2017 is only Max Verstappen's third year in Formula One but his presence is such that it feels like he's been here much longer. F1's youngest winner, youngest points scorer and youngest front row starter is undoubtedly also F1's most exciting young talent.
That status will come as no surprise to those who have tracked the youngster's rise from international karting glory to the top of the Formula One podium, though so rapid was Verstappen's trajectory that it took a keen eye to follow his ballistic progress through the ranks.
The son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen and Belgian kart champion Sophie Kumpen, he (unsurprisingly) first took the wheel of a go-kart at the tender age of four-and-a-half. By his early teens Max was a regular title winner on the international karting circuit. In 2013, he won the European KF and KZ championships and two years later he completed his haul of major karting trophies by winning the 2013 World KZ championship, then the sport's highest category.
It was time for Max to make the move to single-seaters and once again he took to the environment as if born to it.
After dipping a toe in the water with a flurry of wins, poles and fastest laps in the Florida Winter Series in early 2014, Max signed for Van Amersfoort Racing to contest the 2014 FIA European Formula 3 Championship. Against top class and considerably more experienced opposition, Verstappen finished his rookie season third in the championship, winning ten races (more than any other driver that season, including eventual champion Esteban Ocon).
Clearly a hot property, Max was courted by many F1 teams. He chose, however, to join the Red Bull family and in August of 2014, when he was just 16 years old, it was announced that he would race for Toro Rosso in F1 in 2015.
He made his first appearance in an F1 car four days after his 17th birthday, at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. The free practice outing for Toro Rosso made Max the youngest driver ever to take part in a grand prix weekend.
Just under six months later he became F1's youngest-ever racer when he made his debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, aged 17 years and 166 days. A short two weeks after that he grabbed another record, becoming F1's youngest points-scorer with seventh place at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
In his rookie season Verstappen finished in the points on 10 occasions, including scoring two fourth-place finishes – in Hungary and the USA – to amass a haul of 49 championship points. He also demonstrated a willingness and capability to go wheel-to-wheel with the best in the business and to emerge ahead.
He began last season at Toro Rosso once more and across the first four races of the campaign he scored 13 points, adding another fourth place to his record in China.
It was clear he was ready to step up and prior to the Spanish Grand Prix he was drafted into our squad to race alongside Daniel Ricciardo.
Max's impact was immediate and at the first time of asking he qualified a super third for the team. The weekend became even more remarkable when on Sunday he drove a spectacular race to claim his first grand prix victory and become Formula One's youngest ever winner.
It was a major highpoint, but across the season's remaining 17 races Max continued to provide electrifying racing entertainment, nowhere more so than in Brazil, where in treacherous wet conditions he stunned the racing world with an inspired and audacious drive to take his seventh podium finish of the season. In all, he scored 204 points on his way to fifth place in the Drivers' Championship standings.
Max has continued his strong form into 2017. The highlight of the first half of the season was a stunning drive from 16th on a grid to third at the flag on a damp Shanghai International Circuit. Beyond that Max has been ultra-consistent, finishing no lower than fifth. He has, however, suffered most of the bad luck this season, recording three DNFs for mechanical failures and two more as the innocent victim of first lap incidents.
It is, nonetheless, a remarkable ascension for a driver only turning 20 at this year's Malaysian Grand Prix.