Formula One: Max factor for teenager Verstappen in Hungary

Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen (right) and his father Jos take part in the Italia a Zandvoort event at the Circuit Park in Zandvoort.
Dutch Formula One driver Max Verstappen (right) and his father Jos take part in the Italia a Zandvoort event at the Circuit Park in Zandvoort.PHOTO: AFP

BUDAPEST (AFP) - Two months short of his 18th birthday, Max Verstappen supplied undeniable evidence on Sunday of his teenage talent when he finished fourth in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"It's unbelievable," said the Dutch teenager, whose father Jos continues to act as his chauffeur in the many countries where he is too young to hire a car to the race circuit.

On the same Hungaroring circuit where his father claimed his own best Formula One result (12th) for Benetton in 1994, Verstappen proved he deserves his place among the elite.

After a poor start, that saw him slip from ninth to 13th, Verstappen fought back and made the most of other incidents to finish a strong fourth in his Toro Rosso car.

"I didn't expect that at all after a bit of a bad start, but I managed to stay out of trouble and during my second stint everything was going well," he explained. "I felt comfortable in the car and the guys behind me were not catching me up.

"And then when the race re-started (after the safety car) there was a lot going on, with cars crashing in front of me.

"I also damaged my front-wing a bit and then I was given a drive-through penalty. So, with a few laps to go, I was asking my engineer what position we were in - and when he said P4 I just couldn't believe it."