Verstappen broke overtake record in 2016

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Red Bull star Max Verstappen capped a record-breaking 2016 by setting a new benchmark for overtakes in a Formula One season, it has emerged.

Verstappen became F1's youngest race winner in history when he took advantage of an opening-lap collision between Mercedes' Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton in Barcelona to win on his Red Bull debut after being drafted from Toro Rosso to replace Daniil Kvyat.

The Dutch teenager's daredevil style has earned him many admirers, as well as admonishers on the grid, with Ferrari duo Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen speaking out against his aggressive overtaking and defensive style.

However, his tactics appear to have paid off, with Pirelli revealing on Monday that he had completed 78 overtaking manoeuvres in 2016 - the highest tally since records began in 1983.

Many of those overtakes came at the rain-drenched Brazilian Grand Prix when Verstappen was dropped to 13th by a backfired Red Bull strategy, only to carve up the field to secure a podium finish.

Former F1 stalwart Johnny Herbert told Omnisport in November that such performances make Verstappen a champion in the making.

"He's one of those rare drivers that you don't see very often coming out. And it's an Ayrton Senna type of thing, it's a Michael Schumacher type element that we see well. Lewis Hamilton, same way. Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel of the modern drivers we've got," he said.

"And then you've the same way in the 60s with the Jackie Stewarts, Graham Hills, Jimmy Clark, they were always the raw talents that were out there and we're still finding those today. 

"And Max just has that lovely ability, and it's refreshing because in some respects we've sort of lost a little bit of the raciness that's out there, and he's brought it back."