Let Netflix's Formula One: Drive to Survive Racers Speed Straight Into Your Heart

Thanks to Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive, we've developed a serious obsession with the sport and these 20 racers who are sure to rev your engines.

By Tierney Bricker Mar 11, 2022 3:00 PMTags
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No plans this weekend? Well, get ready to start your engine because we have the binge-watch you'll speed your way through.

Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive—which offers an intimate behind-the-scenes look at the drivers of the Formula One World Championship—is arguably one of the most gripping docuseries in recent history, revealing rivalries, covering crashes and deep-diving into the racers' personal lives. And its finally back for its fourth season, which dropped on March 11, and details arguably the sport's great showdown in recent history between seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton and young challenger Max Verstappen. (Though true fans may be even more excited to watch the Toto Wolff vs. Christian Horner rivalry.)

Sure, the public already knows how the 2021 season ended and who won, but that has never stopped the series from being one of the online streaming giant's most successful releases, Drive to Survive ranking No. 1 for TV shows worldwide last March after season three dropped, according to FlixPatrol. 

"It's quite unbelievable, people's reactions," executive producer Paul Martin told The New York Times of the overwhelming response. "Our show only works because, actually, the sport's an incredible spectacle. It is incredibly dramatic and tense. There's mistakes, and there's huge characters. Our show only shines a light on what's there."

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As you get ready to go behind the helmets and get a front-row seat to the intense pit stops in season four, we've got your guide to Formula One's biggest stars, including the rookies who are hoping to make a name for themselves and the veterans looking to box them out. 

Here's your breakdown of the world's 20 most talented drivers, including who's feuding, who they're all dating (so many models, so little time!), who's switching teams and the driver whose contract was just terminated for the upcoming 2022 season, which kicks off in Bahrain on March 18.

Lewis Hamilton

Driver For: Mercedes
Age: 36
Instagram Followers: 27 million
Relationship Status: Currently single after romances with Nicole Scherzinger, Rita Ora and Winnie Harlow. He also reportedly dated Nicki Minaj, Sofia Richie and was most recently linked to model Camila Kendra.
Need to Know Facts: Um, he's arguably the best Formula One driver of all time? With seven wins, Hamilton is tied with Michael Schumacher for most World Drivers' Championships. He also holds the records for most wins, pole positions and podium finishes.

By far the sport's most well-known figure, Hamilton works with celebrity stylist Law Roach and counts Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Kendall Jenner, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union and Will Smith among his famous friends.

Hamilton is also the first, and so far only, Black driver in F1 history and the activist launched The Hamilton Commission, an initiative to improve diversity within Motorsport UK.

Max Verstappen

Driver For: Red Bull
Age: 24
Instagram Followers: 7.9 million
Relationship Status: Currently dating Kelly Piquet, the daughter of three-time Formula One World Champion Nelson Piquet and the ex-girlfriend of Verstappen's former rival Daniil Kvyat.
Need to Know Facts: At 17, he became the youngest driver to ever compete in a Formula One race and at 18 he was the youngest to win one, with many in the sport dubbing him the  "Chosen One." The Dutch racer was the first person in years to give Lewis Hamilton some serious competition for the championship, with the two getting into a headline-making collision at the British Grand Prix before—spoiler alert!—Verstappen ultimately beat the seven-time champ in controversial fashion. 

Though he infamously threatened to punch rival (yep, another one!) Esteban Ocon during a 2018 race, Verstappen has settled down over the years, adopting a calmer approach. 

"You have to understand that if it's not your day, it's not your day, and you have to settle for a certain result," he explained to Red Bull. "It's more than just a one-weekend wonder. We have to make sure that even if we don't have a perfect weekend, we still score a lot of points. It's a different approach."

And he took an interesting one in season four of Drive to Survive, declining to sit down for interviews, which should make filming interesting as he just extended his contract with Red Bull through 2028.

George Russell

Driver For: Williams
Age: 23
Instagram Followers: 2.9 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with Carmen Montero Mundt.
Need to Know Facts: After starting his career at Williams as one of the sport's biggest up-and-comers, Mercedes announced last year that Williams would be joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes for the 2022 season, replacing Valterri Bottas.

During their last summer break, Russell and his then-teammate Nicholas Latifi vacationed with their girlfriends in Mykonos, Greece.

Daniel Ricciardo

Driver For: McLaren
Age: 32
Instagram Followers: 6.3 million
Relationship Status: Reportedly dating actress Heidi Berger.
Need to Know Facts: The outgoing Aussie is one of the sport's most popular drivers and was one of the breakout stars from the Netflix series. Ricciardo makes his debut for McLaren in season four after switching teams twice since the show premiered in 2019.

