Red Bull’s Verstappen can charge towards a second consecutive world championship, after winning at Abu Dhabi 2021, when the 2022 season resumes with the Belgian Grand Prix this weekend.

His journey from prodigious teenager to dominant world champion has been remembered by Marko, the Red Bull consultant.

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"The impatience to want to drive at the limit every lap has disappeared,” Marko told Formule1.NL. “He knows: in qualifying and racing you have to be fast. 

“The mistakes he made in the beginning, like the crashes in Monte Carlo at the same place and that other highlight in Austin where he made a self-chosen pit stop, are gone.

"In Monte Carlo he had his first crash, he was a bit provoked by Romain Grosjean. If we stay with Monte Carlo: he crashed there twice later. Same corner, same place, while we twice had a car with which we could win. 

“That's when I first saw Max in tears. I was also disappointed. If you have such a good car, you should not park it in the guardrail. Fortunately, he learned from it and finally succeeded last year."

"We deliberately chose to throw Max into the deep end," Marko added about the 17 year old Verstappen’s first outing as a Toro Rosso driver during a practice session.

"[The circuit] Suzuka was designed by a Dutchman, so a circuit for guys, right. That was quite a challenge for Max. But I believed that with him we had found someone who would become the new norm. 

“And in Suzuka we got the confirmation of what I already knew: Max didn't do anything wrong in that training, was competitive from the first moment he got into a Formula 1 car.

"At the age of sixteen he signed his first Formula 1 contract. It was clear that he had to grow as a personality. 

“He was still a child and you still had the predominance of [his father] Jos Verstappen at the time. 

“But that actually developed in parallel: the more independent Max became, the more Jos withdrew. In the beginning, this was not always an easy process. Max had two technical briefings: first with the team and then with Jos. Something like this cannot continue to go well.

"He developed his own opinion relatively quickly and expressed himself very clearly in interviews. It's a Verstappen, isn't it. If he doesn't like something, he says so.”