The hurdles that threatened young Verstappen's irrepressible rise
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The hurdles that threatened young Verstappen's irrepressible rise

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Max Verstappen blazed a trail through karting and Formula 3, with ferocious support from his father Jos. But for all his obvious talent, which earned the future world champion a 2015 Formula 1 drive after just a single year in car racing, the ride to get him there wasn’t always an easy one

September 2013. Pembrey. The Welsh rain is not letting up as a Belgo-Dutch kid, just short of his 16th birthday, prepares to go out for his first-ever run in a racing car. Apart from his nervous dad, the only spectators are the soggy sheep in the nearby fields. Is it worth risking it?

“He didn’t want to let him out, but I said, ‘Just go out and drive’,” relates Tony Shaw, who along with wife Sarah Shaw ran the ‘Manor’ half of the Manor MP Motorsport Formula Renault 2.0 team with which karting superstar Max Verstappen was about to get his first taste of a single-seater. ‘He’ was Dutch racing legend Jos Verstappen, who since his own retirement from the cockpit had devoted his life to preparing his son for what he was convinced would be Formula 1 superstardom.

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