Verstappen has been nominated in the Sportsman of the Year category alongside the likes of NFL legend Tom Brady, swimmer Caeleb Dressel, footballer Robert Lewandowski, athletics star Eliud Kipchoge and controversial tennis champion Novak Djokovic.
The Red Bull driver won the 2021 F1 world championship after beating Lewis Hamilton across a thrilling campaign that went down to a controversial conclusion in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen ended a drought dating back to 2013 for Red Bull, while also becoming the Netherlands’ first F1 champion.
In recent years, seven-time world champion Hamilton has won three Laureus Awards – his last coming in 2021 when he was recognised for his social activism in the Athlete Advocate Award.
Reigning constructors’ F1 champions Mercedes have also been nominated in the Team of the Year Award.
Also representing motorsport at this year’s Laureus Awards is six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez, who is nominated in the Comeback of the Year category.
The Honda rider was ruled out of the entire COVID-shortened 2020 MotoGP season when he badly broke his right arm in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix.
Having undergone three operations and missing the opening two rounds of 2021, Marquez returned to racing in last year’s Portuguese GP.
Despite struggling for power in his still-recovering right shoulder, Marquez took a sensational comeback win at the German Grand Prix – using the anticlockwise nature of the Sachsenring to minimise the strain put on his right arm.
He would win twice more in 2021, at the US and Emilia Romagna GPs, tallying up Honda’s only victories of a difficult campaign.
Marquez ended the year as top Honda rider in seventh in the standings, some 42 points clear of the next-best HRC rider of factory team-mate Pol Espargaro.
The six-time world champion did miss the final two races due to a double vision problem caused by a concussion, but has been declared fit to return to action in this weekend’s first pre-season test in Malaysia ahead of the 2022 season.
Marquez is nominated in the Comeback of the Year category alongside gymnastics star Simone Biles, Olympic medal-winning skateboarder Sky Brown, cycling aces Mark Cavendish and Annemiek van Vleuten, and British diver Tom Daly.