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• Early days: nurtured by racing driver father Jos, Max had a long apprenticeship in karting, from a first title in Belgium in 2006 to the climax in 2013 as World KZ Champion in the top KZ1 category.
• Rapid single-seater gestation: only 12 months elapsed between his first single-seater experience, a Formula Renault evaluation at Pembrey in South Wales, and his F1 test-driving role with Scuderia Toro Rosso (Red Bull’s junior team) in 2014.
• The fairytale begins: after débuting in Australia, his full F1 season with Toro Rosso in 2015 brought ten points-scoring finishes — and much acclaim.
• Transfer to Red Bull: Max was elevated to the ‘senior’ team for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix — and almost miraculously became F1’s youngest ever winner first time out.
• F1 consolidation: ever-growing maturity in each of the next three seasons brought seven more F1 victories, culminating in Honda-powered 2019 delivering third place in the championship standings.
• The championship beckons: following pandemic-afflicted 2020, Max toppled Lewis Hamilton from his throne after a controversial season finale.
• Expert assessments: insights from three-time World Champion Sir Jackie Stewart and leading journalists Peter Windsor and Will Buxton.
Page extent: 320
Illustration: 110 photos
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