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Former F1 team manager reveals moment he KNEW Verstappen was 'special one'

Former F1 team manager reveals moment he KNEW Verstappen was 'special one'

Former F1 team manager reveals moment he KNEW Verstappen was 'special one'

Former F1 team manager reveals moment he KNEW Verstappen was 'special one'

Former Toro Rosso team manager Graham Watson has revealed the moment he realised Max Verstappen was going to be a ‘special one’.

2024 marks ten years since Verstappen got his first taste of F1 machinery, where he took part in FP1 in Suzuka in 2014 with the Red Bull junior team, becoming the youngest ever driver to drive an F1 car at the age of 17 years and three days.

READ MORE: Horner Red Bull saga given fresh update ahead of Chinese Grand Prix

The Dutchman would sign with the team full time in 2015 and would be promoted to Red Bull a year later to replace Daniil Kvyat.

Since then, the 26-year-old has won the last three world championships consecutively, the previous two in dominant fashion, and has the third most amount of wins in F1 history with 57.

Max Verstappen had his first F1 test with Toro Rosso in 2014
He was promoted to Red Bull in 2016

Toro Rosso team manager reveals special Verstappen moment

After his first test in the Toro Rosso at Suzuka, Verstappen followed it up with another solid FP1 outing in Brazil, where he caught the attention of onlookers after he lost control of his STR09 and recovered with a great save.

And speaking with Autosport, Watson, who was the team’s manager at the time, revealed it was that moment where he realised that Verstappen was a special talent.

"Max is not arrogant but, like his father, he is brimming with self-confidence," he said.

READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE: F1 winner hints at KEY reason for Ricciardo ‘struggle’

Verstappen is now a three-time world champion

"I first saw that in Brazil, when he had quite a moment during that practice and almost crashed. Normally a young driver is a bit upset then, but Max was just able to keep the car under control and a lap later drove his fastest time.

"We have to remember that Max was then driving our race car for the weekend. If he crashed badly, we would have really had a problem with the regular drivers, but even at that age, I never thought: 'Oh my God, he gets back in the car, and it goes hopelessly wrong.'

"It's hard to put into words exactly what I felt, but from that moment I knew Max was going to be a special one."

READ MORE: Red Bull boss Horner beaten by F1 NEMESIS as new rich list unveiled

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Red Bull Max Verstappen Chinese Grand Prix Toro Rosso Daniil Kvyat Graham Watson
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