Max Verstappen has had a first taste of the new Zandvoort circuit, becoming the first person to drive a Formula 1 car around the new track.
The Dutch circuit has undergone massive renovations in order for it to be ready to play host to the Dutch Grand Prix, the first time a race has been held in the country for 35 years.
With work complete, the circuit owners opened the circuit today, with Verstappen in attendance alongside Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk.
While the layout of the Zandvoort circuit largely remains the same as it was before, a number of modifications have been made, including Turns 3 (Hugenholtz) and the final corner (Arie Luyendyk), both of which now feature steep and challenging banking of up to 18 degrees.
After driving around the circuit in the Red Bull RB8, Verstappen commented: “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.
“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 the same.
“It’s also pretty banked and with the new cars and DRS open through there it will be a good challenge and a lot of fun.”
Verstappen added that the track was challenging and that it is hard to reach the limit of the car, which makes it good fun.
“The whole track is very demanding,” added the 22-year-old.
“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.”
In addition to driving the RB8, Verstappen also drove an Aston Martin DBS Superleggera around the circuit, giving his Dad, Jos, who was celebrating his 48th birthday, a hot lap around the new configuration.
“He still doesn’t like it sitting next to me,” Max laughed.
“So I didn’t take it to the limit. We were just talking and having some fun.”
The Dutch Grand Prix takes place on May 3.