Red Bull driver Max Verstappen may not have known this himself, but his family was confident about his driving ability after a peculiar incident took place when he was just 5 years old.
Barely out of his diapers, Max stunned his dad when he showed him his stunning driving skills after a challenge from a friend.
Bear in mind, Max’s father Jos Verstappen was still an F1 driver at the time, driving for Minardi in what would be his last season in the sport.
The challenge was put forward by Jos Verstappen’s Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart at an event in Australia back in 2003.
Stoddart narrated the story on the F1 Nation podcast.
“Jos was quick. Let’s just say that Jos had lost nothing. I’d worked with him at Tyrell in 1997, in 2000 with Arrows and then obviously 2003 with us. So I knew how quick he was,” Stoddart said.
“I knew that even though you might argue that he was getting on his career, that again the hunger was there – he was up for it. But sadly in 2003 we didn’t have the car for him, it’s just how it was.
“In August or September that year we held an event with the two-seaters, all eight of them, at Rockingham. We had one of the first ever Formula One simulators, that was just coming out in those days.
“So this very young, cheeky Max is saying to Jos, ‘come on Dad, I want to have a race with you in the simulators’. So eventually Jos gave in and had a race with Max.
“You want me to tell you or you tell me who won the race? Max knows, Max did. It was 2003, he’d have been 5 or 6.”
This was just an early flavour of the talent Max possessed and 13 years down the line, he would catch more than just his father and Stoddart by surprise with his audacious driving talent with a win in Barcelona.
Becoming the youngest Grand Prix winner will become just one of many potential lists Max will find his name on, but none of this comes as a surprise to Stoddart.
“He showed what he’d got as early as that (jn 2003). With Sophie (Kumpen, his racing driver mother), with her background and Jos’ background, why would you be surprised.”