“Max Verstappen made Formula 1 a Dutch national sport”

Frits van Amersfoort, who was Max Verstappen’s boss in F3, credited the world champion with making Formula 1 a ‘national sport’ in the Netherlands.

Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton fought an all-time classic battle over the Drivers’ Championship in 2021, with Verstappen leading thanks to a last-lap overtake on Hamilton in Abu Dhabi to snatch the title.

Verstappen became the first Dutch driver in Formula 1 history to be crowned world champion, but in the years leading up to that success he built up a loyal army of Dutch fans who brought the color orange to the big prizes from around the world to support their pilot.

Van Amersfoort, team manager of his eponymous team with which Verstappen competed in Formula 3, says his compatriot has transformed Formula 1 into a sport followed across the country.

“Verstappen has made Formula 1 a kind of national sport. It’s really amazing,” he said. RacingNews365.com.

“People who never watched F1, now they all watch F1 and it’s only because of Max.”

There have been several major flashpoints in the on-track rivalry between Verstappen and Hamilton in 2021, including their collisions at the British and Italian GPs.

Apart from these, Verstappen took on the role of on-track aggressor more often when battling with Hamilton, who seemed to think more tactically about when to get his elbows out and when to concede the position. .

Verstappen has at times been criticized for taking the aggression too far, clashing with race marshals on several occasions, but Van Amersfoort doesn’t think Verstappen’s style should be frowned upon.

Instead, he thinks it should be enjoyed.

“Lewis was a seven-time world champion. I’ve never worked with Lewis but I can imagine at the start of his career he was also a bit wilder than today,” Van Amersfoort said.

“Lewis is Lewis, and became world champion seven times and not eight times because [Verstappen] shoots through motorsport like a rocket. I think we should all benefit immensely from it.

Verstappen will be back in 2022 to begin his title defense, opting to race with the number ‘1’ on his Red Bull RB18, meaning his traditional ’33’ is on the shelf for at least a season.

Hamilton, meanwhile, is also set to continue with Mercedes, with his team hinting via social media that he will not leave after the controversial conclusion of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP, as some feared.

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