for the four tyre warmers to be removed, and commands Max to take to the track. The car clunks forward into rst gear and he