2021 World Champion Max Verstappen recalled the family holidays as a youngster with ‘uncle Michael’, a.k.a Michael Schumacher.
Schumacher and Max’s father Jos Verstappen became close friends thanks to their time together at Benetton, leading to both families enjoying holidays together, while Max has been pictured before in his very early years in the F1 paddock with Schumacher.
Verstappen, revisiting the memories of these vacations, said he was no older than “three or four”, so did not know that he was enjoying the trips with the multiple-time World Champion Schumacher.
Instead, to him it was simply “Uncle Michael”.
— Mick Schumacher Türkiye 🇹🇷 (@MickSumiTr) January 1, 2022
“I was three or four years old at the time. I just knew that was Uncle Michael. Who was very nice. Who was an extremely big family man,” Verstappen told F1-Insider.com.
“But I never saw him as a record World Champion, I didn’t know that.
“You can see that in the old photos and videos we have at home, Mick [Schumacher] was always there or Gina [Michael’s daughter]. It was great. I still have positive memories of those weekends today.
“We always drove two-seater karts, Michael with Mick or Gina, my father with me.
And while Schumacher and Verstappen Sr did at times hand over the controls, “if it became too dangerous, the fathers took over very quickly,” Max, laughing, assured.
Of course Verstappen and Mick Schumacher are now both Formula 1 drivers in their own right, Verstappen reaching the summit by claiming the 2021 World Championship, while in that season Schumacher contested his rookie campaign with Haas, where he remains for 2022.
However, despite being in touch for all those years and learning to drive karts together, Verstappen believes that Schumacher’s junior route into Formula 1 is not so similar to his, despite both having fathers with F1 experience to guide them.
Since Michael ended his career as a seven-time World Champion, Verstappen said that this led to Mick experiencing far more pressure along the F1 ladder.
“It was different for Mick than it was for me,” said Verstappen.
“His father is the record World Champion, with seven World Championships. That is a difficult starting position at first.
“Even in his karting days, there was always press around him. In Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2, the hype became even greater. But he has a good environment, good people who care about him.”