Jos Verstappen told Max Verstappen “no” when the Dutchman, as a four-year-old, phoned his racer father to ask if he could start go-karting.
Thankfully for Formula 1 fans, six months later Jos changed his mind.
As his father’s Formula 1 career ground to a halt in 2003, the double podium winner bidding farewell to the sport after a point-less final season with Minardi, his son’s racing career was just beginning.
Max, like many of his rivals on today’s grid, began karting at a young age before testing a single-seater car in 2013.
His astronomic rise saw him drive a Formula 1 two years later before officially becoming a grand prix driver a year later, placed at Toro Rosso by Red Bull.
The rest, as they say, is history but, for a brief moment in time, it almost didn’t happen with Jos initially balking at the idea of his son karting at just four years of age.
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“It was actually all my decision,” Max said in an interview with The Gentleman’s Journal.
“After going to the go-kart track and seeing a younger kid driving around, I called my dad, who was in Canada for F1 at the time, and I said I wanted to drive.
“Initially, he said no. He wanted me to wait two more years, but I did start half a year later, when I was four and a half, in go-karts.
“I didn’t think about my age to be honest. I always drove in categories where I was the youngest.
“I was always racing against guys who were two to three years older, or even more.
“Especially my final year in go-karting. I was 16 and I was racing against people in their late 20s and even 35-year-old guys.
“They were paid by the factories to stay in go-karting.
“So, I didn’t feel out of my comfort zone when I started in F1. I was like, well, I’m used to this.
“Of course, I hadn’t done Formula 1 level racing before, but karting is kind of like it but in go-karts.
“I just never really thought about it – I was just very happy to be there and to try and get the best results.”
20 years after first racing a kart, Verstappen is fighting for his first F1 World title, the Red Bull driver leading Lewis Hamilton by 12 points in the standings with five races to go.