Max Emilian Verstappen (Dutch pronunciation:[mɑks eːˈmiliɑn vɛrˈstɑpən]; born 30 September 1997) is a Belgian-Dutch racing driver who competes under the Dutch flag in Formula One with Red Bull Racing. Aged 17 years, 166 days, he became the youngest driver to compete in Formula 1 at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix for Scuderia Toro Rosso. He is also the youngest driver to lead a lap during a Formula One Grand Prix, youngest driver to secure a podium and youngest Formula One Grand Prix winner.

After spending the entire 2015 season with Toro Rosso, he started his 2016 campaign with the Italian team, before being promoted by Red Bull as a replacement for Daniil Kvyat, who took over his seat at Toro Rosso. He won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix in his debut race for Red Bull at the age of 18, becoming the youngest-ever winner of a Grand Prix and the first racing under the Dutch flag. He is the son of former Formula One driver Jos Verstappen.

Family and private life

Max Emilian Verstappen was born on 30 September 1997 in Hasselt, Belgium. His family has a long association with motor sports. His father, Jos Verstappen, is a Dutch former Formula One driver, whereas his Flemish mother, Sophie Kumpen, competed in karting. His uncle, Anthony Kumpen, competed in endurance racing and is currently a NASCARWhelen Euro Series driver.

Although Verstappen travels with a Belgian passport and resided in Bree, Belgium, he decided to compete with a Dutch racing licence because he spent most of his karting time surrounded by Dutch people while growing up in Maaseik, a Belgian town at the Dutch border. He competed in Formula One for more than half a season before obtaining a road driver's licence on his 18th birthday. Verstappen has lived in Monaco since October 2015. Verstappen said that his move to the tax haven of Monaco was not for reasons of taxation as his salary did not change during 2015.

Career history

Karting

Verstappen began karting at age 4 12. He competed in the Mini Junior championship of his home province of Limburg (Belgium). In 2006, Verstappen graduated to the Rotax Max Minimax class and won the Belgian championship. In 2007, Verstappen won the Dutch Minimax championship. Racing in a CRG kart entered by his father, Verstappen won the Dutch and Belgian Minimax championship as well as the Belgian Cadet championship.

In 2009, Verstappen joined Team Pex Racing, a CRG customer team. That year, he won the Flemish Minimax championship and the Belgian KF5 championship.

In 2010, Verstappen stepped up to international karting. He was signed by CRG to race in their factory team at world and European championships. At the KF3 World Cup, Verstappen finished second to the more experienced Alexander Albon but beat him at the WSK Euro Series and also won the WSK World Series, beating Robert Vișoiu.

In 2011, Verstappen won the WSK Euro Series in an Parilla-powered CRG. In 2012, Verstappen was picked for the Intrepid Driver Program to race in the KF2 and KZ2 classes. He won the WSK Master Series in the KF2 class, beating CRG driver Felice Tiene. Verstappen won the South Garda Winter Cup in the KF2 class, beating Dennis Olsen and Antonio Fuoco.

At the end of 2012, it was announced that Verstappen would leave Intrepid. After a short stint with CRG-built Zanardi karts, Verstappen returned to the factory CRG team. He competed at the SKUSA SuperNationals in the KZ2 class in a CRG, finishing 21st. In 2013, Verstappen won the European KF and KZ championships. At the age of 15, Verstappen won the 2013 World KZ championship at Varennes-sur-Allier, France, in KZ1, the highest karting category.

Car racing debut

Verstappen's first experience in a racing car was at the Pembrey Circuit on 11 October 2013. He drove 160 laps in a Barazi-Epsilon FR2.0-10 Formula Renault car. The car was provided by Dutch team ManorMP Motorsport. In December 2013, Verstappen tested a Dallara F311 Formula 3 car run by Motopark Academy. Another Formula Renault test came in December at Circuito de Jerez. Driving for Josef Kaufmann Racing, Verstappen went faster than Formula Renault regulars like Steijn Schothorst and Matt Parry. At the Circuit Ricardo Tormo near Valencia, Verstappen set a faster time than more experienced drivers including Tatiana Calderón and Eddie Cheever III.

On 16 January 2014, it was announced Verstappen would make his racing debut in the Florida Winter Series.

Formula Three

In 2014, Verstappen drove in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship for Van Amersfoort Racing. He finished his maiden car racing season third, behind champion Esteban Ocon and runner-up Tom Blomqvist.

Formula One

In August 2014, Verstappen joined the Red Bull Junior Team after testing a Formula Renault 3.5 car. He also considered an offer from Mercedes to join their driver development programme. Six days later, he was confirmed as one of Scuderia Toro Rosso's drivers for the 2015 season. It was confirmed that Carlos Sainz Jr. would be Verstappen's teammate, following Daniil Kvyat's promotion to Red Bull Racing. Verstappen chose 33 as his race number.

2014 season

By taking part in the first free practice at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, Verstappen became the youngest driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend, as part of his preparation for a full-time place with Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2015.

2015 season

In January 2015, the FIA launched a new super licence system for Formula One, raising the age limit to 18 from the 2016 season onwards. Verstappen became the youngest driver to start a World Championship race by joining the sport a year before this licence restriction, in his Grand Prix début as a full-time driver at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix at the age of 17 years, 166 days – breaking Jaime Alguersuari's existing record by almost two years. In this first race, Verstappen won points-scoring positions until he was forced to retire due to an engine failure. However, at the subsequent race in Malaysia, Verstappen qualified sixth and finished the race in seventh place, scoring his first Formula One points aged 17 years, 180 days, breaking the record of youngest driver to score World Championship points. After that he then failed to finish with points in China, due to engine failure in the last lap, Bahrain, due to electrical issues, Spain, settling for 11th.

