Verstappen achieves most dominant title win since Vettel in 2013

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix stats and facts

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Max Verstappen signed off his dominant 2022 season campaign with his record-breaking 15th win from the 22 grands prix.

Having equalled Vettel’s all-time record for most wins in a season with his 13th victory in the United States Grand Prix last month, Verstappen increased that with two more victories over the remaining races.

Had he swept all three, Verstappen would have beaten Vettel’s achievement of winning 68.4% of the grands prix held. He did take the most dominant title win since Vettel’s 2013 triumph, however.

Both are short of the record set by Alberto Ascari, however, who won six of the eight points-scoring races in 1952, giving him a win rate of 75%. To hit that next year a driver would have to win 18 of the 24 races.

Alberto Ascari, Ferrari, Nurburgring Nordschelife, 1952
Ascari heading to another of his wins in 1952
Verstappen took pole position and won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the third year in a row. No driver has previously managed either feat, despite Mercedes taking six poles and wins in a row at this track between 2014 and 2019.

This was 35th win of Verstappen’s career and his 20th pole position. The latter puts him level with Damon Hill and Valtteri Bottas.

Before the final race began Verstappen had already broken the record for most points scored in a single season. His final triumph ensured he smashed the previous record of 413, set by Lewis Hamilton in 2019, increasing it to 454:

*Did not win championship

However Hamilton set the record over a season of 21 grands prix compared to this year’s 22. In breaking this record Verstappen also had the advantage of three sprint races, from which he scored 21 points out of a potential 24.

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Hungaroring, 2021
Vettel was disqualified after final appearance on podium last year
Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari, securing his best-ever finish of second in the points standings. That also denied Red Bull a one-two in the drivers championship, something they have never previously achieved.

Mercedes drivers finished first and second in the championship from 2014-16 and 2019-20. The only non-Mercedes driver to appear in the top two during that period, Sebastian Vettel, retired from F1 after his 299th grand prix start on Sunday.

For the first time in his career, Vettel went a full season without standing on the podium. The final podium appearance of his career, at the Hungaroring last year, was taken away from him after his car was disqualified for a technical infringement. His last true podium finish was therefore his second place in last year’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

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Second for Leclerc was the ninth appearance on the podium for a Ferrari driver at this race. However the team is yet to score a victory at Yas Marina, which joined the F1 calendar in 2009.

George Russell, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2022 post-season test
Russell matched Rosberg and Button by beating Hamilton
The top five drivers in the championship all achieved or equalled their best finishing positions. Behind champion Verstappen and Leclerc came third-placed Sergio Perez, who went one better than his previous best of fourth, achieved with Racing Point in 2020 and again with Red Bull last year.

Carlos Sainz Jnr repeated his personal best of fifth place from last year. In his first season with Mercedes, George Russell leapt from a previous best of 15th in the points last year to fourth.

That meant he ended the seasonahead of Hamilton in the championship, 275 points to 240. He is the third of Hamilton’s team mates to out-score him over a season. Nico Rosberg did so when he won the 2016 title, 385-380, and Jenson Button did by 270-227 in 2011 – a season Hamilton called even worse than this one.

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It wasn’t a year to remember for Hamilton. For the first time in his Formula 1 career he neither won a race nor started from pole position. He did pick up two fastest laps, at Silverstone and the Hungaroring, lifting his career total to 61, 16 fewer than record-holder Michael Schumacher.

Adelaide held its last F1 finale in 1995
The fastest lap in Sunday’s race was taken by McLaren’s Lando Norris. It was the fifth of his career, giving him as many as Russell, as well as Giuseppe Farina, Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, Didier Pironi, John Watson and Michele Alboreto.

Abu Dhabi held the season finale for the 11th time, equalling the record held by Australia, which was the venue of the last race every year from 1985 to 1995. The Yas Marina circuit is also due to hold the last race on the 2023 F1 calendar.

