Max Verstappen won his first Formula 1 World Championship in a title matchup at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and, at the age of 24 years and 66 days, became one of the youngest champions Of the history. But how does he compare to Emerson Fittipaldi, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel?
1. Sébastien Vettel
First championship: 2010
Age: 23 years and 133 days
Sebastian Vettel competed in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 15 points behind Fernando Alonso, but became the youngest Formula 1 world champion with his fifth victory of the season. Incidentally, he went on to become the youngest doubles champion (then triple then quadruple) in the following years.
That’s not all: in 2007 he had already become the youngest points-scorer in F1 for BMW Sauber at the United States Grand Prix, then in 2008 by becoming the youngest poleman and race winner at Monza.
PODCAST: Hear Sebastian Vettel reflect on his career and life outside of F1 on Beyond The Grid
2. Lewis Hamilton
First championship: 2008
Age: 23 years and 300 days
Lewis Hamilton won his first title in his second F1 season after starting a fierce rivalry with McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso in 2007, in which the pair were tied on points behind champion Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the season. .
The 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix made F1 history as Hamilton passed Timo Glock in the final laps to become the youngest Formula 1 world champion at the time, aged 23 and 300 days.
If he clinches another title in 2022 for Mercedes, he will be the oldest F1 champion since Alain Prost, who won the title in 1993 at the age of 38 years and 215 days.
READ MORE: From Interlagos to Silverstone – Ranking Hamilton’s best rainy workouts, 10-1
3. Fernando Alonso
First championship: 2005
Age: 24 years and 57 days
One of F1’s youngest debutants in 2001, Fernando Alonso had the toughest opponents with Michael Schumacher and Ferrari in 2005, but conquered the establishment to end the German’s dominant fate. It was no small feat: one only has to look back on the magnificent 2005 San Marino Grand Prix to see the proof of their battle from start to finish.
The Spaniard followed that in 2006 (becoming the youngest two-time F1 champion at the time), scoring seven wins to seven for Schumacher – but most importantly with 134 points compared to the latter’s 121 points.
The following year, Alonso moved to McLaren – only to take on Hamilton’s formidable challenge …
READ MORE: From Suzuka to San Marino – Ranking Alonso’s best Renault wins
4. Max Verstappen
First championship: 2021
Age: 24 years and 73 days
The youngest to start a Grand Prix at 17 years and 166 days, Max Verstappen overtook Vettel as the youngest Formula 1 Grand Prix winner at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, but in the midst of ‘a period of Mercedes hegemony, he didn’t really have the chance to become the youngest F1 champion.
In 2021, he put an end to the mind-blowing Silver Arrows run and – at least for now – dashed Hamilton’s hopes of winning a record-breaking eighth driver’s title with an emphatic performance in Abu Dhabi. It was the first time since 1974 that the protagonists were tied on points before the final round.
READ MORE: Brilliant Verstappen wins first title after winning season finale in Abu Dhabi after late Safety Car drama
And it turned out to be a long drawn out fight, with Verstappen taking the win over Hamilton on the very last lap of the race. The Dutchman subsequently commented on his achievement and what will follow.
He said: “Of course I will continue to drive, but of course in terms of achievements I have accomplished everything in Formula 1 now. So whatever comes next is just a bonus.
5. Emerson Fittipaldi
First championship: 1972
Age: 25 years and 273 days
Emerson Fittipaldi won the Constructors’ Championship for Team Lotus and became the youngest world champion in 1972.
As our Hall of Fame installment puts it, “His strengths included a delicate touch and calm approach that kept him out of trouble, and an analytical mind that made him accomplished in tactics and strategy. “
This translated into five wins in 12 Grands Prix to immortalize the magnificent black and gold Lotus 72, including a brilliant performance at Monza, and a total of 61 points out of the 45 of Jackie Stewart, finalist.