Max Verstappen reveals unorthodox driving test story after F1 racing debut

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen pictured at a Toro Rosso launch. Jerez January 2015.

Max Verstappen aged 17, pictured at the launch of the Toro Rosso car. Jerez January 2015.

Taking his driving test days after his points-scoring result at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has revealed his examiner was “not very happy” with his antics but still passed him.

Although Verstappen made his Formula 1 debut at the young age of 17 years, 166 days – the youngest driver to ever line up on the grid – it wasn’t until September that year that he could legally drive a car on public roads.

And it sounds like it almost didn’t happen.

How Max Verstappen avoided embarrassment

Verstappen, having finished ninth at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix with Toro Rosso, went from putting his STR10 through its paces at high speeds to taking his driving test days later having turned 18.

Swapping his Renault-powered high-performance F1 car for an Opel, the now-triple World Champion not only didn’t follow the instructions from the examiner, he also had a close encounter with pedestrians.

“The examiner told me to go right and I went left,” Verstappen told The Times. “Then I didn’t give way [to pedestrians at a crossing]. He was not very happy.

“I argued with him because I thought they were not actually at the crossing. So I was, like, ‘But they’re not there yet, so why should I stop?'”

In Verstappen’s defence one could argue that pedestrians crossing the track is not the norm in his world.

Surprisingly, though, he still passed the test.

“I did, yeah, luckily. It would be quite embarrassing if I hadn’t. I think he was nice to me,” said the 26-year-old. recommends

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The same cannot be said of George Russell, who at 17 failed his first attempt. In keeping with Russell’s tendencies, at least according to Carlos Sainz, he complained the examiner was in the wrong.

His father Steven revealed to The Times: “He failed his first driving test at 17 because he thought that being a great driver on the track was good enough.

“He came home fuming that the examiner was wrong. We had to go back to the test centre in King’s Lynn so George could confront him. That didn’t go down well.

“The F1 guys are OK on the racetrack but they are never as good as their dads on normal roads.

“George is always telling me to slow down as we approach a junction, though his mum thinks it’s fantastic when he takes her out and drives quickly.”

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