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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42 comments on “Verstappen achieves most dominant title win since Vettel in 2013”

  1. Most surprising fact I came across, was this is the first season since 1991 that neither Schumacher or Hamilton has won a race. And the first season of racing for Hamilton without a win since 2001

    1. That’s an incredible stat – a 30 year run where between two drivers, they won at least 1 race every single season.

    2. Wow, thanks for this, it’s a mind-blowing stat, especially for someone who started following F1 in 1992.

  2. Russell continues the tradition of Hamilton’s teammates winning a race and taking pole during their time together, though this did not happen every season, which I’ve seen mentioned as a dig at Hamilton; but his teammates didn’t win in 2009 and 2018, and didn’t take pole in 2009, and, perhaps more surprisingly, not in 2010 and 2011 either.

  3. RBR’s 25th front row lock-out but only their 2nd in the hybrid era, although still not the 1st RBR 1-2 in the final WDC standings.

    Ricciardo, AM, & Williams drivers are the only ones who ultimately completed the season without exceeding a single PU component allocation.

    Alonso retired in both his 1st & last race under the Alpine identity.

    Norris’ 2nd 2022 FLAP meant finished the season as joint-4th in FLAPs with Sainz & Hamilton.
    Six other drivers also took at least one FLAP each:
    VER: 5
    RUS: 4
    LEC & PER: 3
    ZHO: 1

    Furthermore, Norris is the only driver outside the top-3 teams who finished a race in the top 3.

    Here are some lesser-known records for Max alongside the already-mentioned/easiest ones:
    https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/the-f1-records-verstappen-and-red-bull-broke-in-2022/10403497/
    I chose this way because easier than typing everything separately.

  4. So the most points in a season, i’m very impressed with Hamilton’s 2018 because he didn’t even have the clear fastest car. Ferrari and Merc were very much evenly matched (debatable which car had the edge) and he had worse reliability than Vettel (his main rival) There were no sprint races, not fastest lap points.

    1. Indeed, I also think the ferrari 2018 was every bit a match for the mercedes, which would make it the strongest car mercedes had to face in their era (2014-2021), I consider the 2021 red bull marginally worse, however vettel was so terrible in 2018 with his constant mistakes that he eventually didn’t even make it hard for hamilton.

    2. One could argue the same for (the first half of) 2022

      Reply moderated
  5. I still have to pinch myself to believe Leclerc only won a single race after that dominant win in Australia.

    Red Bull would’ve got it in the bag anyway but Ferrari was so incompetent this year they have no reason at all to be satisfied with being 2nd best. This should hit them harder than being nowhere in 20 and 21 as everything they’re lacking became crystal clear when racing Red Bull.

    1. Bizarre isn’t it. I walked away from that race thinking we were headed for a repeat of last year but with Leclerc rather than Hamilton challenging Max. I certainly wouldn’t have bet on it being a runaway championship!

      1. Me neither and that’s a shame, it was looking like a very interesting title fight in the first few races, with leclerc and verstappen overtaking each other multiple times.

        1. Very true. Scarier to think if RBR had run a empty tank run in testing to spot the fuel vaporisation like every other team and a 50p washer hadnt gone pop in australia Max would have won the championship in Italy with 6 races to go. and finished all but 2 races on the podium Including sprint races. I think those little errors & Leclercs incredible 1 lap ability may have led to that false title battle feeling.

  6. Ricciardo, AM, & Williams drivers are the only ones who ultimately completed the season without exceeding a single PU component allocation.

    I added that stat someplace else the other day. It should be good news for Alonso.

    I don’t actually know if he could of been another but know at the time Lewis had to take an engine penalty due to damage when he went airborne striking Alonso. The team didn’t have time to fully check out the engine so fitted a new one.

  7. Abu Dhabi held the season finale for the 11th time, equalling the record held by Australia, which was the venue of the last race every year from 1985 to 1995.

    Two polar opposites. We used to finish the season at a superb track with a superb atmosphere in a great city and now it’s this turd of a track that’s been just slightly polished last year.

    1. Indeed, that’s a shame, I really liked adelaide.

    2. Was already gone when I started watching but I by far prefer it to melbourne, and abu dhabi is really an uninspiring final track.

