Every Record Broken By Max Verstappen In The 2023 F1 Season

Formula One / Comments

Verstappen and Red Bull proved that being the best is boring for everyone else. But what a season they had.

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Many have billed the 2023 Formula 1 season as the most boring in the sport's history. Those who don't side with that belief have called it the most dominant ever, with Max Verstappen taking 19 wins of 22 and Red Bull claiming all but one victory - a feat only ever managed by McLaren prior to this in 1988.

Before the lights went out, it was a foregone conclusion Verstappen would win, and while the racing behind the leader was actually quite something to behold, some fans became disenchanted with a sport where the winner was inevitable. But here's a thought - we need to appreciate the season we just went through. We have watched a level of greatness never to be repeated again by any team or driver.

But before we get to all the records broken, there are a few points to discuss. If you want the TL;DR version and just want to see the records, head to the bottom of this article.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Excellence Is Boring

Throughout F1 history, periods of dominance have been undermined by fans of whoever isn't winning as dull. We saw it during Michael Schumacher's dominant Ferrari years and again when Vettel and Red Bull disrupted the status quo.

And do I need to remind you how dull every Mercedes-dominated season was in the turbo-hybrid era? With the exception of Rosberg's 2016 season providing some fun, largely because of the lack of reliability of Hamilton's car, those seasons were best described as processional.

And even in 2016, it was a two-horse race, with Hamilton and Rosberg winning all but two races that season. The others? Well, one was the first F1 win for a teenager named Max Verstappen, and the other was his extremely likable Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo.

The point is that when there isn't a three- or four-way battle for the title with the podium changing every other race, we get bored, and we tend to let that detract from the fact that we are witnessing brilliance.


The Best Drivers Find The Best Cars

Schumacher, Vettel, Hamilton, and Verstappen are four of the greatest drivers Formula 1 has ever seen. The fact that we've witnessed all four of them in a span of 30 years is nothing short of incredible. Would any of these drivers have won their seven, four, seven, and three Drivers' Championships, respectively, had they been in a second- or third-tier car, though? Probably not.

Just like any sport, the best athletes tend to find themselves on the strongest teams with the biggest budgets. Do you know who else finds themselves on these teams? The best engineers, aerodynamicists, strategists, and car designers in the business.

But what each of these drivers has been able to do is drive a lesser car beyond its limits, achieving higher placings in cars that don't really deserve to end up there. This talent ultimately lands them in the seats on the better teams.

Success breeds success.

With the exception of great drivers who join Ferrari for the romance associated with F1's oldest and most successful team - often with disappointing results - good drivers end up in good cars, and periods of dominance naturally follow.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool Ferrari Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull x Max Verstappen: A Match Made In Heaven

There can be no denying that the Red Bull RB19 is one of the greatest cars in F1 history. It's a piece of engineering and aerodynamic artwork that may be one of Adrian Newey's most remarkable designs - quite some achievement given his illustrious career. But in the hands of an average driver (Sergio Perez), the RB19 could only secure second in the championship with one race to spare. A less-than-competitive Mercedes with Hamilton at the wheel was able to be a genuine challenger.

Max Verstappen's influence can't be ignored. His ability to take a car that has struggled in Free Practice, slap it on pole in qualifying, and then dominate a race with enough in reserve to steal the fastest lap on a whim, all while his teammate squabbles with the mid-fielders is proof that a good car is nothing without a great driver.

And it's not that the car is easy to drive, either. Perez has often complained bitterly about how difficult the RB19 is to drive. But Max has often chosen a trickier setup, knowing that it will be a winning car if he can manage its spikiness.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix proved as much when Max opted for a low-downforce setup compared to Perez, compromising handling through the twisty middle sector. This made the car more difficult to handle, and Max had to rely on his car control at the limit so he'd benefit from straight-line speed down the Vegas Strip. Perez clearly didn't have the confidence in his ability to control the car at its limit the way Max did, and the result was P3 in a race he could've won.

Max has an unnatural ability to feel what a car is doing beneath him. He can get into a car and extract 110% within a few laps while others are still feeling out the limits. And don't just listen to me on this.

