A brief biography of Red Bull Racing driver Max Verstappen, including his career history and Formula One statistics
As the son of former Formula One driver Jos Verstappen who raced for teams including Benetton, Stewart and Tyrrell in the 1990s and early 2000s, Max Verstappen literally grew up in the world of Grand Prix racing. It's perhaps no wonder that he was racing karts before he was five years old, going on to pick up the Dutch, Belgian and Flemish Minimax championships by 2009.
The following year Verstappen stepped up to international karting and won the WSK Euro Series in 2011 and the KF2 class of the WSK Master Series the following year. In 2013 Verstappen won the European KF and KZ championships together with the 2013 World KZ championship in the highest karting category, KZ1 - all by the time he was just 15 years old.
Verstappen made the natural transition to single-seater racing in 2014 in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship in which he finished in third place the same year that Esteban Ocon won the title. After a successful test in a Formula Renault 3.5 car Verstappen found himself with competing offers from the Red Bull Junior Team and Mercedes driver development programme: he chose the former because it provided the opportunity to race in F1 immediately.
Within a week Verstappen was named as a full-time Formula One driver alongside Carlos Sainz at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the 2015 season. When Max lined up on the starting grid for the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, he became the youngest-ever driver to race in Formula One at the age of just 17 years and 166 days.
Verstappen quickly became a reliable points-winner for Toro Rosso and was clearly destined for greater things, but no one foresaw quite how quickly that inevitable promotion would come. Following the 2016 Russian Grand Prix, the Red Bull team management summarily decided to promote Verstappen to the senior squad at the expense of Daniil Kvyat.
Some speculated that it was too much too soon and that Verstappen would struggle under the pressure: instead he answered them in the most emphatic way possible by winning on his first outing with the team in Spain to become the first Dutch national and the youngest driver ever at the age of 18 years, 227 days to have won a Formula One Grand Prix. What he will be able to do next we can only wait and wonder.