Arriving as Formula 1’s youngest ever competitor at just 17 years old, Verstappen pushed his car, his rivals and the F1 record books to the limit. The son of former F1 driver Jos Verstappen and super-quick karting Mum Sophie Kumpen, racing fast definitely runs through his genes.The baby-faced Dutchman with the heart of a lion took the Toro Rosso – and then the Red Bull – by the horns with his subconscious racing style. Verstappen made his F1 debut at the age of 17, for the Toro Rosso at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, becoming the youngest driver in F1 by nearly two years.
His move to Red Bull in mid-2016 was a career defining move. F1’s youngest points scorer soon became its youngest race winner – at the age of 18 years and 228 days – with an opportunistic but controlled drive on debut for Red Bull in Barcelona 2016. A true wheel-to-wheel racer, another stunning drive in Brazil from the back of the pack to the podium on a treacherous wet track kept the praise coming and the momentum going.
Verstappen’s no-holds-barred attitude and hard defending have sometimes landed him in hot water with his peers and those in the media. But the mistakes that initially marred his potential have given way to maturity, while the boldness and energy that make him a superstar talent have remained – and the victories have kept on coming, culminating in his first F1 drivers’ title following a controversial and hotly contested, final-round showdown with Lewis Hamilton in 2021.
Having become the Netherlands' first world champion aged just 24, the expectations for the next generation’s superstar are lofty – but with Verstappen there’s a feeling that the sky’s the limit.