‘Max didn’t do anything wrong’: how Suzuka gave Verstappen a launchpad

Seven years after his first drive aged only 17, memories of the champion-in-waiting’s Suzuka debut remain vivid

Incongruous as it is to equate with his still-boyish looks, at 25 years old Max Verstappen is very much the grizzled Formula One veteran. Eight years into his career the Dutchman is race-hardened but to an extent still a kid in a sweet shop. Right place, right time and a fistful of sherbet lemons in the form of the car, his Red Bull team and a natural talent.

Verstappen still bears himself with an enthusiastic, youthful demeanour, as right he might. With a second title within his grasp at Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, he is delivering on the promise shown at his F1 debut at Suzuka when he was 17.

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