The scarcely-believable tale of Horner being outpaced on the race-track by Verstappen’s mum was recounted recently by the Red Bull boss.

Today, Horner and Verstappen are dominating Formula 1 and won this season’s constructors’ and drivers’ championships.

But 34 years ago, Horner was denied a victory.

“I raced in the 1989 Junior Karting Championship, and I raced against Max Verstappen’s mum,” Horner told the Eff Won podcast. 

“She was top 10 in the world at that point, she was fantastic.”

Did she beat you?

“Yes she did,” Horner admitted.

Sophie Kumpen was a respected racing driver who had a career to be proud of, before her son was born in 1997.

Young Max had the talented Sophie for a mum, and Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen for a dad.

It is a remarkable fact that Horner and Max’s mum were jostling for position on a race-track eight years before his birth, unaware that one day Max would become the phenom that we see today.

“We met when we were 13,” Horner said. 

“I don’t think either of us could’ve predicted that.”

Horner also rubbed shoulders with other well-known names in his karting days.

“Drivers like Jan Magnussen, Kevin Magnussen’s father,” he said. 

“Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarni Trulli, really talented guys. Dario Franchetti.

“My life was obsessed by karting. If I wasn’t in a kart, I was drawing it or cleaning it. 

“I was pretty small. I read this thing saying that racing drivers were no higher than 5’8’’.

“I had a chart on the wall, and I was willing myself to be short! My brother was quite tall and I didn’t want to grow like him! I became obsessed by the age of 13.

“My dad was a mechanic. Until I was in the lead of a race. He hadn’t done the engine clamps up properly. The engine fell off when I was in the lead! After that, I’d done well enough that a couple of teams said ‘why doesn’t he come and race for us’.”

Horner explained his father’s view of his love for racing: “Between tolerant and supportive. 

“He was like ‘where is this going?’ 

“But, as parents, they always encouraged us to follow our dreams. In racing, I had something. Suddenly I had a connection with him.”