In claiming the first pole position of his career at the Hungarian Grand Prix he also became the first Dutch driver to claim the top spot in Formula One. It was, moreover, a further statement of his talent and another more than welcome challenge to the Mercedes F1 hegemony.
Verstappen did so for Red Bull with a flawless lap of the Hungaroring, although pushed to the limit by the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who is in second place. Lewis Hamilton, also for Mercedes, is third with Charles Leclerc next, heading Sebastian Vettel, in the Ferraris.
Pole has been a long time coming for a man who is still deceptively young. Verstappen is only 21 but is in his fifth season in F1. Having become the youngest driver to compete in the sport, and its youngest winner, he was entirely unconcerned that he was only its fourth youngest driver to claim pole. He has matured so much in those five years that, while he was elated with the place, there was also the calm consideration of a driver who knows the real business begins on Sunday.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “This was still missing. The car felt good all weekend. I’m very happy about today but there’s still a race to do and that’s the most important.”