In March of last year, he released a collection of wine with acclaimed vintner St. Hugo.

Lando Norris

Driver For: McLaren
Age: 22
Instagram Followers: 4.9 million
Relationship Status: He's dating model and influencer Luisinha Oliveira.
Need to Know Facts: Racing in his third year at McLaren, Norris is one of the sport's brightest young stars. But no, he didn't get his name from Star Wars, with Norris telling Google his mom "has never really seen" the franchise and it was "just something she came up with." 

Mick Schumacher

Driver For: Haas
Age: 22
Instagram Followers: 2.4 million
Relationship Status: Reportedly dating Justine Huysman.
Need to Know Facts: The son of seven-time Formula One World Champion Michael Schumacher, he started his racing career under the pseudonym "Mick Betsch" to avoid drawing attention because of his father.

While he's currently driving for Haas, Schumacher seems intent to follow in his father's tire tracks and race for Ferrari. 

"Everything is unpredictable now," he told Autoweek, "but I don't deny it—it would be a dream to drive a Ferrari like my father did."

Pierre Gasly

Driver For: Scuderia AlphaTauri
Age: 26
Instagram Followers: 2.7 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with model Katerina Berezhna, who was previously linked to Lando Norris.
Need to Know Facts: Gasly has overcome several setbacks—including being dropped mid-season by Red Bull in 2019—and tragedies, especially the death of his close childhood friend Anthoine Hubert, who was killed in a crash during an F2 race the same year.

In March 2021, Gasly penned an open letter about the impact Hubert's death had on him for the Players' Tribune, and opened up about the importance of mental health for athletes in a recent interview with The Guardian.  

"People struggle to understand that we also feel emotions, we also have our ups and downs," he said. "It doesn't matter if you are successful or not, we saw it with Naomi [Osaka] in the tennis with the mental health issues. People outside see you as a driver and assume that is the only thing that goes through your head but you have a personal life, feelings and emotions."

Esteban Ocon

Driver For: Alpine
Age: 24
Instagram Followers: 1.3 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with influencer and model Elena Berri.
Need to Know Facts: While many drivers come from wealthy backgrounds, Ocon's family sold their house and lived in a caravan in order to fund his early career. 

"It was not an enjoyable time," he admitted to ESPN in 2019. "It was part of my life where my parents sacrificed massively and if I didn't perform it was over. I had a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I also had big responsibilities for my family, because if I did not perform we were going to be in trouble.

The sacrifice ultimately paid off, with Ocon winning his first Formula One race in early August, beating his longtime rival Max Verstappen. 

Fernando Alonso

Driver For: Alpine
Age: 40
Instagram Followers: 4 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with Italian model Linda Morselli.
Need to Know Facts: Considered one of the sport's greatest drivers with two World Driver's Championships, he came out of retirement for the 2021 season.

Lance Stroll

Driver For: Aston Martin
Age: 23
Instagram Followers: 694,000
Relationship Status: In a relationship with model Sara Pagliaroli.
Need to Know Facts: So, Stroll's father, billionaire Canadian businessman Lawrence Stroll, is part-owner of the team he races for, but that doesn't mean he isn't a talented driver in his own right: At age 18, he became the second-youngest competitor to finish an F1 race on the podium in 2017.

Nicholas Latifi

Driver For: Williams 
Age: 26
Instagram Followers: 451,000
Relationship Status: In a relationship with model and lawyer Sandra Dziwiszek.
Need to Know Facts: Latifi's billionaire father Michael Latifi has invested around $272 million in the McLaren group, while previously investing $36 million into Williams, which his company also sponsors.

Some of his pop culture faves include Drake, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame and The Last Dance. And while he drives professionally, he revealed that he doesn't own a car.

For the 2022 season, he will be joined by Alex Albon, who is replacing Russell. 

Valterri Bottas

Driver For: Mercedes
Age: 32
Instagram Followers: 2.9 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with Tiffany Cromwell following his divorce from Olympic swimmer Emilia Pikkarainen in 2020.
Need to Know Facts: After driving as Mercedes' No. 2 behind Lewis Hamilton since 2017—his frustrations with the second seat position often documented in the Netflix series—he is making the move to Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season. His girlfriend designed the helmets for his new team. 

Antonio Giovinazzi

Driver For: Alfa Romeo
Age: 27
Instagram Followers: 845,000
Relationship Status: In a relationship with Antonella Maraglino.
Need to Know Facts: Um, he owns 25 pairs of white shoes, explaining to Formula One, "Each time I get back home, I clean them and then put them in a box. Each one has their own box."

