Max Verstappen’s mum is former champion go-karter who beat F1 world champion

Max Verstappen was always destined for racing glory – because the reigning F1 world champion's mother, Sophie Kumpen, was a champion go-karter in her heyday.

All eyes will be on Verstappen as he bids to rebound from last weekend's calamitous Bahrain Grand Prix, where the Red Bull driver was forced to retire with three laps remaining due to a power failure.

That's left the 24-year-old with an early mountain to climb if he is to retain his world title ahead of his old rival, Lewis Hamilton, and Charles Leclerc, who whizzed to the first podium of the season for Ferrari after Verstappen was withdrawn from their two-way tussle for the top spot.

Verstappen's rise to the top of Formula 1 was always on the cards though; racing is in his blood. His father, Jos Verstappen, was also a F1 driver. But Verstappen's mum, Kumpen, was also a keen racer in her youth.

Kumpen started go-karting at the age of 10 and even went on to compete in the Formula A World Championship at the age of just 16, finishing ninth. The following year she competed in the karting world championship and finished ahead of former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella. Despite her talent, Kumpen gave up racing at the age of 21 after meeting Verstappen's dad.

For Kumpen, just like her son, racing is in her blood. In her native Belgium, her cousin, Anthony, who is the son of Kumpen's brother, is a well-known racer and won the Belcar championship in his first ever season racing.

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And to complete the sporting influence in the family, Kumpen's dad, Robert, also used to be the chairman of Belgian outfit KRC Genk.

During her days on the track, Kumpen came up against former F1 world champion Jenson Button before becoming a team-mate of the Englishman – and she even raced against her son's current boss, Red Bull chief Christian Horner.

Horner has since claimed that he believes Kumpen was one of the "top 10" drivers in the world. He said previously: "I raced against [Verstappen's] mum. In 1989, I raced against her in the Junior Kart World Championship. In that race were some super talented drivers; Jan Magnussen, Jarno Trulli, Giancarlo Fisichella, Dario Franchitti. She was top 10 of the world, for sure."

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