The Most Dominant F1 Season Ever

Originally a video script for WTF1 in November 2023, Dre breaks down all the records Max Verstappen broke in 2023.

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Read time: 4 mins

It’s been nothing short of a ridiculous season for Max Verstappen in 2023. The now three-time World Champion has dominated from start to finish and has put together the greatest statistical season in modern F1 history. But just how dominant has this been and what records have the Dutchman broken throughout the season?

First up, let’s talk about the most obvious stat of them all, winning. Max Verstappen extended his record for wins in a season with 19 races won, with Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia and Baku, and Carlos Sainz in Singapore the only other names to trouble the scoresheet. It breaks Max’s 2022 record of 15 wins that season, and if you’re looking for the greatest non-Max seasons, you’ll have to look back at the Germans of Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, who both won 13 races each in 2004 and 2013 respectively.

Some fans like to use win percentage as a more accurate measure of dominance, and Max has that record beaten too. It was a record set by Alberto Ascari back in 1952, just the third ever season we called F1, F1. Ascari won six out of the eight races that season, good for a 75% win percentage. With Max winning 19 out of the season’s 22 races, his single-season win percentage was a whopping 86.4%, far surpassing anything F1 has ever seen over a year.

There was also much fanfare during the 2023 Italian Grand Prix. He had to work for it a bit, but Max eventually came through to win his 10th race in a row, breaking Sebastian Vettel’s famous “We have to remember these days” win streak of nine that he set in 2013. It meant that Max went almost four straight months from Miami in May to Monza in September undefeated. 

Max also became the first driver to win three races in the same country in a single season after taking all three wins in the United States, and the most wins from pole position, with 12. We can also extend that record to hat-tricks, where a driver gets pole on Saturday, then wins and sets the fastest lap on Sunday. Max has had five of those in 2023 (Spain, Austria, the UK, Japan and Qatar and Abu Dhabi), matching the record of Ascari in 1952 and Schumacher in 2004.

There’s even a peculiar record that you may not have noticed. During the chaos of Max’s home race in Zandvoort in 2023, the Dutchman matched a feat only done once before in the sport. Max won with the equal most pitstops in a race ever, with six, despite it not being as dramatic as the other time this happened!

The previous record was held by Jenson Button and his famous win at the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. In a four-hour marathon race interrupted by torrential rain, Jenson had to change tyres multiple times during the race, as well as repair damage after a collision with teammate Lewis Hamilton and a drive-through penalty for speeding behind the Safety Car. Despite six runs through the pits, Jenson mounted a furious comeback with slick tyres on a drying track, forcing Sebastian Vettel into a final lap mistake to win the race. 

Now, here are some more records Max has broken in 2023. Next up, podium finishes in a season. Max had already set the record back in 2021 with 18, but has since extended it out to 21, finishing every race but Singapore on the podium, almost matching Michael Schumacher’s 2002 season, where he was on the podium for every race of the entire season!

Of course in F1, points mean prizes! We know point totals have ballooned since 2010 when the sport introduced the 25-18-15 system, the calendar expanding to over 22 races, and the Sprint has added a potential 48 more to the tally, but Max has still destroyed his own record for most points in a season. 

With 549 points after Las Vegas, he’s comfortably ahead of his 2022 tally of 454. The best non-Max season was Lewis Hamilton’s 413 during the 2019 season. It’s so many points that Verstappen would have theoretically cliched the Constructor’s Championship on his own, two rounds early in Brazil! 

Another indication of dominance has been laps leading, a very familiar sight for Verstappen in 2023. Through Las Vegas, Max has led a whopping 951 laps, over 70% of all the racing laps across the season, beating Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 record of 739. 

And nothing screams dominance like seeing that Drivers Championship table. Max has thoroughly outclassed his teammate Sergio Perez, who despite being in the same machinery, only just clinched second in the Championship after Las Vegas. But after that weekend, the difference between them was 276 points, a record-high figure! In fact, Max’s point lead was greater than Perez’s total for the season at 273! And far greater than the previous high of Vettel’s winning margin over Fernando Alonso in 2013, which stood at 155. 

This goes hand-in-hand with another record Max set back in Qatar when he won his third World Championship. Max won the title after finishing second in the Sprint Race, and because he won it before the Grand Prix, he matched Schumacher’s record for winning the Championship with the most races still to run. Both men won their titles with six Grand Prix left in the season, with Schumacher doing so in 2002 when he won in Magny-Cours to take the title after just 11 out of the season’s 17 races.

Here’s one more for you. Max has led the Drivers Championship for 39 consecutive races. Max started that streak back at the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix, when an engine failure led to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc failing to finish, a race Verstappen would go on to win. Max has failed to be knocked off the top spot ever since, even after the scoreboard reset to start 2023!

What’s been Max’s most impressive record you think he’s broken? Let us know what you think in the comments, and if you liked the video, be sure to Subscribe!

About the Author:

Dre Harrison

Somehow can now call himself a Production Coordinator at the Motorsport Network, coming off the back of being part of the awkward Johto Era at WTF1. All off a University Project that went massively out of hand. Weird huh?

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