In December, Max Verstappen squeaked by legend Lewis Hamilton in the final race of the season for his first Formula One World Drivers’ Championship.
On Wednesday, the 24-year-old joined Hamilton at the top of the highest-paid F1 drivers list, agreeing to a multiyear deal with Red Bull Racing for a reported $53.3 million a year.
With seven-time champ Hamilton in the final stages of a storied career at age 37, Verstappen’s meteoric rise positions him as the future face of Formula One.
- At 17 years, 166 days, he became the youngest driver to compete in an F1 race (2015 Australian Grand Prix).
- At 18, he won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix to become the youngest F1 Grand Prix winner.
- Verstappen’s 10 wins in 2021 snapped Hamilton’s streak of seven straight years with the most F1 victories.
- He has a reported net worth of $60 million.
His stunning victory at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — in which he passed Hamilton on the last lap to win by 2.256 seconds — also made him the first Dutch F1 World Drivers’ Champion.
Verstappen will begin defending his title when the 2022 season kicks off March 20 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
But for at least one more season, Hamilton (+145*) remains the favorite for the championship over the young superstar (+285*).