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TKART magazine Editorial | When Max Verstappen was the star of karting
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06 November 2018

It was the year 2010 and Max Verstappen debuted in the “Junior” KF3 class. In the first year he won the WSK World Series, Euro Series and the Nations Cup. He came in second at the CIK-FIA World Cup (extensively recouping in the following years) but, above all, he amazed everyone for his crystal-clear driving skills and talent.

Stars are many, millions of millions, and there is no need for Stephen Hawking to know that, amongst all, every now and then a few of them which seem to shine even more, appear. Motorsports works in the same way: every year one sees many promising young racers battling each other in karting. Amongst these, sometimes, it happens that someone distinguishes himself from the others.


The 2010 karting season was one of those years, as it was then that Max Verstappen’s talent revealed himself to the world. To say it today seems easy, given that the Dutchman is unanimously recognized as the most extraordinary and promising driver of the current Formula 1, but 8 years ago he was a simple kid, with a slightly cumbersome last name who presented himself at the KF3 test stand, the first of the international categories for kart racers looking for a future in this field. That kid, within a few months of racing, put in his file the achievements in the WSK World Series (with 6 podiums, minus 1 removed from him by the sport judges after the race) the WSK Euro Series (closed with 77 points ahead of the second ranked racer), WSK Nations Cup (with almost 4 seconds advantage on the second position to the finish line both in the pre-final and finals). Not as good a performance in the CIK-FIA races where, however, “not as good” still means a second place in the World Cup, behind Albon, and fifth place at the European of Genk, which was won again by Albon, his only true rival of the season. In the following years Max did get back, conquering every possible title both in the single-speed and the gearbox categories. But, even limiting the analysis of 2010, who knows the world of karting and knows how to “read” the heart and minds of drivers, had bet his chips on that driver with a serious gaze and the official GRG uniform.
What was amazing, in fact, were not only the victories, because those on their own are not enough to make a great driver, especially if in front of him he still has a career to build. The most impressive fact was how Verstappen obtained those victories. Although it is true that at 12 years of age Max had already had the opportunity to drive a lot, even on the tracks which became, later, the main competition “races”, conversely the CRG material at the beginning of the season was certainly not the most performing of the group, so much that in all five stages of the WSK Euro Series, the only CRG chassis and the only Maxter engine present in the top ten positions was Max’s.

Deduction: what was lacking in the information, Max provided it. Countercheck: toward the end of the season, however, the CGR information was certainly among the most performing, able to place several racers amongst the best on time trials in the race. Result: Verstappen cruised to victory achieving a considerable amount of times leading the rest of the group. An impressive showing in results was added to this throughout the season and, above all, the fact of being able to win immediately at his debut not only in a competitive series like the WSK, but in general, in those that for him were the first races outside the Belgian borders.
Having spoken of the how, there were also various “questions” that tipped the consideration scale in favor of Max. First of all his total dedication to the cause. In 2010, Verstappen commented: “I started karting at 4 years old and only due to the regulations I had to wait until I turned 7 for my first race”. A race which, needless to say, ended with a victory. From this point, the following four years only had the defect of being a tad monotonous: races only in Belgium (Country where Max lived although he is Dutch) and basically only first positions at the finish line. School? Like the other kids, although “I missed a lot of days. But I study a lot and the results are good. So, nobody complains. I don’t feel different from the other guys: I travel a lot, but only to get to the track. When I went to Milville (for the second round of the WSK World Series 2010 – Editor’s note), everyone was telling me ‘Go to America!’ But I didn’t get to see anything of the US, only the kart races”. Presently, although Max travels the world much more, his dedication has not changed: first of all one must do his profession very well.

Patron of CRG, the team with which Max raced his most important years in karting. In 2010, he said of Verstappen: Max has an extraordinary mastery of the vehicle. Few racers are able to make the difference in the first two rounds of a race. He is one of them

Max between dad Jos Verstappen, on the left, and Giancarlo Tinini
Max and Jos Verstappen take off toward the start of a race
On the podium of the WSK Euro Series in Genk, next to Alex Albon and Peter Hoevenaars
Max Verstappen in action in 2010, with an KF3 category kart (© FotoFormulaK)
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