The 2022 season was a record-setting yr to recollect for Components 1 driver Max Verstappen.
However he has been even higher in 2023.
After securing his first Drivers’ Championship on the ultimate lap of the 2021 marketing campaign, Verstappen left little doubt in 2022. He locked up his second-straight title on the Japanese Grand Prix, with 4 races remaining on the docket. He set a brand new F1 report with 15 wins on the yr, surpassing the mark of 13 set by each Sebastian Vettel in 2013 and Michael Schumacher in 2004. Verstappen’s 15 wins accounted for 68% of the victories that season, a mark which positioned him fifth on the all-time proportion listing for a single season. His margin of victory over Charles Leclerc within the Drivers’ Championship — 146 factors — ranked second all-time, behind solely Vettel’s 155-point win over Fernando Alonso throughout that 2013 season.
However once more, he has been even higher in 2023.
Verstappen rewrote the F1 report ebook this season, thanks partially to a dominant stretch that noticed him win ten-straight races, setting a brand new F1 report by topping the nine-straight victories recorded by Vettel in 2013. He locked up his third-straight Drivers’ Championship within the F1 Dash race on the Qatar Grand Prix, that means he was a champion with six grands prix remaining on the schedule. Together with his win on the São Paulo Grand Prix, he recorded his seventeenth victory of the season, surpassing his personal report from a yr in the past. With two races left, his margin over teammate Sergio Pérez within the Drivers’ standings is a whopping 266 factors, placing him properly on tempo for the most important margin of victory in an F1 season.
The truth is, Verstappen’s 524 factors on the yr — forward of his complete from final yr with three race weekends left — are greater than each different crew on the grid. That’s proper, Verstappen might theoretically have locked up Crimson Bull’s second-straight Constructors’ title on his personal. One thing the driver himself admitted was doable forward of the British Grand Prix.
Together with his win in Brazil, Verstappen set one other F1 report, breaking a mark that has stood for over 70 years. That victory gave Verstappen a win in 17 of the 20 grands prix this yr, a profitable proportion of 85%. Even when he fails to win both of the ultimate two races — the Las Vegas Grand Prix or the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix — he can have gained 77% of the grands prix this yr.
That breaks the 75% mark set by Italian driver Alberto Ascari again in 1952, when he gained six of the eight races that yr.
Past the success this season, Verstappen’s dominance has set Crimson Bull up for a fair stronger 2024. Whereas Staff Principal Christian Horner believes the fee cap restrictions will play a fair greater function in tightening the sphere subsequent yr, Verstappen’s record-setting season has allowed the crew to begin specializing in their challenger for subsequent yr, placing Crimson Bull in an ideal place to increase their dominance into 2024.
After all, there shall be detractors. There at all times are. Many will level to simply how dominant the RB19, Crimson Bull’s challenger for the 2023 marketing campaign, has been. It was clear throughout pre-season testing in Bahrain that the RB19 was going to be the game’s dominant drive this season, and it helped energy to the entrance of the sphere.
However there have additionally been moments the place you see Verstappen’s brilliance shine by way of, and his capability to place that RB19 anyplace he needs, as if the automotive is just an extension of his physique, quicker than anybody within the discipline. A main instance comes from qualifying forward of this yr’s Monaco Grand Prix, a race the place qualifying actually is all the pieces. Needing a lap on the dying to place the RB19 on pole place, Verstappen delivered, with a ultimate sector for the ages.
There are others, akin to his unimaginable drive on the Miami Grand Prix, the place he began ninth however victory feeled inevitable as he charged by way of the sphere. Or a dominant efficiency throughout qualifying forward of the Japanese Grand Prix that was troublesome to place into phrases, though Horner and others made their finest makes an attempt:
“I feel what now we have witnessed at the moment is one thing very particular. That final lap, simply take a look at Flip 5. That first sector was completely mighty,” Horner advised Sky Sports activities F1 on the time. “That first run appeared adequate to get the job performed however then he went faster once more. All his laps have been gorgeous at the moment. A fully mind-blowing efficiency.”
“I’m nonetheless breathless watching that. I feel that was one of many nice qualifying laps in F1 historical past,” mentioned former driver and present Sky Sports activities F1 analyst Karun Chandhok.
“There’s not a lot left on the desk. The element with which he drove – pinching little bits on the entry into Spoon Curve, 130R not utilizing all of the width. He considered each metre and for me that’s a driver who’s forward of the automotive,” added Chandhok.
“Christian was saying that’s one of many particular laps and he’s proper. In the event that they didn’t have Max within the automotive, they might be second on the grid.”
What now we have seen this season from Verstappen — and but should see down the stretch — has actually modified the sport in F1. Throughout a season the place the game proceed to see progress worldwide, and pushed even deeper into the American market with a report three races in the USA, together with the upcoming inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, Verstappen has raised his recreation much more.
By delivering a season for the ages, and one which shall be talked about for years to come back, if not longer.