At the 2015 Monaco Grand Prix, Verstappen was involved in a high-speed collision with Romain Grosjean, after clipping the back of the Lotus on the approach to Sainte Devote and flew nose-first into the barriers at high speed. Verstappen was given a five-place grid penalty for causing the accident, and was branded "dangerous" by Williams driver Felipe Massa - although Verstappen hit back at Massa by pointing out he had himself been involved in a similar incident with Sergio Pérez at the 2014 Canadian Grand Prix.

Verstappen achieved his best finish of the 2015 season in Hungary by finishing 4th and equalled this result at the United States Grand Prix. At the end of the season, Verstappen received three awards at the FIA Prize Giving ceremony, for Rookie of the Year, Personality of the Year and Action of the Year for his overtake on Felipe Nasr through the outside of the Blanchimont corner at the Belgian Grand Prix.

2016 season

Verstappen began the 2016 season at Toro Rosso, again alongside Sainz. Verstappen qualified fifth for the opening race of the season in Australia, but during the race made several radio calls to his team due to frustration at being behind Sainz on track before clipping his teammate whilst attempting to pass him with three laps to go, and he eventually finished tenth. Verstappen enjoyed a more successful weekend at the following race in Bahrain, finishing sixth to score Toro Rosso's first ever points at the Sakhir circuit.

Following the Russian Grand Prix, Red Bull announced that Verstappen would be replacing Daniil Kvyat for the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, with Kvyat returning to Toro Rosso. According to Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner, "Max has proven to be an outstanding young talent. His performance at Toro Rosso has been impressive so far and we are pleased to give him the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing." After qualifying fourth for the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen rose to second behind team mate Daniel Ricciardo on the opening lap after Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out of the race. Verstappen took the race lead as he was placed on a two-stop rather than the same three-stop strategy as Ricciardo, and he held off Ferrari's Kimi Räikkönen in the later stages of the race to take his first Formula One victory. By doing so he displaced Sebastian Vettel as the youngest driver ever to win a Formula One Grand Prix at the age of 18 years and 227 days.

In his first 8 races with Red Bull he achieved 6 top 5 finishes, including 4 podiums.

During the Belgian Grand Prix, Verstappen collided with Räikkönen at the first corner, pushed Vettel, Räikkönen and Pérez wide at Les Combes, and aggressively blocked Räikkönen on the Kemmel straight. Verstappen was criticised for his driving, with Räikkönen saying that he "was going to cause a huge accident sooner or later"; Verstappen's boss, Horner, said that the driving was "on the edge", and that "Verstappen will learn from Belgium". On 2 September 2016 F1 director Charlie Whiting called in Verstappen for a discussion. Whiting gave Verstappen a gentle warning because of his aggressive driving.

Racing record

Career summary

SeasonSeriesTeamRacesWinsPolesFLapsPodiumsPointsPosition
2014Florida Winter SeriesN/A124337N/A
European Formula 3 ChampionshipVan Amersfoort Racing331077164113rd
Macau Grand Prix10010N/A7th
Zandvoort MastersMotopark11101N/A1st
Formula OneScuderia Toro RossoTest driver
2015Formula OneScuderia Toro Rosso1900004912th
2016Formula OneScuderia Toro Rosso40000129*6th*
Red Bull Racing111004

* Season still in progress.

Complete FIA European Formula 3 Championship results

(key)

YearEntrantEngine123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233DCPoints
2014Van Amersfoort RacingVolkswagenSIL
1

Ret
SIL
2

5
SIL
3

2
HOC
1

Ret
HOC
2

DNS
HOC
3

1
PAU
1

3
PAU
2

Ret
PAU
3

Ret
HUN
1

Ret
HUN
2

16
HUN
3

4
SPA
1

1
SPA
2

1
SPA
3

1
NOR
1

1
NOR
2

1
NOR
3

1
MSC
1

3
MSC
2

Ret
MSC
3

2
RBR
1

5
RBR
2

4
RBR
3

12
NÜR
1

1
NÜR
2

Ret
NÜR
3

3
IMO
1

Ret
IMO
2

2
IMO
3

1
HOC
1

1
HOC
2

5
HOC
3

6
3rd411

Complete Formula One results

(key) (Races in bold indicate pole position; races in italics indicates fastest lap)

YearEntrantChassisEngine123456789101112131415161718192021WDCPoints
2014Scuderia Toro RossoToro RossoSTR9Renault Energy F1‑2014 1.6 V6tAUSMALBHRCHNESPMONCANAUTGBRGERHUNBELITASINJPN
TD
RUSUSA
TD
BRA
TD
ABU – –
2015Scuderia Toro RossoToro RossoSTR10Renault Energy F1‑2015 1.6 V6tAUS
Ret
MAL
7
CHN
17
BHR
Ret
ESP
11
MON
Ret
CAN
15
AUT
8
GBR
Ret
HUN
4
BEL
8
ITA
12
SIN
8
JPN
9
RUS
10
USA
4
MEX
9
BRA
9
ABU
16
12th49
2016Scuderia Toro RossoToro RossoSTR11Ferrari 059/4 1.6 V6tAUS
10
BHR
6
CHN
8
RUS
Ret
6th*129*
Red Bull RacingRed BullRB12TAG Heuer 1.6 V6tESP
1
MON
Ret
CAN
4
EUR
8
AUT
2
GBR
2
HUN
5
GER
3
BEL
11
ITA
7
SIN
6
MALJPNUSAMEXBRAABU

* Season still in progress.
† Did not finish, but was classified as he had completed more than 90% of the race distance.