F1 2015 Driver Review: Max Verstappen

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Max Verstappen

Team: Scuderia Toro Rosso
Car No.: 33
Races: 19
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 4th (Hungary, USA)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 49
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 12th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

It is difficult to put into words the achievement of Max Verstappen in 2015. After being thrust into the spotlight to make his Formula 1 debut with just one season of single-seater racing under his belt, the Dutchman wasted little time in making an impression.

Verstappen was unfortunate not to score any points on debut in Australia, but he quickly made up for it with his first top ten finish of the year in Malaysia. Further points followed in Austria before he finished fourth in Hungary, marking Toro Rosso’s best finish in a race since Sebastian Vettel left the team in 2008.

Verstappen enjoyed a strong second half of the year that included a run of six straight points finishes, including another fourth place finish in Austin, despite being on the wrong strategy at the end of the race. He comfortably finished 2015 as the top rookie in the drivers’ championship.

And yet it was not his final score that made 2015 so impressive for Verstappen. Instead, it was the fine race craft he showed week in, week out. When thinking about the overtake of the year, Verstappen is the only name that really comes up: his dive down the inside of Marcus Ericsson in China; his ballsy move on Pastor Maldonado in Monaco; his bravery in passing Felipe Nasr around the outside of Blanchimont at Spa; his moves around the outside of Turn 1 at Interlagos. They are all signs of greatness from a driver destined to tear up the record books.

Oh, and he’s only 18. Just in case you missed it.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

It was a shame, I thought, that the FIA reacted to Max Verstappen’s promotion to Formula 1 with the introduction not just of superlicense points, but more crucially the 18-year-old age limit for racing. Frankly, Red Bull wouldn’t have placed him at Toro Rosso if they didn’t think he could get the job done – age be damned – and so it was that the 17-year-old Dutchman did just that in an amazing rookie season.

He was on course to score points in his debut at Australia before mechanical woes – a common story in either Red Bull camp this year. And his misjudged move on Romain Grosjean at Monaco was a true rookie mistake that earned him a five-placed grid penalty.  Other than those two negatives, Verstappen was obviously driving beyond his years for the majority of the rest of the season.

In the six intervening years between when Sebastian Vettel got promoted to Red Bull, Toro Rosso had a grand total of zero top-five finishes between Sebatien Bourdais, Sebastien Buemi, Jaime Alguersuari, Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat. Verstappen had two, and he was also a consistent points finisher with eight in the last 10 races. The undisputed rookie-of-the-year could well podium before he turns 20, and perhaps begin his own assault on Vettel’s records.

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports