2017 F1 driver of the year: #2 – Max Verstappen
The Red Bull man was stellar throughout 2017 and, as ever, left us wondering just what he could do with a title-contending car.
Why we watched him in 2017
Why wouldn’t we!? Max has been the most exciting driver on the F1 grid since he first jumped in the Toro Rosso in 2015. His 17 races for Red Bull in 2016 featured one win and six other podium appearances. 2017 was all set up for Max to show us just what he could do given a full racing year in a front running car, and boy did he.
While his luck was lacking in the early season, his skill certainly was not. Starting 16th on the grid for a wet Chinese race he was in eighth place before he even hit the back straight on lap one. He would finish that race in third, a remarkable drive. Every weekend you never knew what Max would do. He dominated qualifying in the Red Bull garage, out-qualifying Daniel Ricciardo 13-7. Though the average gap was a tiny 0.128 seconds, Max had a six-race run before Daniel finally topped him in Japan.
Come race day Verstappen was electric. He was one of the few people to actually pass Lewis Hamilton on track, ducking up the inside into turn one in Malaysia on his way to victory there. When on track, Max was must-watch TV.