Max Verstappen hits 50: Red Bull driver’s greatest F1 wins

Max Verstappen has produced some sensational performances during his 50 F1 wins


Lewis Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost and now Max Verstappen. Names synonymous with success in Formula 1, and the only drivers to have won 50 or more Grand Prix.

Verstappen became the newest member of F1’s half-century win club after winning the 2023 United States GP at the Circuit of the Americas and is the fifth driver to have won three consecutive world championships.

Since 2021, Verstappen has won 40 out of 62 Grand Prix to take place, a strike rate of 64 percent and a sign of how much he has dominated the sport since his maiden title campaign.

Wins weren’t as easy to come by for Verstappen in his early years as the Dutchman could only take ten victories between 2016 and 2020 during an era where Red Bull struggled to compete with Mercedes.

To celebrate Verstappen’s half-century, looks back at six of the triple world champion’s most dazzling victories.

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

An unexpected driver swap sowed the seeds of Verstappen‘s maiden F1 win on the eve of the race weekend. He was promoted to Red Bull, replacing Daniil Kvyat, who was demoted to Toro Rosso.

With limited time to get acquainted with Red Bull‘s RB12, Verstappen qualified a respectable fourth behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who locked out the front row.

Rosberg took the lead into Turn 1, but when Hamilton sensed his opportunity and tried to get him back into the Repsol corner. Both Mercedes drivers collided, promoting Ricciardo into the lead from Verstappen.

With both Mercedes out, the race became a battle of strategy between Ferrari and Red Bull, as Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen were put on a two-stopper whilst Ricciardo and Vettel went for a three-stopper.

The two-stopper turned out to be the quicker strategy, meaning the fight for the win would be between Verstappen and Raikkonen, who, try as he might, couldn’t get past the Dutchman.

This left Verstappen to take his maiden F1 victory, becoming the sport’s youngest race winner at 18 years old and 228 days, with Raikkonen coming home second and Vettel third.

Max Verstappen wins his maiden F1 race at the 2016 Spanish GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

2019 German Grand Prix

Before arriving in Hockenheim, Verstappen had been the only non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2019, taking a spirited win at the Red Bull Ring from Charles Leclerc after botching the start. 

On race day, the heavens opened, levelling the playing field, but Verstappen, starting second, added to his workload by making a mess of the start, dropping him to fourth by Turn 1.

With the bit between his teeth, Verstappen quickly cleared Raikkonen for third just as the safety car came out on Lap 2 following Sergio Perez‘s shunt on the exit of Turn 10.  

Once racings resumed, track conditions dried, and Verstappen settled behind Valtteri Bottas in third until the rain returned, catching out the Dutchman, who spun in the stadium section. 

Red Bull pitted him for intermediates on Lap 26 just as the rain got heavier, soaking the track and catching out Hamilton and Leclerc, promoting Verstappen into the lead ahead of Nico Hulkenberg.

With Hamilton given a five-second penalty for a pitlane infringement, Verstappen was left in the clear and won one of the wildest Grand Prix from Vettel and Kvyat.

Max Verstappen stands on his car after the 2019 German GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

2020 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

The start of the Covid-19-affected 2020 season hadn’t been smooth for Verstappen as a DNF in the season-opening Austrian GP, and a narrow defeat in the British GP had jeopardised his championship aspirations.

Defeating Mercedes at the second consecutive GP held at Silverstone would require something outstanding from Verstappen, not least from fourth on the grid behind Bottas and Hamilton and super-sub Hulkenberg, who impressed for Racing Point.

Starting on hards, Verstappen instantly cleared Hulkenberg at Abbey and closely pursued both Mercedes, who were struggling with their mediums tyres during the race’s opening stages,

With Bottas and Hamilton pitting on Lap 13 and 14, Verstappen was now in clean air, charging with great zest, producing a gap of just under 20 seconds before his pitstop on Lap 27. 

Bottas managed to jump Verstappen as he was leaving the pits, but sensing he needed to clear the Finn quickly, the Dutchman made a bold move around the outside of Luffield, retaking the lead instantly.

Hamilton had a brief period in the lead after the second round of pitstops, but Verstappen repassed him with eight laps to go, winning by over 11 seconds and dashing Mercedes’ hopes of a perfect season.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the 2020 70th Anniversary GP | Bryn Lennon / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

2021 Dutch Grand Prix

Verstappen‘s rise in popularity was the catalyst for bringing F1 back to Dutch soil for the first time since 1985 at a dramatically redeveloped Zandvoort circuit.

In what would be a critical race in the championship fight, Verstappen did his chances of victory a world of good by taking pole by less than a tenth from Hamilton.

With 72,000 of his orange-clad compatriots arriving at Zandvoort on race day for the expected home victory, Verstappen got a flyer of a start covering Hamilton and Bottas retaining his lead through Turn 1.

Verstappen led by over 10 seconds from the Mercedes pair before his first pitstop on Lap 22. He then returned to the lead on Lap 30 after effortlessly passing Bottas on the front straight.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Verstappen, who soaked up the pressure to become the first Dutchman to win the Dutch GP from Hamilton and Bottas.

Hamilton and Verstappen’s gladiatorial dual for the 2021 world championship intensified after Zandvoort, with the title being controversially decided on the last lap at Abu Dhabi in favour of Verstappen.

The Dutch fans cheer on Max Verstappen at the 2021 Dutch GP | Boris Streubel / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

2022 Mexico City Grand Prix

Despite wrapping up his second world championship at the Japanese GP, Verstappen showed no signs of relenting in the season’s closing stages, winning in Austin to secure Red Bull’s first constructors championship since 2013.

However, when F1 landed in Mexico, all attention was on home hero Perez, who looked to send his fans into a frenzy by becoming the first Mexican driver to win the Mexican GP.

But Verstappen was keen to spoil the party with his first act being pole position by over two-tenths from Hamilton in second.

On Sunday, Verstappen made a perfect start and held his lead for the opening quarter of the race from Hamilton and Perez, who passed George Russell into Turn 3.

Verstappen couldn’t pull away from Mercedes on softs, which wiltering by Lap 25, forcing him to switch to mediums on Lap 26, rejoining behind Russell and Hamilton.

The switch to mediums bared fruit as Verstappen built up a 15-second cushion between him and both Mercedes, setting consistent lap times in the 1:22 range and taking his fourth victory in Mexico City.

Max Verstappen celebrates victory at the 2022 Mexico City GP | Chris Graythen / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

2023 Monaco Grand Prix

There was an air of a showdown when the F1 circus docked in Monte Carlo with the surprise package of Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso looking like strong contenders to end Red Bull’s winning run.

Alonso struck first in qualifying with a 1:11.706, but to everyone’s surprise, Esteban Ocon shocked everyone by going a tenth quicker then the Spaniard, snatching provisional pole. 

Leclerc was next to go top, followed by Alonso, but Verstappen was struggling in the second sector and needed a perfect end to the lap if he wanted to snatch pole.

Verstappen’s final sector, however, was mesmerising, snatching pole from Alonso by 0.084 seconds and setting up a dream dual between himself and the old matador. 

Hopes of an Alonso attack into Ste Devote evaporated when Verstappen nailed the start, set off into a commanding lead, and approached backmarkers, which included teammate Perez, by Lap 34.

Even with a sudden downpour of rain on Lap 54, Verstappen looked in complete command and cruised to his second Monaco victory from Alonso and Ocon.

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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