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Max Verstappen is no longer a Formula One rookie

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You're 17, you take your first driving lesson. It wasn't great. Your driving instructor was slightly reminiscent of The Simpsons' Ned Flanders and you stalled in front of your college mates. At 17, driving can be daunting. At 17, driving lessons can be a chore. At 17, Max Verstappen became one of the world's elite drivers and racing in Formula One.

While the rest of us were struggling to get hold of the biting point on a hill start, Verstappen was placed in the Toro Rosso jumpsuit in 2015 after Red Bull shocked the Formula One paddock with the move. With only one season, albeit an extremely successful season in single-seaters, the Dutchman was lining up on the grid alongside the world's best drivers. This is the true definition of rookie.

He has been compared in the same breadth of Formula One legend Ayrton Senna by Red Bull talent chief Helmut Marko. After impressive outings on the F1 tracks, it wasn't long before the motorsport world had realised the rookie just may be the creme-de-la-creme of next generation drivers.

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Last Season

The rookie made his F1 debut at Suzuka in October 2014, finishing within half a second of his team-mate Daniil Kvyat in the first practice session. It was a message to all the drivers who didn't consider him a real threat.

The same way audiences rave about the finesse of Roger Federer, the skill of Lionel Messi and the power of Muhammad Ali, racing fans rave about the technique, skill and bravery of Formula One drivers for pulling off gut-wrenchingly fast and tight over-takes, gliding through corners and flat out speed. Verstappen wasn't shy of either in his first full season racing against the big boys.

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He received universal acclaim for his ruthless approach to overtaking plus his mature attitude and by the end of the season, it had paid off. He found himself with 22 more points than any other rookie in the sport whilst picking up a record three FIA awards for Rookie of the Year, Personality of the Year and Action of the Year. And he's only going to get better.

There are only a handful of sporting stars that are blessed with talent at such a young age who successfully go on to be consistently great in their chosen sport. Max Verstappen is set to be one of them. His second season in F1 is sure to prove any doubters of his worth and Red Bull will be confident they have a future star in their paddock.

Future

While most 17-year-olds buckle up in their Vauxhall Corsa's, Verstappen will be strapping up in Toro Rosso's new STR11 with its 2015 Ferrari spec-engine. This may just be the horsepower he needs to fire his career to the next level.

Don't expect the new boy to take it easy on the experienced professionals this season. He's racing to win. With a year's experience in the bag and intense training with Toro Rosso, Verstappen remains one to watch this season.

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Topics:
Max Verstappen
Formula 1

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