Max Verstappen was destined for success in motorsports from an early age, and he proved this by defeating his F1 driver father Jos when he was only 5 years old!
When he first demonstrated his extraordinary skill behind the wheel at an event in Australia back in 2003, the double world champion was little older than a small child.
Owner of the team Paul Stoddart has described how young Verstappen dealt his father Jos a severe defeat while he was in the penultimate year of his own F1 career with Minardi.
“Jos was quick,” Stoddart told the F1 Nation podcast. “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.”
“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.”
The Red Bull star’s ascent to glory was only beginning on that day in Australia, and 13 years later in Barcelona, he would shock the Formula 1 community by becoming the sport’s youngest Grand Prix winner. Stoddart was not at all astonished that he was still only 18 years old.
“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.”