Formula One: Teen Verstappen’s debut goes up in smoke
Teenager Max Verstappen became the youngest Formula One participant on Friday, but his record outing went up in smoke as he was forced to halt his misfiring Toro Rosso.
As Nico Rosberg topped first free practice ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen managed 21 laps of the Suzuka circuit before having to pull over as smoke gushed from his car.
“I have a problem in the engine, it’s not pulling any more,” the Dutchman, who will replace Jean-Eric Vergne next season, radioed to his team as he hit trouble.
“I have smoke out of the engine. What should I do?”
It was a rude introduction to Formula One for the Dutch 17-year-old, who is the son of ex-F1 driver Jos.
The teenager's entry in the sport has sparked much debate.
Meanwhile Rosberg lapped 0.151 seconds ahead of Britain’s Hamilton, who leads the German by just three points in the championship standings with five races left, as Mercedes once again dominated.
Max Verstappen during the first practice session in Suzuka on Friday