A few weeks ago, Max Verstappen, (Van Amersfoort Racing) signed his first Fórmula 1 contract and this Friday, he already took part in his first official Free Practice session for the Toro Rosso team. The Dutchman, who only turned 17 a few days ago and is currently second in the FIA Fórmula 3 European Championship drivers’ standings, put in a solid performance at the challenging Suzuka race circuit and was classified twelfth.
“Today, my main goal was gaining experience”. Max Verstappen summed up after his first official outing in Fórmula 1 that came to a halt a few minutes before the end of the session due to a technical problem. “The Fórmula 1 car is bigger than my Fórmula 3 car and there is much more to do while driving. I needed some laps to adapt myself to it. I deliberately avoided taking any risks because I wanted to rack up as many kilometres as possible. This outing on Friday was a nice opportunity for me to prepare for next year even better and I am very thankful to Red Bull and Toro Rosso for this. The team is great and I am feeling really well there. I hope that I get some more chances to run on Fridays at Austin, São Paulo and Abu Dhabi, because I can hardly await getting back into the car again”.
Even though Max Verstappen didn’t say anything about his performance, his team was impressed. “Max’s performance in his first Free Practice in Fórmula 1 was fantastic. We are really happy with him, because he did lap times that we didn’t expect on the first day with this car”. Toro Rosso’s chief race engineer Phil Charles said about his latest and youngest protégé.