Race Weekend Central

Is Max Verstappen the Best F1 Driver in History?

This article is posted in collaboration with an outside partnership client. The opinions and information contained within do not necessarily represent Frontstretch and its staff.

The 2023 Formula 1 season has been another glorious one for Max Verstappen and his Red Bull team. With a month of the season to go, he has already been crowned the World Drivers’ Champion again.

It marks his third championship win and he is on course for a glittering career. He was born to race, as his father is ex-Formula 1 driver Jos Verstappen, but he has surpassed all expectations.

Among the memorable victories from his career to date are the French Grand Prix two years ago that brought his first professional hat-trick and the Austrian win the same year that scored him a Grand Slam. People are now seriously talking about the 26-year-old as the greatest ever Formula 1 driver. 

Is that the truth or hyperbole though?

Astonishing Dominance

If we are to judge by the standings for the 2023 Drivers’ Championship, the case for Verstappen as the greatest ever looks unassailable. He has nearly twice as many points at this late stage of the season as his closest competitor.

When you consider that those rivals include seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez, it becomes clear that Verstappen is dominating a high quality crop of drivers. To excel to this extent in what is golden era for Formula 1 is all the more impressive.

This season has seen him shatter records left, right and center. Despite losing out on pole position to Hamilton for the Hungarian Grand Prix back in July, Verstappen still won the race comfortably and helped Red Bull set a new record for most successive wins by any one constructor.

As if that was not enough for one season, Verstappen then went on to set a new record for the most consecutive Grand Prix wins by a single driver. His early September win in the Italian Grand Prix marked 10 in succession; beating the record set by Sebastian Vettel a decade ago.

Not only is a Verstappen a favourite to win amongst fans, he’s also a favourite at most major online bookmakers that offer F1 race bets. As Verstappen becomes a reliable winner, more punters are choosing to back the driver in upcoming Grand Prix events. 

His record over the past three incredible championship seasons speaks for itself then; but is it enough to make him the best ever?

Formula 1 Record Comparison

Verstappen currently has a career total of 50 Grand Prix wins, from 181 that he has raced in. His points tally up to this point is an impressive 2477.5.

That puts him ahead of some good drivers, including Brit Jenson Button, who claimed a single Drivers’ Championship, 15 career wins and 1235 points before his retirement six years ago. In purely statistical terms, Verstappen is also better than such legends of the sport as Ayrton Senna, Jackie Stewart and Nicki Lauda, and he is just going into his peak racing years.

It is not quite as simple as that though. The racing stats can be useful in determining the best, but they do not tell the whole story. 

For one thing, the career of Formula 1 legend Senna was cut short by his tragic death. For another, the drivers of today are able to benefit from developments in car engineering technology that make the vehicles smoother, faster and easier to drive.

Furthermore, even with all that, Verstappen is still below former stars like Alain Prost (four championships), Sebastian Vettel (four), Michael Schumacher (seven) and Lewis Hamilton (seven).

Other Important Factors to Consider

It is not just the stats that have people talking about Verstappen as the Greatest of All Time though. There is also his extraordinary consistency that rarely sees him fail to get the most from the car or appear out of sorts during races.

His big losses are usually down to technical car issues that he can do nothing about. Then there is his natural racing gift.

That became apparent during his time as a go-karter, when he demonstrated unusual control and command at high speeds. He was so outstanding that Red Bull promoted him to Formula 1 at a very young age – a decision that has paid off in spades for both parties.

Is Verstappen the Best in History?

It is too early to put Verstappen ahead of someone like Michael Schumacher. The German won more Drivers’ Championships and also showed the same iron will and consistency during his career.

Verstappen is just getting started though and he has a long-term deal with Red Bull, so he will continue to drive the finest cars in the next few years. It is those upcoming seasons that will determine whether he really is the best ever.

Verstappen is a Formula 1 great already but still has to win more at the elite level to decisively prove himself the all-time greatest.

About the author

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alex Curtis

Can’t be answered as Sting Ray Robb has not been allowed a chance to race in F1. Sting Ray holds the distinction of surpassing Dale Jr. as the greatest racer of all time, if Sting Ray had chosen F1 Max would be back to racing go-karts…That is if you believe the “writers” at Racer.com


No! Jim Clark!


I’d like to see today’s drivers racing the cars that Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Jack Brabham and Dennis Hulme drove and the Auto Union. Google them!


Can we agree that those gents raced at the very peak of the existing automotive engineering, just like Max is doing now. Furthermore, your list is way out narrow, you omit Piquet, Senna, Villeneueve (dad), Stewart, Prost, Mansell AND JUAN MANUEL FANGIO!!! Best pole racer of all times and among the top fast lappers as well. Those lads had the minerals and shine when they wanted. I am not saying that good ol’ Jimmy was not good, he was indeed, but techonology and gut are not in compromise each other, hence technology can not be used as a parameter to measure consistency, strategy, nerve, character and sheer willing to win, of those lads or any driver at all.
Stats are useful for comparisson reasons, however when gut is neccesary I believe the kid has enough guts to go-hunt when is neccesary.
My two cents: whether we like it or not, he is in the path to become the best F1 driver ever if he is hungry enough to still be ruthless.

I might add that top drivers eventually match top teams, just like any other sport that involves money Top teams oftenly are better managed, hence leading to more victories. Pure Darwinism. Again, he is the path to become goat.


The GOAT in anything hasn’t been born yet. Every generation has the GOAT.


I don’t know if this is a golden era in terms of drivers, but it is most definitely an era of spending limits and lack of testing allowed for the teams. Basically the system is built right now in F1 for the best car to stay the best. Verstappen was gifted the best car by far, and all the rules are set up for that car to stay that way. It also should be noted that Red Bull violated the spending limits, despite already having the superior equipment on the grid.

Basically, it is unprecedented for any driver in history to have the advantages that Max Verstappen has. Maybe you’d have to go back to Juan-Manuel Fangio, I admittedly know very little about that era.


I haven’t followed F1 that close or that long, but it seems the same held true for Lewis Hamilton? He won everything for the period where Mercedes had the best equipment. Now that Verstappen has the best car, it’s like all of the sudden Hamilton forgot how to drive and is an also-ran? I doubt it. Hard to say who the best driver is in a series where equipment advantage is the main determining factor.


Disagree, Lewis is top hunter, he has not forgot how to win nor how to fight.
Max seems to be hungrier than Lewis, as he is more willing to fight for.
Now, is he guilty that Reb Bull is clever or sneakier?
How about the double diffuser of BrawnGP? or the ill-sophisticated Williams of Mansell? Patrese drove it too, however he was not even close to Senna when Senna was the hungriest lad of them all.
As I said tecnhology can’t be use as a parameter to determine how good a driver is, F1 means that technology is at it´s peak. But attitude, character, focus, resilence, passion… a turbo can not offset that, it is shortsighted to assume that tecnology can make better drivers.
When Lewis was competing in Formula Renault all lads were using the same hardware, and yet he was dominant because he knew how to win the thing.
Max, Lewis, Michael, Mansell, Prost, Senna, Sebastian, Alonso. They can’t be blamed or disregarded just because they moved to top teams that made them sometimes sweat less.
There’s a nice video of young Max (chubby!) complaining about a race, and then comes Charles Leclerc insisting that everything is just cool. That is the very essence of motor racing, Max is angry/hungry for victory since he was born I assume. Yet Charles if #1 driver for the best F1 team ever existed.

Share via