31 October 2022

How Max Verstappen compares to Formula One best as records continue to tumble

31 October 2022

Max Verstappen earned an unprecedented 14th race win in a Formula One season with Sunday’s victory in Mexico.

The 25-year-old Dutchman broke the record previously held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, albeit in a longer season.

He also set a new points record and here, the PA news agency looks at how he compares.

Out on his own

Schumacher won 13 races out of 18 in the 2004 season and Vettel 13 of 19 in 2013, with Verstappen matching the latter by winning the United States Grand Prix a week ago before moving out on his own on Sunday.

With Sao Paulo and Abu Dhabi still to come, he can still get up to 16 wins this season.

It is notable that he has achieved it with far fewer pole positions than either Vettel or Schumacher, who had nine and eight respectively while Verstappen’s in Mexico was only his sixth of the campaign.

As it stands, Verstappen has won 70 per cent of races this season, a mark that would rank equal-third all time with Jim Clark. Should he win both remaining races to make it 16 out of 22, that 72.7 per cent figure would lift him to second.

Alberto Ascari won six out of eight in 1952 for a record 75 per cent win rate, while Schumacher’s 13 out of 18 equates to 72.2. Clark had the only other 70 per cent season with seven wins out of 10 in 1963.

Season of dominance

Verstappen had already wrapped up the title ahead of going to America, with four races to spare.

Only Schumacher in 2002 and Nigel Mansell in 1992 had sealed the deal earlier, with Verstappen joining two more Schumacher campaigns and one from Vettel to share third place on that list.

His 416 points also marked a new record, with Lewis Hamilton the only man previously to top 400 with 408 in 2018 and 413 the following year.

The Dutchman is on course for only the fourth three-figure winning margin in F1, currently 136 clear of Red Bull team-mate and nearest challenger Sergio Perez.

The different scoring systems over time obviously play a part in that, with the previous three belonging to Vettel (155 points in 2013 and 122 in 2011) and Lewis Hamilton (124 points in 2020). Wins in both remaining races would see Vettel’s record come under threat.

A fairer comparison is the percentage lead and Verstappen is on record pace by that measure with 48.6 per cent more points than Perez.

Mansell, and Jacques Villeneuve five years later, won with 48.1 per cent more points than their nearest challengers. Schumacher, Jackie Stewart and Juan Manuel Fangio also exceeded a 40 per cent winning margin twice each.

Verstappen is only the 11th driver to win back-to-back titles and another win next season would make him only the fifth to win three in a row.

Schumacher holds the record of five straight titles, between 2000 and 2004, while Fangio, Vettel and Hamilton all won four in a row.

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