And, mild spoiler alert, the sneaker-lover was dropped from the grid for the 2022 season and is now a reserve driver for Ferrari.

Sergio Pérez

Driver For: Red Bull
Age: 32
Instagram Followers: 3.3 million
Relationship Status: He married Carola Martinez in 2018 and the couple have two children.
Need to Know Facts: In 2020, he broke the record for most starts before a race win when he took first place at the Sakhir Grand Prix. 

Nicknamed "Checo," Pérez is an avid golfer, breaking out his clubs twice a week during the off-season. He launched The Checo Pérez Foundation, a charity that supports orphans and children with cancer, in his hometown of Guadalajara in 2012.

Yuki Tsunoda

Driver For: Scuderia AlphaTauri
Age: 21
Instagram Followers: 868,000
Relationship Status: Unknown
Need to Know Facts: In his debut season, Tsunoda is currently the youngest driver on the grid.

Carlos Sainz Jr.

Driver For: Ferrari
Age: 27
Instagram Followers: 4.1 million
Relationship Status: Reportedly dating Isabel Hernaez.
Need to Know Facts: The son of champion rally driver Carlos Sainz, he's competed for four teams in the last five years.

"I have always pictured myself as a Ferrari driver," Sainz told The Race in March 2021. "I just felt close. I don't know why. It's a strange feeling. It's always been like that."

Charles LeClerc

Driver For: Ferrari
Age: 24
Instagram Followers: 6.1 million
Relationship Status: In a relationship with influencer Charlotte Sine.
Need to Know Facts: Just 3 years old when he began driving, LeClerc is one of the sport's up-and-coming stars. In 2017, he won an F2 race just four days after the death of his father, Herve LeClerc. He went on to win the championship title that year. 

LeClerc is best friends with Pierre Gasly, with the two drivers meeting when they were just 5 years old.

Sebastian Vettel

Driver For: Aston Martin
Age: 34
Instagram Followers: N/A
Relationship Status: Married to Hanna Prater since 2019, the couple have three children.
Need to Know Fact: When he was 23, Vettel became the the youngest person to win the Formula One World Drivers' Championship, going on to win three more titles. The German athlete is the only F1 driver who is not on social media.

"I never tried it and I think it's a good thing because a lot of people tell me they can't get away from it," he explained to Formula One. "I have never tried it so I'm not missing it. I've seen how it works with other people roughly and as far as I can tell, it's done in a way that obviously you're addicted. So yeah. Not for me."

Kimi Räikkönen

Driver For: Alfa Romeo Racing
Age: 42
Instagram Followers: 2.7 million
Relationship Status: Married to model Minna-Mari "Minttu" Virtanen since 2016, the couple has two children.
Need to Know: After 19 seasons, 21 race wins and one World Championship, Räikkönen, nicknamed "The Iceman," announced he will be retiring from the sport at the end of the 2021 season.

Here are some iconic highlights: He once responded "I was having a s--t" when asked why he missed one of his competitors being presented with an award, he enjoyed an ice cream when a 2009 race was temporarily suspended and he was napping just 30 minutes before the start of his F1 debut.

"I had fun and I did it my way, and I wouldn't change a single thing even if I could," he said of retiring.

In 2022, his seat will be filled by Guanya Zhou, making his F1 debut alongside the on-the-move veteran Bottas.

Nikita Mazepin

Driver For: Haas
Age: 21
Instagram Followers: 593,000
Relationship Status: Unknown 
Need to Know Facts: While Mazepin made his F1 debut on the grid in the 2021 season, Haas announced on March 5 that it was cutting ties with the Russian driver and team sponsor Uralkali because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions that have come as a result. The fertilizer company is partially owned by Dmitry Mazepin, Mazepin's father and a Russian oligarch, who reportedly invested $40 million into Haas.

Mazepin previously found himself at the center of a controversy last December when he posted a video to his Instagram which showed him touching a woman in the back of a car. Though it was deleted, the clip circulated on social media and leading Mazepin issued. Haas also released a statement after "#WeSayNoToMazepin" became a trending topic, condemning the video as "abhorrent."

Mazepin told ESPN in March of last year, "First of all it's very important to say that my actions in December about the whole incident were incorrect. I do take the full responsibility for it. It was a very big learning experience and I can confidently say that I'm much further in my knowledge on this kind of matter than I used to be, so there's a small bit of positivity there."

He also made headlines in 2016 when he received a one-race ban in Formula 3 after punching a fellow driver.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive season four is now streaming on Netflix.

(Originally published on Sept. 4, 2021 at 4 a.m. PT)

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