GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #33 - Max Verstappen

11-02-2020 19:00
by Adam Newton
GPBlog's Top 50 drivers in 50 days - #33 - Max Verstappen

Hello and welcome back to GPBlog’s Top 50 F1 drivers of all time. We’re counting down from 50 to 1 in the 50 days before the start of the season on March 15. Yesterday Gerhard Berger came in and 34, but today we’re going to look at one of today’s biggest stars, Max Verstappen.

It might seem strange to some that a 22-year old makes t into our list, but it’s difficult to ignore his talent and what he’s already achieved in F1.

It’s almost a certainty that if we revisit this in five or ten years’ time, Verstappen will be far higher, perhaps in the top ten or even five.

Verstappen’s list of F1 records is huge, from the youngest driver to the youngest race winner, most of his records won’t ever be broken due to the minimum age of 18 to race in F1, introduced after he made his debut for Toro Rosso.

That was back in 2015 when Verstappen was just 17 and he made an impression immediately. He qualified P6 at his second race in Malaysia, finishing seventh.

It was clear that the Dutchman had incredible amounts of talent, but he was understandably still raw, and made regular mistakes. P4 in both Hungary and the USA showed he deserved to be in F1, despite his rough edges.

After Daniil Kvyat’s frustrating start to the 2016 season, Verstappen was promoted to the senior Red Bull team, and everybody knows what happened next.

As the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg crashed out on lap one, Verstappen went on to take an unbelievable victory on his Red Bull debut.

Six podium finishes in the rest of the season vindicated Red Bull’s decision and he stayed for 2017, although crashes and reliability cost him several points.

He fought back in the second half of the season with wins in Malaysia and Mexico but still ended the season 32 points behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

Verstappen had a nightmare start to 2018, finding it tough to go through an entire weekend without an incident, a period summed up by his crash in FP3 in Monaco. It forced him out of qualifying in a session he was expected to be at least on the front row and he had to watch Ricciardo take victory.

Following this disappointment, Verstappen bounced back and scored ten podiums including two wins in the remainder of the season to finish comfortably ahead of the departing Ricciardo.

2019 saw Verstappen take his performance to the next level. His consistency was fantastic and he was putting in mature performances.

He deservedly took victory in Austria after a battle with Charles Leclerc and then again in a wet Germany. He took the fight to Lewis Hamilton but couldn’t quite challenge for the title due to the superiority of the Mercedes.

He still managed to finish above both Ferrari drivers for his best season yet, and there can only be more to come in 2020 and beyond.

It’s early in his career, but the impact Verstappen has had on F1 in the last five years is incredible. Clearly his time in F1 is nowhere near finished and like I said at the start come back in five years and he ought to be far higher.

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