It's what's been said by Franz Tost, who was his team boss at Torro Rosso when he raced against a more experienced Carlos Sainz, Dr. Helmut Marko, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1971, Eddie Jordan, who had a knack for spotting talent (like Schumacher), ex-F1 driver David Coulthard, and about a dozen other pundits and former drivers who can see that Max is on another level.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Are there other drivers on the grid of his caliber? Perhaps.

In equal machinery, I have no doubt Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, Lewis Hamilton, and Fernando Alonso would've put up a much better fight than Perez did. But they aren't in a Red Bull, and their teams have not provided them with competitive tools to battle with. F1 is a team sport as much as it is a driver's sport, and you can't begrudge Verstappen for being in a good car when his talent earned him that right.

This is a man who spends all his free time in the simulator. Even after his championship was long since wrapped up and in the bag, he spent hours in the sim ahead of the Las Vegas GP. When asked by Martin Brundle why he was spending so much time in the sim, he answered that his team was giving him the best tool to race with, and it would be a slap in the face to every team member if he weren't as prepared as possible.

That's a winner's mentality.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool McLaren McLaren

F1 Records Broken By Max Verstappen In 2023

So, with all of this piece's 'opinion' part out of the way, let's look at the records set by Verstappen and Red Bull during the 2023 season.

Max Verstappen Records:

  1. Highest number of race wins in a season (19)
  2. Won 86.4% of all races, breaking a 71-year-old record previously held by Alberto Ascari
  3. Became the first driver to lead over 1,000 laps in an F1 season (led 1,003)
  4. Led 75.7% of all laps in a season, breaking a 60-year-old record previously held by Jim Clark (71.5%)
  5. Most points scored in a season (575) at 92.7% of all available points
  6. Most consecutive race wins in a season (10), breaking Sebastian Vettel's 2013 record of 9 wins
  7. Most podium finishes in a season (21)
  8. Most consecutive points scored in F1 (1,004 and counting), beating Hamilton's record of 998
  9. Most wins from pole position in a season (12), beating the previous record of 9 held by Sebastian Vettel (2011) and Nigel Mansell (1992)
  10. Most hat tricks in a season (pole position, win, and fastest lap) with 6
  11. Equaled the most pit stops by a winning driver in a single race (6 at Zandvoort), tied with Jenson Button (2011 Canadian Grand Prix)
  12. Most race wins for Red Bull Racing (54), now sits third on the all-time win list behind only Schumacher and Hamilton
  13. He equaled Fernando Alonso for most wins from different grid slots in his career (9)
  14. Biggest championship gap to P2 (290 points)
  15. Highest percentage points difference between P1 and P2 in a championship (50.43%)
  16. Most consecutive races as championship leader (39, starting in Spain 2022)
  17. Equaled securing the championship with the most races remaining (6), tying Michael Schumacher (2002)
  18. The longest streak of converting poles into wins (16), from the 2022 Dutch Grand Prix to the present and counting
  19. The only driver to finish every race in the 2023 season
Red Bull

F1 Records Broken By Red Bull Racing In 2023

Adrian Newey's masterpiece that is the RB19 became the most dominant car the sport has ever seen, beating the McLaren MP4/4 of 1988 - a car designed (in part at least, with much contention over who designed it) by Gordon Murray, the man behind the McLaren F1 and the GMA T.50.

Red Bull Records:

  1. Most championship points in a season (860), beating the previous record of 765 held by Mercedes since 2016
  2. Most wins in a season (21)
  3. The first team to win 20 races in a season
  4. Highest percentage of race wins in a season (95.5%)
  5. Most consecutive wins by a team (15) from Abu Dhabi 2022 to Italy 2023
Red Bull Content Pool Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

I said it at the outset, and I'll say it again: excellence is boring. But the 2023 F1 season has shown us exciting racing, with Aston Martin and McLaren re-establishing themselves as strong players, Williams finding its feet, and Oscar Piastri giving us the best rookie season since Lewis Hamilton.

Even if you couldn't care for what happened off the podium, 2023 has been a year of history in the making. We have witnessed excellence and should consider ourselves privileged to have seen it all unfold.

Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

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