Former Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen has said he took pleasure in seeing his son, Max, lap Sir Lewis Hamilton on his way to victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The reigning world champion achieved the grand slam on Sunday as he led every lap from pole and set the fastest lap, while team-mate Sergio Perez came home second to complete Red Bull’s first one-two since 2016.
The Milton Keynes side brought an upgrade to Imola that is reported to have taken 5kg off their car, putting them theoretically level on weight with Ferrari.
They thoroughly outpaced the Scuderia during the race after what had looked like a close weekend between the two teams and this, coupled with the imperious Verstappen, made the difference in Italy.
“Max had an excellent weekend in Imola. 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,” Jos wrote in his column on Verstappen.com.
“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 that we’ve become stronger.”
On lap 41 of the race in Bologna, Verstappen lapped Hamilton while the 37-year-old was stuck behind Pierre Gasly and Alex Albon, eventually ending the race P13.
The pair went hammer and tong last year for the championship in a battle that became ever more intense between Red Bull and Mercedes, to the extent that Jos revealed last year that he had lost respect for the German outfit and their team principal Toto Wolff.
They now have quite the storied history, and the 50-year-old was satisfied to see his son lap his 2021 rival as Mercedes continue to struggle this year.
“Honestly, I did enjoy seeing Max lap Hamilton after everything that happened last year,” he added.
“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.”
Max was recently crowned the Laureus Sportsman of the Year for 2022 following his dramatic title success last season, and Jos is understandably proud of the 24-yer-old’s magnificent accomplishment.
“I never really thought about it, but I must admit I find it rather special,” he explained.
“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.”
Jos has completed two rounds of the Belgian Rally Championship in 2022, finishing the van Haspengouw event eighth, before retiring from the South Belgian Rally.
The Dutchman is enthused by the challenge of returning to motorsport in a competitive capacity after his final Le Mans appearance for Aston Martin in 2009.
“I’ll be driving with a new navigator, Dutchman Harm van Koppen. I am curious to see how it will go,” he affirmed.
“I recently had surgery on my eyes and now have lens implants and my brain has to adjust to these. Apparently, it takes a bit longer when you’re older as opposed to younger…”
Max’s victory in Imola puts him second in the Drivers’ Championship, 27 points behind Charles Leclerc.