Max Verstappen clinched his maiden F1 world championship title dramatically at the end of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. The Dutchman has a strong racing heritage, with both his parents being former racing drivers.
Max Verstappen's father, Jos Verstappen, is best known for having starred alongside F1 legend Michael Schumacher. The duo raced for the English racing team Benetton F1, who gained popularity as catalysts for the German's illustrious career.
Jos Verstappen participated in 107 Grands Prix in a career that lasted nearly ten years. He achieved two podiums and scored a total of 17 championship points, which when compared to today's scoring system would be 117 points. He is the second most successful Dutch driver, behind his son, Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen's mother Sophie Kumpen is also no stranger to the world of speed, having been a karting driver herself. Taking to karting at an early age, Sophie Kumpen participated in the Formula A world championship at the age of 16 and finished ninth.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has personally raced against Max Verstappen's mother Sophie and has called her formidable. He said in an Interview:
“In 1989, I raced against her in the Junior Kart World Championship. In that race were some super talented drivers; Jan Magnussen, Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Dario Franchitti. She was top 10 in the world, for sure.”
Max Verstappen is the first Dutch driver to win the F1 world championship title
Max Verstappen finished at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton, making him the first-ever Dutch driver to win the elusive world title. This makes him the most successful Dutch driver in the sport, with his father Jos Verstappen coming in second place by quite a big margin.
The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was broadcast free of cost in the Netherlands in support of local hero Max Verstappen. Verstappen spoke about the support he has received. He said:
"It's great for the people to be able to watch it. I think for us, it's even more special because it is the first time a Dutch driver has [had] a chance of winning a championship, so hopefully, a lot of people will tune in."
With the dramatic season finally coming to an exhilarating finish, the regulation and car changes of the 2022 edition of F1 promise to bring further excitement and intense wheel-to-wheel racing.