“HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAX!!!”
Born: 30/09/1997 in Hasselt, Belgium
Family: Son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen (Dutch) and Flemish mother Karting Competitor Sophie Kumpen.
Lives: in Monte Carlo
Net Worth: $2.1 million
“I always consider it a positive when you are a talking point in F1.”
F1 RACING STATS:
Team: Red Bull
Car number: 33
Wins: 1 (2016 Spanish GP)
Grand Prix Starts: 34
Career points: 178
World Championship Wins: 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Represents: Dutch Team
“I would say he is probably now the most popular driver on the grid – worldwide.”(Helmut Marko)
Verstappen’s meteoric rise from Karting to Formula One in just 2 years, has made him the subject of hype and criticism in almost equal measure. To highlight his precociousness, he had already competed in Formula One for more than half a season – before obtaining a road driver’s licence on his 18th birthday. Young and inexperienced he may be; but if he can garner some control, to accompany his fearlessness; the future looks incredible.
At just 18 he has several Formula One records: Aged 17 years, 166 days he became the youngest driver to compete in Formula One at the Australian Grand Prix 2015. The youngest driver to lead a lap, youngest driver to secure a podium and the youngest Formula One Grand Prix winner (18 years).
Karting: Began karting aged 4 ½.
2006: He won the Belgian Karting Championship competing in the Rotax Max Minimax Class. For several years he then won nearly every race that he entered.
2013: Verstappen became European Karting (KF and KZ) Champion and World Karting (KZ) Champion. His first experience in a racing car came in October at the Pembrey Circuit in a Barazi-Epsilon FR2.0-10 Formula Renault car.
2014: Competed in the Florida Winter Series, achieving 2 wins and 5 podiums.
Verstappen then came 3rd in the FIA European F3 championship and also won the Zandvoort Masters. In August, he joined Red Bull’s junior driver programme, after considering an offer from Mercedes. His first free practice was at the Japanese Grand Prix when he became the youngest driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend.
At just 16 Red Bull Junior Team boss Helmut Marko likened him to Senna – “Mostly like Ayrton Senna. He is an exceptional talent that comes along only once in decades.”
2015: In January the FIA launched a new super licence system for Formula One – raising the age limit to 18 from 2016 onward. Verstappen joined a year before this restriction and because of this new rule; his record of youngest participant is now unlikely to be beaten.
Formula One: Didn’t score a podium in his debut season – but definitely made an impression! His best results were 4th place in Hungary and the US. This season will also be remembered for his spectacular crash at Monaco; which he was lucky to walk away from. After clipping the back of Romain Grosjean’s car he smashed head on into the barrier at a high speed, prompting Felipe Massa to describe him as ‘dangerous’. By the end of the season he’d earned 22 more points than any other newcomer. At the FIA awards he won: Rookie of the Year, Personality of the Year and Action of the Year.
2016: 4 races into the season team bosses chose him to race for Red Bull – replacing Daniil Kvyat. He has achieved 4 podiums so far, including a win in Spain. With Hamilton and Rosberg crashing out at the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen seized the opportunity to take his first win in an incredible race.
His over exuberance at the Belgian Grand Prix caused some controversy. With Raikkonen stating that the young Dutchman ‘was going to cause a huge accident sooner or later.’ He received a ‘gentle warning’ from Charlie Whiting regarding his aggressive driving.