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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?
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.
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