When 18-year-old Max Verstappen topped the timing sheets in his debut F1 season with Toro Rosso during FP1 at the 2015 Mexican GP


When 18-year-old Max Verstappen topped the timing sheets in his debut F1 season with Toro Rosso during FP1 at the 2015 Mexican GP

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen is arguably the best driver in Formula 1 today. Verstappen dominated the 2022 F1 season like never seen before. The Dutchman secured a total of 15 race victories, the most for a driver in a single season. Despite being only 25 years of age, Max has solidified his place among the all-time greats of the pinnacle of motorsport. Unsurprisingly, it was Red Bull that gave the Dutchman a shot at F1 with the Toro Rosso team in 2015.

After making his debut in F1, Max Verstappen instantly garnered attention for being the youngest driver in Formula 1. This even resulted in an update to the FIA Super License to prevent any future 17-year-old debutants. However, from the beginning, Verstappen proved his skills to the critics and the world as he delivered some impressive performances. One such performance was at the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix’s Free Practice 1 session.

Max has went on dominate the Mexican Grand Prix in recent years

The 2015 iteration of the Mexican GP, was held at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexican City. Max Verstappen dominated the first Friday practice session of this event after setting a lap time of 1:25.990, over 1.4 seconds ahead of teammate Carlos Sainz. This put the Dutchman on the top of the timesheets and proved as a testament to his talent. Verstappen also completed the most number of laps during the session with a total of 38 laps.

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Max Verstappen finished P9 at the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix

Max crashed out in the following practice session later that day

Coincidentally, it was Daniil Kyvat in the Red Bull who was the runner-up to Max in the session albeit three-tenths slower than the Dutchman. Although, neither of the drivers knew that in the upcoming year, Max Verstappen would replace Kvyat at Red Bull after the Russian Grand Prix. Daniil Kvyat would go back to Toro Rosso and witness a gradual decline in the trajectory of his F1 career.

Max Verstappen surely did an outstanding lap in FP1 that weekend but reality did strike in soon. Max ended up hitting the barriers in the next session, losing out on valuable track time. Verstappen recovered and qualified his Toro Rosso on a commendable P9. And was able to hold his position during the race bringing home two crucial points for his team. It must be noted that Toro Rosso was in the lower half of the pecking order in 2015, with the Italian team finishing the team’s championship in P7.

As such, Max Verstappen’s effort was a true showcase of his talent. However, perhaps almost no one knew what was to come in the future. Verstappen is now a two-time world champion, having stopped the onslaught of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes in 2021. Max even utterly destroyed Scuderia Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in 2022 after a highly successful campaign. It is thus no wonder that the Dutchman is regarded by some as the best driver on the grid.

In the 2023 F1 season, Max Verstappen will be tasked to protect his crown for the second year in a row. Red Bull is confident about their chances this season, despite the on-coming threat of Mercedes who will be looking for redemption. Certainly, this year will be an interesting title fight with the possibility of Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari, all fighting for the top spot. Thus, Verstappen surely has a great challenge on his hands.

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