Jos ‘enjoyed’ seeing Max lap Hamilton at Imola

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen smiling at his dad Jos Verstappen. Yas Island, December 2021.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen smiles as he looks up at his dad Jos Verstappen. Yas Island, December 2021.

Jos Verstappen has admitted he enjoyed seeing his son Max lap Lewis Hamilton at Imola following the duo’s fierce title battle last year.

It was a dominant weekend for the Red Bull driver and one that saw him win the sprint race, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, take pole position for both and record the fastest lap.

This time last year, only he and Lewis Hamilton had won a race and what would prove to be one of the most thrilling title races in years was beginning to take shape.

Twelve months on though and the contrast between Red Bull and Mercedes could hardly be greater. Verstappen remains one of two drivers to have won a race at this point of the season but this time it is Charles Leclerc and not Hamilton alongside him.

That gap was best demonstrated at Imola where Verstappen lapped Hamilton and while the driver was apathetic towards the situation, his father Jos admitted he enjoyed seeing it.

“Honestly, I did enjoy seeing Max lap Hamilton after everything that happened last year,” Jos wrote in a column on the website.

“Hamilton really had a tough time, whereas his team-mate George Russell seemed to be more balanced. It’s not often you have the opportunity to lap a Mercedes.”

The 50-year-old reflected on Max’s performance at Imola and described it as a “perfect weekend”.

“Max had an excellent weekend at Imola,” he said. “I found him incredibly strong. He didn’t make a single mistake, was solid and completely in control.

“Red Bull clearly made a step in the right direction. Of course, we knew the car would get an upgrade in Italy, but with the weather conditions it was hard to make a comparison. But we can definitely conclude we have become stronger.

“Saturday, during the sprint, we saw the first glimpses of this. Max caught up with Charles [Leclerc]. It meant Ferrari had to push harder, forcing them to use the tyres more. In Italy, Max and Red Bull put Ferrari under pressure, and when under pressure it’s easy to make a mistake. If you are effortlessly leading, that chance is a lot smaller.

“It turned out to be a perfect weekend for Max.”


The next day, Verstappen was awarded the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsman of the Year and Jos said it was a “big honour”.

“I never really thought about it, but I must admit I find it rather special,” he said.

“It’s a big honour – he is the first Dutch person to achieve this award. We can safely assume Max belongs to the biggest athletes the Netherlands has ever had.

“Only on Monday I found out he had thanked me especially in his speech. I am very touched by this beautiful gesture.”


Red Bull bounce back with 1-2 finish at Imola

Reb Bull knew they needed a good weekend, and they got exactly that with their drivers taking maximum points from the race.