Max Verstappen is a Belgian-Dutch racing driver currently competing in Formula One with Red Bull Racing. He is the son of the former Formula One driver Jos Verstappen. Max Verstappen made his Formula One debut at the young age of just 17 years and 166 days to become the youngest driver ever to compete in Formula One.
He started his career at Scuderia Toro Rosso but was promoted to the parent team Red Bull Racing in just his second season. Since then Max Verstappen has put together 10 wins and 3 pole positions. Alongside Lewis Hamilton, Max is considered by many to be one of the best drivers on the grid.
Born on 30 September 1991 in Hasselt, Belgium, to Jos Verstappen and Sophie Kumpen, Max has a long association with motorsports as his father was a former F1 driver while his mother competed in karting. Although Max has a Belgian mother and was born in Belgium he decided to compete with a Dutch racing license because he spent more time with his Dutch father due to his karting activities as a child. Interestingly, he competed in Formula One for more than half a season before obtaining his road driver’s license on his 18th birthday. Currently, he resides in Monaco and has been living there since 2015.
Max began karting at the young age of 4. By 2010 Max had already stepped up to international karting. At the KF3 World Cup, Verstappen finished second to Alexander Albon(his eventual future teammate in Formula One at Red Bull Racing). In 2011 Max Verstappen would win the WSK Euro Series in a Parilla-powered CRG. In 2012 he would win the WSK Master Series in the KF2 class, beating CRG driver Felice Tiene. At the age of 15, Verstappen won the 2013 World KZ championship at Varennes-sur-Allier, France, in KZ1, the highest karting category.
In 2014 Max Verstappen would compete in the Formula 3 Championship for Van Amersfoort Racing. He would finish the season 3rd in the championship behind Esteban Ocon and Tom Blomqvist. In the process, he impressed the big bosses enough for him to be selected by the Red Bull Racing junior team. Max made his Formula One debut with the Red Bull sister team Scuderia Torro Rosso in 2015 and became the youngest driver ever to race in Formula One.
Scuderia Toro Rosso (2015-2016)
Max Verstappen created history in 2015 when he debuted with Torro Rosso, becoming the youngest driver to ever race in Formula One. In his second race for Torro Rosso, he finished P7 to become the youngest driver to score a point in Formula One. Verstappen continued to impress in his first season and put together some sensational drives and brilliant overtakes throughout the season. He finished the season comfortably outsourcing his much more experienced teammate, Carlos Sainz Jr. Max finished the season 12th in the standings with 49 points while Carlos could score just 18 points in comparison. Impressed by Max’s metronomic rise Red Bull decided to put Max in the parent team, Red Bull Racing’s car from Spanish Grand Prix onwards, replacing Danil Kvyat mid-season.
Red Bull Racing (2016-Present)
Red bull promoted Max mid-season to the parent team in 2016. Max would replace Danil Kvyat from Spanish Grand Prix onwards and partner Daniel Ricciardo. In a surprising turn of events in his very first race, Max would qualify 4th on the grid in Spain just behind his teammate Daniel Ricciardo and would go on to win the race at Barcelona after both the Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton would crash into each other on the very first lap.
His first race win would make Max Verstappen the youngest ever race winner in Formula One displacing Sebastian Vettel in the process. Throughout the 2016 season, Max would prove his potential by consistently challenging Daniel Ricciardo and put together great performances weekend after weekend. In what would be a breakout performance that made the whole world take notice Max put on a clinic in wet weather conditions at the Brazilian Grand Prix. After a spin on the back straight that forced him to pit and drop down the field, Max would carve his way through the grid, lapping multiple seconds quicker than anyone else and still finishing the race in P3. By the end of 2016, Max was considered by many to be among the best drivers on the grid.
The 2017 season saw further improvements and flashes of brilliance from Max. At the start of the season, Max suffered a multitude of issues with first-lap collisions and mechanical issues that saw him retire from 7 of the first 14 races. Max however started to turn things around later in the season as he notched up two victories, in Mexico and Malaysia respectively. Max still finished the season behind his teammate Daniel Ricciardo who was more consistent throughout the season.
