At Baku, he was the race-leader, despite having not been the pole-sitter at the famous street course. When a win was about as certain as quenching thirst after consuming large sums of water, he encountered a terrible crash, enduring an undesirable DNF.
At Silverstone, where he was the pole-sitter and had already picked up the lead from Lewis Hamilton, he ended up hitting the barriers at an excruciating pace, for little fault of his own. Hamilton, then trailing the famous Red Bull car, would contact the machine at Copse.
The end result?
A massive crash, one that would have caused serious injuries to Christian Horner’s blue-eyed boy and among the most talented and determined drivers on the grid.
Thankfully, though, it never happened and the force behind giving Red Bull wings this season would away unscathed, although shaken up by the high-octane incident.
Was that all?
No. On the contrary, at Hungary, the next round after Silverstone, where the famous Red Bull driver began from third on the grid, having no direct chance whatsoever to attack the pole-sitter, Lewis Hamilton, there came another tragedy.
Some might think it’s an over-enthusiastic term to describe the nature of events surrounding the Red Bull, though, I personally think, it’s a fair and just phrase.
A few Nanoseconds after he passed Bottas to capture second and was well on his way to up the ante of attack on Lewis, his arch-rival, along came Lando Norris contacting the rear of the Red Bull.
And what was the end result?
Another painful DNF for the man who, prior to entering Hungaroring, was leading the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship.
The Orange Army, that had travelled specifically to cheer on the Red Bull’s bullish force, were stunned as were millions of fans of a commanding racing marquee that’s truly risen in 2021 to challenge the authority of Mercedes.
Life’s been tough for Max Verstappen of The Netherlands. Rather, due to a series of unfortunate events, it’s given Verstappen such ignominy that can turn even the most positive mind out there into being someone utterly embittered.
The fact is it’s one thing to lead a world championship with great effort. But something quite other to defy someone like Lewis Hamilton, the greatest driver on the current grid, and one you’d count alongside Fernando Alonso, on pure race craft.
And where the 2021 season stands, then Max Verstappen has risen like a tremendous storm, an utterly undeniable one, to stand as a rock in front of the finest challenger to the F1 throne and the championship crown: Sir Lewis Hamilton.
Never in the history of the turbo-hybrid era of Formula 1 has there been another force on four wheels that has denied Mercedes a race win on four back to back occasions.
Thanks to a series of fantastic drives, evidenced at the French Grand Prix followed by back-to-back wins at Austria, Red Bull, whose Sergio Perez won the Baku race (prior to Les Castellet) were able to bag four consecutive races.
Going even one better than a hat trick of wins!
But today, the very driver, who arrived a fortnight ago at Silverstone, Lewis’ own backyard and his famous hunting ground, with a comfortable lead over the seven-time world champion finds himself in a desperate situation.
If there’s ever a word that describes Verstappen or what the Hasselt-born driver would be feeling right now- then it’s despair.
How heartbreaking might it be to race-retire on three different occasions without having to do anything to cause self-harm?
And yet, one can’t help but feel that Max Verstappen will continue to strive hard and fight for a title that still isn’t out of reach for a driver much younger than the usual frontman winning it all in Formula 1.
Given the way Max has allied concentration and resilience this year, you are compelled to think that the second half of what’s thus far been a great season, will only get better and bigger for an unstoppable force of Formula 1.
That’s Max Verstappen- who has bagged 5 of his 15 Formula 1 career wins this season.
If that’s not commendable enough or doesn’t give ample evidence of the rich vein of form that the 23-year-old has been in, then what will suffice?
Fact is, that while Hamilton heads into the F1 month-long break as the more relieved man, having retaken the lead of the championship, the next contest slated for August 29, Spa Francorchamps, Max, you ought to feel, will come back stronger.
He will take the necessary pause. Perhaps go fishing, hit the bike on the road, take a breather, spend time with his accomplished and doting father and return stronger.
And in his intrepid ability to lift himself up rests the key to the battle we are all evidencing this season- a titanic duel between two great men driven to the limit to outrace one another.
With every Hamilton triumph, Max’s determination to grow stronger and vie for the top spot is only going to get stronger and bigger than before!
Let’s hope that’s precisely what happens. And may we get to see a very exciting second half of the 2021 season.
Keep fighting Max! May the force be with you.