In September 2022, Max Verstappen received a unique Dutch recognition, that not many citizens get the honor of receiving in their lives. The Dutch Minister of Sport, Conny Helder, decorated Verstappen with the honor of becoming an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, which is similar to a British Knighthood, as reported by Car Buzz.
Much like Britain, the Netherlands is also a constitutional monarchy, which means they have a royal family that acts as the face of the state. Both British and Dutch monarchies share several similarities between titles.
The similarities arise because the Orange-Nassau was founded after the British system and borrowed from the original. Given the same, a comparison between the two ranks is fairly straightforward.
Lewis Hamilton is a Knight Bachelor with an MBE (Member of the British Empire), which ranks fifth in the British hierarchy. Meanwhile, an Officer ranks fourth in the Dutch order, meaning Verstappen is higher on the ladder. As such, not only does the Red Bull driver currently outrank his Mercedes counterpart on track, but he does so off the track, as well.
While it might not bother Hamilton as much, his fans would perhaps be slightly more sensitive towards the subject. Given the antics of the infamous AD21 incident and Hamilton’s subsequent failure to win a race in the last two seasons, ‘losing’ in the ranking war would only add to the fire already burning within the 7-time world champion’s fans’ hearts.
Max Verstappen desired the racing title more than the national one
Nearly a year before he earned the honorary title, Verstappen sat down with Marca to discuss his ambitions for the future while also addressing the fact that Hamilton had earned the title of ‘Sir’ in his home country.
For the Dutchman, it was more important to become a world champion in F1 before any other title came his way. “My dream has always been to win the world championship once. Everything that comes now is an added bonus.”
He added that he couldn’t become a ‘Sir’ in the Netherlands as there was no such title in his country. However, the now three-time world champion claimed it wasn’t something he desired either. Being a racing driver was enough for him, and becoming a world champion in F1 was more than enough.
Since these statements, Verstappen went on to win two more world championships and register what was perhaps the most dominant season in the history of F1. In the meanwhile, he also became an Officer in the Orange-Nassau, earning him a title both on and off the track.