Max Verstappen would finally start turning things around in 2018. Despite a rocky start to the 2018 season that saw Max getting involved in multiple incidents Max turned a corner after Moncao GP as he put together a string of Podiums that included race victory at Red Bull’s home Grand Prix in Austria. He ended the season as one of the most consistent drivers on the grid, this time around beating his teammate Daniel Ricciardo in the process. Max finished the season with 249 points as compared to Ricciardo’s 170.
For the 2019 season, the expectations were muted for Red Bull on the back of a new engine partnership with Honda. Red Bull wasn’t expecting to challenge for titles any soon and was looking to use the year to consolidate their partnership. However contrary to expectations Red Bull didn’t lose much in terms of the pecking order and were still able to challenge for podiums. Max, now with a new teammate in Pierre Gasly was in the form of his life as he was able to consistently challenge for podiums. Gasly on the other hand struggled massively as compared to Max and would have a considerable margin to Max every race weekend. As a result, Gasly would be replaced by Alex Albon mid-season at Red Bull.
With the Mercedes out of reach, Max would finish the season as Best of the Rest in 3rd with 3 race victories and 2 pole positions.
Red Bull expected to challenge Mercedes for the title in 2020 in what was the second year of association with Honda. Because of the Pandemic and Mercedes making significant gains during the off-season, Mercedes were able to build a significant gap to the rest of the field before the season began. With Mercedes enjoying a comfortable gap and Red Bull comfortably the second-best car on the grid, Max would put together a string of podiums throughout the season. Just like his previous teammate Pierre Gasly Alex Albon would be unable to compete with Max in terms of pace and struggle massively in the same car. Alex Albon would be replaced by Sergio Perez for the 2021 season. Max would finish another season at Red Bull finishing 3rd in the championship and capping off the season with a dominant victory at Abu Dhabi.
The 2021 F1 season was the moment when Max Verstappen's career took off and reached stardom that he had never had before. The season was the first opportunity in the turbo-hybrid era where Red Bull had a car capable of fighting for the title and it was going to be an intense battle between Max and Lewis Hamilton, the most successful F1 driver in the history of the sport. The two drivers had an epic tussle with Verstappen the young charger while Lewis the wily veteran who had dominated the sport for a long time. There were multiple flashpoints throughout the season between the two drivers as neither wanted to give an inch. The first was the horrible collision between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Silverstone during the 2021 F1 British GP which led to the Red Bull driver having an impact of 51G during his crash and being rushed to the hospital. The second one happened in the 2021 F1 Italian GP where Max Verstappen's Red Bull ended up getting parked over the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. It all came down to the last race in Abu Dhabi where Verstappen snatched the title from Lewis albeit with a lot of controversy around the race getting restarted on the last lap. Controversy aside, it was a very impressive season for Verstappen as he finished either 1st or 2nd in every race where a collision or a crash did not play a role.
The 2022 F1 season saw Verstappen take dominance to a whole new level. The Red Bull driver faced adversity early in the season from Charles Leclerc and an unreliable Honda power unit. He was facing a deficit of more than 40 points after the first 4 races of the season owing to a couple of DNFs. From that point onward, the Red Bull driver took charge and went on a dominant run. Taking advantage of a fading Ferrari/Charles Leclerc challenge for the title, Verstappen will break multiple records en route his second world championship. He will break an almost 20-year-old record of Michael Schumacher for the most race wins in a season and a better Lewis Hamilton's record for the most points accrued in a season.
The 2023 F1 season so far has been unprecedented in the manner in which Verstappen has continued to dominate. In a Red Bull that seems to be leagues ahead of everybody else on the current grid, the Dutch driver has been almost unbeatable. By the time we've reached the mid-season mark, Max has already won 10 races this season and has looked unstoppable in so many ways. A third world title looks like a formality at the moment as the driver continues to break records.
Father: Jos Verstappen
Mother: Sophie Kumpen