Seven-time world champions Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher might be about to each lose a sterling Formula One record to the dominant Max Verstappen this season. Verstappen has one hand on the 2022 championship after winning the Belgian Grand Prix and is poised to claim a second consecutive world title having ousted Hamilton in Abu Dhabi last year.
The Dutchman’s victory at Spa, where he finished 18 seconds clear of second-placed Sergio Perez despite starting 14th due to engine penalties, significantly extends his commanding Drivers’ Championship lead. He is now 93 points ahead of team-mate Perez, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc – who ended sixth due to a five-second penalty – 98 behind Verstappen.
Verstappen claimed his ninth win from 14 races this season and became the first driver to win back-to-back races in Belgium since Kimi Raikkonen in 2005. And he may now be about to strip Hamilton, Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel of some superlative F1 records this year.
Ferrari icon Schumacher and Vettel jointly hold the record for the most race wins in a single season. Schumacher won 13 of 18 events in 2004 while Vettel copied the feat for Red Bull in 2013 which included a run of nine consecutive victories.
Verstappen still has another nine races this year, including his home race the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort next up, and needs to only win four to match the duo. If he manages five victories, as many will back him to, he would become the new record holder for most wins in an F1 season.
After Belgium, Verstappen stands on 284 points. Were he to win five more races, that tally – even without bonus fastest lap points – would climb to 409 points. He would then be just four shy of Lewis Hamilton’s record haul in 2019.
He could yet obliterate that record. He can claim a maximum of 234 points, which he would collect with nine victories and nine fastest laps. That is improbable but not impossible given his blistering form this season.
No one has ever claimed more points in a single season than Hamilton three years go, when the Mercedes man racked up 413 courtesy of 11 wins from 21 races. He finished on the podium in six of the other 10 races.
Verstappen is highly fancied to surpass the Briton with his current momentum, and in doing so, he might also rob four-time title-winner Vettel of a superb record. The German finished a record 155 points clear of Fernando Alonso in 2013, when he won his fourth and final championship.
As mentioned, Red Bull driver Verstappen currently holds a 93-point lead to his nearest rival, Perez, in the driver’s standings and has nine races yet to extend that. His Mexican team-mate came second in Spa but has only finished ahead of Verstappen twice this season when both have reached the chequered flag.
The first was in Monaco, where Perez won and the world champion ended third. Secondly at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Perez finished second to Verstappen’s seventh though the latter sustained floor damage from debris on the track which hampered his race.