At the age of 25, Max Verstappen already has an exceptional resume. The Dutchman looks like one of the fastest Formula One drivers that we have ever seen and will certainly finish his career with more than two titles.
Being the son of a former Formula One driver means you are almost certain to follow in his footsteps and Max got into karting from a very young age. It brought success very quickly, with Max winning the Belgian karting championship at the age of nine. He made the step to international karting at age 13 and came second at the world championship to future Red Bull teammate Alex Albon.
Verstappen progressed up through the ranks and at just 17 years old, he became the youngest driver to participate in a Formula One weekend when he drove in the first practice session at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. This was in preparation for Verstappen to step into the Toro Rosso seat for 2015.
Verstappen excelled with Toro Rosso, finishing on more than double the points of his teammate Carlos Sainz and impressing with fourth place finishes in Hungary and the USA. After four races of the 2016 season he was promoted to the Red Bull seat after poor performances from Daniil Kvyat.
In his debut race, Verstappen benefitted from both Mercedes crashing on the first lap and cruised to a victory. He would finish the 2016 season with six more podium appearances. Over the next few seasons Verstappen showed improvement, winning two races in both 2017 and 2018.
By 2018, Red Bull were certain he was their driver of the future and Max was given a hefty contract, one of the reasons why Daniel Ricciardo left the team. Despite all of this promise, the Red Bull was never able to closely compete with the Mercedes and so Max did not get a shot at the title.
He claimed impressive wins in that time however. Verstappen won in Mexico in 2017 and again in 2018. His fierce battle with Charles Leclerc in Austria in 2019 was one of the Dutchman’s best drivers and an incredibly exciting race to watch. Verstappen was also able to master the conditions in Germany that same year, winning one of the most chaotic races in F1 history.
2020 was more of the same, with Verstappen not able to get close to the Mercedes, except for the last race of the season where the Red Bull was comfortably faster.
Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton Rivalry in the 2021 Season
2021 was the year Max had the car to challenge for the title. It turned into one of the best title fights in Formula One history, with Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battling for the lead at pretty much every race of the season. This battling causes a few incidents as well, with the pair colliding in Italy, Great Britain and Saudi Arabia. Neither driver could pull ahead and they were tied on points heading into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.
Hamilton was the faster driver on the day, but Verstappen was given a chance when a safety car meant he was on fresh softs with one lap to overtake Hamilton. Max was helped by race director Michael Masi only allowing the cars in between the two drivers to unlap themselves. Max took this opportunity, overtaking Hamilton and securing his first world title among controversial circumstances.
But 2022 was nowhere near as difficult for Max. He finished the season with 15 wins on the season which is the most by any driver in the history of Formula One. He became the second youngest double World champion in the history of the sport and drove an incredible season where no one came close to stopping him.
Records (at the time of writing):
Verstappen holds a lot of records now thanks to a brilliant couple of seasons.
- Youngest driver to win a race- 18 years 228 days
- Youngest driver to score a point- 17 years 180 days
- Most wins in a season- 15 (2022)
- Most points in a season- 454 (2022)
- Most podium finishes in a season- 18 (2021)