Max Verstappen has been one of the most exciting drivers of formula one ever since he first broke out onto the scene in 2014. Throughout all of that time, he has only raced for two teams (both of which are technically in partnership); Scuderia Toro Rosso and Red Bull Racing.
While there have been many ups and downs throughout his racing career, there is no doubt that Verstappen is one of the most exhilarating racers to ever hit the track. When he is switched on there’s simply no one faster. Without further ado, here are 10 Things You Didn't Know About Max Verstappen.
10 The Youngest Driver In The History Of Formula 1
Verstappen was only 17 years (and 166 days) old when he drove his first race as an official full-time driver. The race was the 2015 Australian Grand Prix in which he managed to place 12th in qualifying but unfortunately retired (along with half of the field) in the actual race. He did retire ahead of Daniil Kvyat (from the Red Bull team), however, which would prove to be emblematic of things to come.
Even now, five years on from when he first got his start in Formula One, Verstappen is still incredibly young; turning 22 on the 30th of September 2019.
9 The youngest driver to ever win an F1 Grand Prix
As well as being the youngest driver of all time (a record that is likely to stay, given that the FIA raised the age limit for super licenses to 18 in January 2015), Verstappen is also the youngest driver to score points and, more importantly, win a Grand Prix. He scored points in his second race ever, where he finished 7th at the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix. He continued to consistently score throughout 2015 and the following season.
Things changed, however, when Daniil Kvyat was demoted from his position in the Red Bull team and Verstappen was brought on as his replacement. The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix was his first-ever race with Red Bull and he ended up sweeping up the gold. He was just 18 years old.
8 His success changed F1 recruiting forever
Before Max Verstappen, there was a certain way of doing things for aspiring rookies and top teams. It was generally recognized that young rookies coming up from GP3 and Formula 2 would usually get their start with a smaller team (one of the low-tier finishers). After proving themselves in "best of the rest" races, they would be considered ready to move up to one of the bigger teams if they had an opening.
The sudden promotion of Verstappen and the immediate rewards Red Bull acquired led to other top teams going for similar tactics (particularly over the last two years).
7 His salary increased 800 percent in only two years
It's no surprise that with Verstappen's sudden climb to the top of Formula One, there was a similarly sudden climb in salary. According to PlayersWiki.com, a website specializing in the net worth of athletes, Verstappen's 2018 salary is around $10 million USD.
This is a huge jump from where it was a year earlier at $3 million USD and an absolutely astounding jump from his 2016 debut season, where he was only earning $600,000 USD.
6 He was actually born in Belgium
It may surprise you to hear the driver known as the "Flying Dutchman" isn't actually as Dutch as one would expect. Verstappen was born in the small Belgian city called Hasselt, with the driver residing for most of his life in Bree. This confusion of Dutch and Belgian identity is actually quite common; there are a number of 2nd-generation Belgium residents who still consider themselves Dutch.
Verstappen continues to support his homeland by wearing their bright orange colors (sometimes on his helmet) and playing their national anthem at his first-place podiums.
5 Formula 1 is in his blood
Max is the second in his family to be an F1 driver. His father, Jos Verstappen, was active from 1994 till 2003, earning such monikers as the "Dutch Devil" and "Jos the Boss." His mother, Sophie Kumpen, was also a successful kart racing driver in her youth.
His parents were not as successful as Max, though, with his father only scoring two podium finishes in his career and was better known for his narrow escape at the Hockenheim fire of '94.
4 He has a passion for road cycling
Verstappen takes after his father's philosophy on physical fitness being key to being a successful Formula 1 driver. This may have come from Jos Verstappen's experience racing against Michael Schumacher in his prime, a driver who was incredibly fit at a time when it was not seen as essential to being an effective racing driver.
As a result, Verstappen has picked up road cycling as a hobby. He has also shot multiple press videos for Red Bull (sometimes with Daniel Ricciardo) involving cycling of some kind.
3 He keeps a low profile (relative to most F1 drivers)
The typical F1 driver archetype is usually somewhere between a high-performance athlete and a millionaire playboy. And there's no doubt that Verstappen shares certain qualities with all of these stereotypes (the focus and determination of the athlete; the many different girlfriends of the playboy, etc.).
However, unlike many other F1 drivers, he has refrained from an overly luxurious lifestyle. Until only recently, Verstappen still lived at his parents' Belgian home. Even after moving to Monaco (for the time being, at least), he has continued living modestly.
2 He's part of the reason Ricciardo left Red Bull for Renault
Verstappen's relationship with Daniel Ricciardo seemed more amicable than most F1 partnerships; they were often seen joking with each other both on and off camera. Their relationship was not entirely without tensions, however; there was a particularly notorious collision incident at 2018's Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which was partially due to Verstappen's stubborn and reckless defending.
Ricciardo's main frustration wasn't towards Verstappen but the management at Red Bull, whom he believed were unfairly prioritizing the younger driver over himself.
1 He has garnered a reputation of being a reckless driver
Finally, it's time to talk about Verstappen's reputation as a driver. For better or worse, Verstappen's youthful ambition and stubbornness on the track has resulted in him earning the label, "reckless." This certainly isn't an unfair judgment; one needs only look at the entire first half of Verstappen's 2018 season for evidence.
The likes of Räikkönen to Hamilton have criticized Verstappen's race decisions, and they are hardly the only ones. Verstappen often shrugs off these criticisms, embracing his determination as a part of racing.