He has amassed a joint-record seven world championships and, this weekend at the F1 French Grand Prix, joins an exclusive club of drivers to race in 300 grands prix.

But, in an FIA documentary called ‘When We Were Young’, he recalled earlier memories from his go-kart days: “We started racing for fun. We didn’t have a lot of money so we were really lucky to have people helping us by giving us free tyres and fuel.

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“It was a struggle - the whole journey - just to keep racing each weekend.

“We were racing against a really wealthy family with a beautiful motorhome. They had the best go-karts.

“But we beat them. With so little. It was a really proud moment for me and my family.”

Max Verstappen, in the same documentary, spoke about growing up with a father, Jos Verstappen, who was an F1 driver: “I just saw my dad as my dad. I knew he was in F1 but what does F1 mean when you are three years old?

“I knew racing cars was what I liked. Now, when I look back at pictures, of course it is very special.”

Carlos Sainz, whose father is still a professional driver, said about his childhood: “I wasn’t thinking about F1 and dedicating my life to motorsport. I didn’t know it existed.

“I just knew there was a go-kart track where I was having fun. I liked go-karting but didn’t know about F1.

“Go-karting was a great time and I miss it a lot.”

Fernando Alonso added: “When I was a child I was more interested in football.

“Motorsport was more the passion of my father. It is not so clear what your life will be, where you are that age.”