Damon Hill admits that he still recalls being surprised by Max Verstappen's maturity when he first interviewed the Dutchman ahead of his F1 debut as a teenager.
Verstappen was handed his first opportunity in the sport at the age of 17, having been signed to race for the then-called Toro Rosso outfit back in 2015. He went on to be promoted to the main Red Bull team in 2016, and won on his debut for the squad at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Now, a few years on, Verstappen has clinched his first Formula 1 World Championship and is still only 24.
Reflecting on his first experience of interviewing Verstappen with fellow Sky Sports presenter Natalie Pinkham, Hill says he taken aback by how mature the then-teenage driver was.
"It's getting back to what you were saying about his maturity," Hill said during a discussion on the F1 Nation podcast.
"Do you remember, Natalie, we interviewed him [when] he first was signed up to drive? And he's 17.
"We interviewed him, and I just couldn't believe I was talking to this 17-year-old who absolutely had an answer for everything, and [he was] so just completely confident that his view was correct.
"He had confidence in his own views, and he had answers. Unbelievable."
Dutch GP showed Verstappen's maturity
Pinkham believes that, as well as displaying his maturity in interviews, Verstappen showed how he is able to cope with pressure when racing in front of his home crowd at the Dutch Grand Prix, an event that he went on to win.
"He's just got this steely nerve that I find so impressive, and that he takes so much in his stride, given that he's still only 24," Pinkham added.
"He acts much older than his years. We saw it at Zandvoort, didn't we? The pressure that he was under, and he just took it all in stride."
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