Mar.24 (GMM/ Max Verstappen says he jumped at the chance to become F1’s youngest-ever race driver for fear his career would otherwise stall.

The 17-year-old, whose meteoric rise from karts to formula one within a year has been highly controversial, also received an offer from Mercedes in 2014.

The German marque offered to make Verstappen its reserve driver for 2015 whilst gaining experience in GP2.

Ultimately, Verstappen jumped at the chance to leap immediately into F1 with Red Bull’s junior team Toro Rosso.

“I thought about what happened with Raffaele Marciello,” the Dutchman admitted to Germany’s Auto Bild.

He is referring to the 20-year-old Swiss-born Italian, who won the FIA European F3 title in 2013 but then faltered last year in GP2, finishing just eighth.

“He (Marciello) was the king of formula 3,” said Verstappen, “but suddenly his career stalled in GP2.”

Marciello, now the leading member of Ferrari’s driver academy, has switched GP2 teams for 2015 and is also the reserve driver for Sauber.

He will make his first grand prix appearance for the Ferrari-powered Swiss team this weekend in Malaysia, in Friday practice.