20-year-old Max Verstappen is set to begin his fourth Formula 1 season in just a few weeks and already there is a lot of hype surrounding the young Dutchman and his potential in the sport. He’s recently just penned a new three-year deal with Red Bull and it is rumoured that this has made him the third highest paid driver on the circuit right now. So, can Verstappen surprise us in 2018 by proving his worth on the track?
First, there is no denying the young Dutchman has the talent and he’s certainly in the same conversation as the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso. What is uncertain though is just where he stands within that pack. Red Bull rushed to tie down Verstappen amid reported interest from Mercedes and this shows that he is in demand.
Verstappen seems to have being going from strength to strength year on year, and already fans are expecting the Dutchman to have a huge 2018. In 2017 he became a lot stronger in qualifying as well as on race day. He was dominant on course to victory in both Malaysia and Mexico even outfoxing Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in the process. 2017 was a great year for Verstappen and all the signs are there for him to impress even more this season.
The major competition for the Dutchman has been his Red Bull teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Last season Verstappen won two races while Ricciardo only won one, but the latter ended the campaign with six more podium finishes than his teammate (8). There seems to be a lot of hope surrounding both drivers this season as they look to close the gap on the likes of Hamilton and Vettel and many are suggesting Verstappen will be the one to give them the most problems.
Verstappen certainly has the personality to be involved in a race for the Drivers’ Championship. First of all, he’s never been one of those that are often caught in the limelight, having his abilities analysed by the public. He’s also supremely self-confident and has made his way to where he is now by mixing that with a lot of hard work.
While it is hard to really predict what will happen this season and whether Verstappen will be able to leave his mark on the title race due to people simply not knowing what other teams and drivers have been getting up to in the off season, you can count on him doing his level best in closing the gap on Hamilton and Vettel. Although, Max is not is the race to win the Drivers’ Championship, there are several betting sites that have betting markets focussing on the driver. For example, trusted brand Unibet already have betting on how many races Max will win this season.
It will also be interesting to see whether Verstappen can really put some distance between himself and his teammate Daniel Ricciardo too. The Dutchman did well last term but would certainly be hoping to improve on not only the number of races he won but also the amount of times he made a podium finish. One thing is for sure, we should be in for a very interesting Formula 1 campaign.