Forced into a different line, Formula 1 drivers’ champion Max Verstappen couldn’t handle the turn. Out of control, he drove straight into a digital wall.
Just like that, Verstappen choked. He went from leading the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual to turning off his television. He was retired.
If Verstappen was younger and his father, Jos, overlooked his effort, what would he have said?
Would he again act like a “lunatic?”
Jos Verstappen on his parental pushes: ‘He saw me as a lunatic’
He would when it came to the younger Verstappen’s qualifying times. There’s one instance the two probably still bring up from time to time during family dinners. It involved a 2014 event.
Jos claimed he “… hung over the pit wall in Formula 3 to encourage him to go faster,” he told CarNext, reported by gpfans.com.
The two have a close bond, but sometimes a father’s enthusiasm can be a bit over the top. Max’s dad admitted it.
“He saw me as a lunatic,” he said.
Max needed the encouragement. His elite racing skills developed as a teenager, but he struggled to turn in consistent qualifying spins.
“At the beginning of his career in Formula 3, he had to search for that perfect lap,” Jos said.
It just took a little parental push, even if dad did look a little crazy. But, from time to time, what father doesn’t?
Verstappen proves he can qualify consistently at the Formula 1 level
As a former F1 racer who earned two podium finishes in 1994, Jos Verstappen remains a close friend of seven-time champion Michael Schumacher. To Max, he is “Uncle Michael.”
After years of struggling on qualifying runs, things finally clicked during his championship campaign. Verstappen earned 10 poles and his average starting position was 3.82. Entering the season, he had only three career poles.
Guess who takes part of the credit?
Yup, good ol’ dad.
All his over-the-wall lunacy had a purpose.
“I have to say, it helped,” Jos Verstappen said.
He sounded like a proud father. He doesn’t have to hang over the wall anymore.
“It is in him,” Jos Verstappen said. “… He has improved enormously in Formula 1. Now he is the man to beat on the track.”
Maybe in the real world, but virtually, he had some problems last weekend.
Verstappen’s virtual race team forced to retire after his unforced error
Verstappen initially appeared frustrated following his P2 qualifying effort at the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. He missed out on the pole by .002 seconds. His frustrations were just getting started.
Driving the digital No. 123 Team Redline machine, Verstappen immediately claimed the lead before the first completed revolution. Along with his teammates, IndyCar driver Felix Rosenqvist and simulation pilots Atze Kerkhof and Max Benecke, Team Redline pulled out to a significant advantage over the next several hours.
Until Verstappen passed a lapped car, that’s when the trouble started. He ended up losing his line as the car skidded off the track, over the curb, and into a retaining wall. Team Redline retired.
Realteam Hydrogen Redline earned the virtual victory on Jan. 15.
Wonder how Verstappen’s father acted?