Max Verstappen
Red Bull's Max Verstappen ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP

Season 5 of the hit Netflix series "F1: Drive to Survive" premiered on Friday, and reigning world champion Max Verstappen surprised the F1 community by not only actively participating this season, he also shared some precious personal snaps with F1 legend Michael Schumacher taken from his childhood.

Fans of the Netflix reality docu-series have been left wanting for more visibility from the back-to-back world champion in previous seasons of the show. Verstappen had stayed away from the drama and sometimes exaggerated storylines of the program, choosing instead to focus on the real-life drama on the track.

However, Netlfix somehow managed to convince him to share about half an hour's worth of material for season 5. Although Verstappen is mentioned constantly throughout the series for obvious reasons, episode 4 shines a spotlight on his relationship with childhood friend Mick Schumacher.

The former Haas driver's father, Michael Schumacher, developed a strong friendship with Jos Verstappen, Max's father. The pair were teammates with the Benetton team back in the 90s, and they stayed close both on and off the track even as their careers took different directions.

The episode mainly talks about Mick's impossible task of emulating his father in Formula 1, but Verstappen also shared some insights on how both he and Mick grew up. He shared some precious photos of himself as a toddler interacting with Schumacher senior, as well as Mick's older sister Gina Marie. The photos sent fans gushing with nostalgia.

Michael is known as a fierce competitor, and so is Max. The images of a young Max sitting on the lap of a relaxed Michael Schumacher is as rare and intimate as one can get, proving once more that Netflix has hit the jackpot with this series despite the criticism over the dramatised storylines.

Max revealed that the Verstappen and Schumacher families went on vacations together, admitting that he counts those moments as core memories that would stay with him forever.

Speaking about Mick, he said: "For both of us to be in F1 is amazing and also for Michael, he's a very proud dad for sure."

Unfortunately, no one knows how much Michael truly knows about his son's racing career. He met an accident while skiing in December 2013, and has not been seen in public since being moved to home care six months later.

In a documentary about his father's career, Mick admitted that he would give anything to be able to discuss his racing career with his dad, indicating that communication with the stricken racer is limited.

Mick has been struggling to make the desired impact in F1, especially after driving with back markers Haas for the past two seasons. The team dropped him at the end of 2022 in favour of veteran Nico Hulkenberg, but the younger Schumacher quickly snatched up a reserve role with Mercedes. It remains to be seen if he will eventually realise his full potential in the sport where his father is considered as one of the greatest ever.