RACE DEBRIEF

    Max Verstappen has ramped up the fever ahead of the return of the Dutch Grand Prix in 2020, becoming the first F1 driver to sample the renovated Zandvoort Circuit in a 2012-spec Red Bull RB8 as he helped to re-open the iconic track.

    Of particular interest on Verstappen’s laps of Zandvoort were the track’s newly-banked corners at Turn 3 – Hugenholtz – and the final Turn 14 corner of Arie Luyendyk, named for the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, who joined Verstappen for the re-opening. The recently-completed banking has been added to accommodate the speeds of current F1 machinery, and reach a steepness of up to 18 degrees at points.

    WATCH: 'It's a beautiful track' – The drivers on racing at Zandvoort

    “It was a great opportunity to be the first person to drive an F1 car at the new Zandvoort Circuit and the track is really cool – especially Turn 3 where the banking is amazing,” said Verstappen. “I didn’t expect the banking to be that big but it’s really cool to drive an F1 car on. The last corner is… also pretty banked and with the new cars and DRS open through there it will be a good challenge and a lot of fun.”

    Zandvoort was first included on the F1 calendar in 1952, and was raced at off and on until 1985. And Verstappen was pleased that the circuit had maintained its old-school credentials ahead of the Dutch Grand Prix’s return

    “The whole track is very demanding,” he said. “There are a lot of fast corners and still not that much run-off. That makes it really challenging to go on the limit, but that’s good, that’s what we like. Does it give me a head start coming here today? Maybe a little. It’s always good to drive a track for the first time and see how it feels and what it’s like. I definitely enjoyed it.”

    READ MORE: 5 great moments in Dutch Grand Prix history

    Verstappen also took the opportunity during his day at Zandvoort to scare his father, former F1 racer Jos, giving him a passenger lap of the 4.2km circuit in an Aston Martin road car. “He still doesn’t like it, sitting next to me,” said Max...

    Enjoy Verstappen's laps of Zandvoort in the video up top – and click here to find out more about the 2020 Dutch Grand Prix, set to take place on May 1-3.

    DUTCH GRAND PRIX: Zandvoort Circuit Guide