Verstappen, Mercedes on Laureus awards short-lists

Jon Wilde
Max Verstappen speaks, holding his World Championship trophy. France, December 2021.

Max Verstappen has been short-listed as a contender to repeat Lewis Hamilton’s previous success at the Laureus World Sports Awards.

Hamilton was the joint winner, along with football star Lionel Messi, of the Sportsman’s award in 2020 and also recognised with the Breakthrough honour in 2008 following his first Formula 1 World Championship title.

Last year, the Mercedes racer received the inaugural Laureus Athlete Advocate of the Year award to acknowledge the wider impact on society made by sportspeople.

Verstappen, of course, denied Hamilton a record-breaking eighth Formula 1 Drivers’ crown during a controversially-officiated finale at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in December.

The Dutchman has therefore made the short-list of six for the Sportsman of the Year award along with NFL legend Tom Brady, tennis star Novak Djokovic, five-time Olympic swimming gold medallist Caeleb Dressel, marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and football goal machine Robert Lewandowski.

But while Hamilton, in contrast to last year, has not made the individual short-list this time – he was beaten to the award in 2021 by Rafael Nadal – Mercedes are in the running for the Team of the Year having won an eighth consecutive Constructors’ Championship.

Their rivals for that award are three football teams – Argentina and Italy, respective winners of the Copa America and European Championship and women’s Champions League holders Barcelona – the Chinese Olympic diving team that won seven gold medals in Tokyo and the NBA champions, Milwaukee Bucks.

Another motorsport figure to have been nominated is MotoGP rider Marc Marquez, who is in contention for the Comeback of the Year award.

The 28-year-old Spaniard, a six-time MotoGP world champion, achieved his first race victory for 581 days at the German Grand Prix having recovered from a broken arm sustained at the start of the 2020 campaign.

Marquez’s rivals for that award are Simone Biles (gymnastics), Sky Brown (skateboarding), Mark Cavendish and Annemiek van Vleuten (both cycling) and Tom Daley (diving).

The nominees were finalised after a poll of 1,300 international sports journalists and the results will be announced in April following a vote by the 71 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy.


Formula 1 has fared particularly well since the Laureus awards were founded in 2000.

Besides Hamilton, Michael Schumacher (twice) and Sebastian Vettel have also been named Sportsman of the Year, with Renault and Brawn previous winners of the Team award.

In the Breakthrough category, Juan Pablo Montoya was the first F1 recipient, followed by Hamilton, Jenson Button, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Rosberg.


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Max, Mercedes on Laureus Awards short-lists

Max Verstappen and Mercedes are on the Laureus World Sports Awards short-lists.