What You Didn’t Know About Formula 1’s Superstar Driver, Max Verstappen

Did you know Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen made history this weekend when he was the first racer to overtake the No. 1 spot when defending world champion Lewis Hamilton was leading the race? He passed Hamilton at the start of lap 17, and within seconds, Hamilton became the first driver in the history of the world championships to fall behind in points after a finish.

With a victory in Brazil next weekend, Hamilton will claim his fifth world championship and end three seasons without one, but for all the talk about the race, Verstappen’s biggest feat of this season has been keeping his emotions under control as he has garnered an unprecedented level of scrutiny from national media outlets—and critical fans—around the world. Verstappen is 19 years old, and while it seems like only yesterday that he was signing for Red Bull when the championships were just beginning, he has already captured headlines this year for a variety of reasons.

Earlier this year, fans accused him of being “an asshole” who deliberately ran into Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel in Austria. While German fans backed Verstappen up, he was made an object of scorn in Formula 1 countries like Italy and Spain.

“I think that Verstappen is a little bit arrogant,” Corina Lobato, a 20-year-old fan of Vettel’s, told BBC Sport. “He’s very sure in his way. He wants to be that guy, and not just an ordinary person. Sometimes he pushes it, and he just acts like an asshole.”

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