Verstappen impresses on first weekend as a Red Bull junior

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Max Verstappen has immediately shown why Red Bull worked so hard to get his signature for its junior programme after a trio of fine displays at the Nurburgring this weekend.

The 16-year-old currently races in the FIA F3 European Championship, with the next step towards F1 being either GP2, GP3 or Formula Renault 3.5. After an impressive start to the year, the Dutch youngster was signed by Red Bull to its junior programme earlier this week, and appears to be in line for a Formula 1 seat in a few years’ time.

At the Nurburgring this weekend, Verstappen produced three superb performances. After securing pole position for the first race on Saturday, he won ahead of Ferrari youngster Antonio Fuoco, but could not double up after an engine problem sidelined him in the second race.

After taking a ten place grid penalty, Verstappen started the third and final race from 12th place, yet he was up to fifth by the end of the first lap. He eventually came home in third, capping off a quite superb weekend of racing.

This youngster is without a doubt one of the stars of the future, with some even suggesting that he could be given an F1 debut next season and become the youngest ever driver the sport has seen.

However, his father, Jos – himself an ex-F1 driver – is being more realistic about his son’s chances.

“Max to Toro Rosso? We will wait and see,” Jos is quoted as saying by Planet F1. “We will discuss this together with Red Bull as they continue with Max.”

Regardless of when he makes his F1 debut, Max Verstappen is a name that is worth remembering for the future.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.