Now a two-time world champion at the age of 25, they sky is the limit for Max Verstappen in Formula 1, with Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton’s record of seven championships not being out of the question for the Dutchman.
After two seasons with Red Bull’s sister team Toro Rosso, Verstappen was promoted to the senior team and won his first Grand Prix aged on 18, making him the youngest winner of all time.
Having joined the team in 2016, it took until 2021 for the Red Bull driver to win his first championship title, narrowly beating Lewis Hamilton at the season finale in Abu Dhabi in controversial circumstances.
In March of last year, just prior to the season opener in Bahrain, Verstappen put pen to paper on a long-term contract extension with the team which will keep him with the energy drink giants until the end of 2028.
The deal was met with some scepticism from fans at the time, but having now cruised to a second championship in the 2022 season, the 25-year-old has suggested that he feels vindicated for signing the deal.
“At the end of the day, I always felt like it was the right choice for me because of all the people we had on the team, and, of course, the people who have come along in the last few years,” said Verstappen in conversation with GPFans.
“It’s just really enjoyable to work with them. I knew that, because they were world champions in the past, they could do that again.
“I knew that if we just kept our heads down, kept working hard, then chances would come eventually.”
The decision to commit to such a long period of time with the team was an even bigger gamble considering the major changes in regulations that came into effect last season, as Red Bull could have quite easily suffered a similar fate to the struggling Mercedes, had they misinterpreted the new era of F1.
Having not won the constructors’ championship since 2013, Red Bull finally managed to end the Silver Arrows’ dominance last year, storming to the title while their rivals struggled to find consistent form under the new rules.
Verstappen will be hoping to retain his crown once again this year, but with Mercedes and Ferrari both confident of putting 2022 behind them, the Dutchman will face must sterner competition than he did last season.