Red Bull driver Max Verstappen took advantage of a first-lap collision between Mercedes front-runners Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and thus became Formula 1’s youngest-ever winner on this day, 15 May in 2016.
Eighteen-year-old Verstappen showed maturity beyond his years on his Red Bull debut to fend off the challenge of Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and triumph at the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Dutchman, who had only been promoted from Toro Rosso to Red Bull after Daniil Kvyat had been dropped the previous week, eclipsed Sebastian Vettel’s youngest-ever winner record set at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix by two years and 137 days.
Team principal Christian Horner was bowled over by Verstappen’s maturity, saying: “He’s his own man and a very together young guy. You’d never think he was 18. He was quick, measured and mature.
“He defended incredibly well against a seasoned pro like Kimi and to score his first grand prix victory, becoming the youngest victor on his debut for the team, is fairytale stuff. He’s the first driver I’ve had that legally I could be his father!” joked Horner, who was then 42.
Verstappen has gone on to win the last two F1 World Championships with Red Bull, finally getting the better of his rivalry with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, and is leading the way in this season’s standings as well.
He can lay claim to being the preeminent driver of this generation, usurping Hamilton as the unofficial ‘King of F1’ providing the benchmark for the new and next generation of drivers.
List of Verstappen’s F1 records:
- Youngest driver to compete in F1 – Max Verstappen made his F1 debut at the age of 17 years, 166 days, at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix.
- Youngest driver to win a F1 race – Verstappen won the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix at the age of 18 years, 227 days, becoming the youngest ever F1 race winner.
- Youngest driver to lead a lap in F1 – Verstappen led his first F1 lap at the 2015 Japanese Grand Prix, aged 18 years, 228 days.
- Youngest driver to score points in F1 – Verstappen scored his first F1 points at the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, aged 17 years, 180 days.
- Most career pole positions by a Dutch driver – As of the end of the 2021 season, Verstappen has
- Most consecutive wins at the same race – Verstappen won the Austrian Grand Prix three times in a row, from 2018 to 2020.
- Youngest F1 driver with the fastest race lap at the age of 19, Verstappen set a new record. During the rainy Brazilian Grand Prix (2016).
- Verstappen is the driver with the most overtakes in an F1 season, in 2016 overtook rivals no less than 78 times.
- Most wins in a season (15 – 2022)
- Most sprint race wins (3 out of 7)
- Most podium finishes in a season (18 – 2021)
- Most championship points in a season (454 – 2022)
- Largest points deficit overturned to become World Champion (46 to Leclerc – 2022)
- Most wins not starting from pole position in a single season (9 – 2022)