  8. Great shot of Ascari.

  9. Hamilton did break a record this year: he is the first driver ever to lead a Grand Prix in 16 consecutive years. Schumacher held the record previously, with 15 years between 1992 and 2006 (years in which he, unlike Hamilton, also won a race). Vettel – who has the third best score – ended his run in 2020, meaning he is stuck at 13. Curiously, Vettel did lead a race in both 2021 and 2022 driving for Aston Martin – meaning he might have led a race in every year he was in F1. But alas, he did not.

  10. I’ve got to say one of the Norris fastest lap stat is impressive. In Abu Dhabi he basically had no chance of beating the top 3 cars but had a comfortable 7th so he went all out for fastest lap (4 tenths faster than anyone else) after his pitstop ruining his tyres and hung on for the rest of the race, maximising his points. It’s definitely not his fault that McLaren failed to finish 4 this year.

    1. Yes, that was kinda fun to see, with perez chasing leclerc with an aggressive strategy but not managing to even get the fastest lap from norris, who didn’t even have an A tier car; had verstappen let him past in brazil and had he got the fastest lap here, he’d have been even in points with leclerc, but would’ve still been behind because of having less wins.

  11. With Bottas also failing to score a pole position (for the first time since 2016) in 2022, the longest unbroken streak of pole years is Verstappen with at least 1 pole every year since 2019.

    Verstappen holds the longest unbroken streak of victory years with at least 1 win every year since 2016.

    Red Bull’s first front-row lockout since Mexico 2018 (which was itself their first since USA 2013).

    First time Hamilton has started outside the top 4 in Abu Dhabi.

    Despite scoring more wins, Verstappen has managed fewer podiums in 2022 than in 2021.

    Verstappen scored his 2000th F1 point.

    Alonso has scored 81 points in both 2021 and 2022.

    5th time this year that Vettel has started 9th without starting higher.

    No driver managed exactly 1 fastest lap point in 2022.

    Mercedes’ first mechanical DNF of 2022 (albeit still classified) means that all teams managed at least 1 mechanical and at least 1 non-mechanical DNF in 2022.

    First time Verstappen has won 3 consecutive GP at the same circuit.

    Russell managed 19 top 5 finishes from 22 races in 2022, of which only 2 were top 2 finishes.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the official F1 site for some of these.

    1. Shame for hamilton’s issue, because I was thinking that as well, mercedes were close to having perfect reliability this year, 24 races, no issue, it breaks down the last 5% of the last race, as in give or take the last 0,2% of the championship duration!

      Also verstappen lost a chance to do even better with that consecutive-wins record at the same track: he dominated mexico 2017 after vettel and hamilton had to pit for damage, dominated mexico 2018, he was the fastest in mexico 2019 but threw away the win due to a yellow flag infringiment in quali that cost him pole and made the race a lot harder, hadn’t been for that, he could’ve established this record a year earlier, but then in 2020 the merc was too dominant, and then went back to win there in 2021 and 2022, already 4 wins and could’ve been 5.

    2. 3 years earlier*, I meant.

  12. this should put to rest one debate:
    you need a rocketship of a car to have a season as dominant as RBR have had this year(and merc before them)

    Then you need a driver who can drive it like it is. which is what MV and LH did.

    hence proved. no car, no championship.

    1. It actually proves just how good Max is compared with Ham.

      The Merc was indeed a rocketship allowing average Bottas to usually outqualify and beat most of the field every race. However the better Perez has struggled doing the same, certainly he would have probably failed to the win a championship for Redbull if he was the lead driver.

      1. Disagree on that one. It actually shows that when a driver in a superior car has no challenge from their team mate, its a walk in the park. That’s the main reason why Max’s season was so dominant.

        Both Rosberg and Bottas provided much stiffer challenges for Lewis than Perez has for Max. Whilst Bottas was weaker than Rosberg, he was still an excellent qualifier and was typically much higher up the grid than Perez has been this season, meaning he had the ability to score a lot more points and take points off Lewis more regularly.

        Bottas > Perez by some distance in qualifying IMO. His race pace was a bit more mixed, but on the tracks he liked, such as Austria and Russia, he was very difficult for Lewis to beat if he qualified ahead. So he would claim some race victories, despite eventually ending up a good chunk of points behind Lewis in the standings.

        Whilst Max would also have demolished the likes of Bottas over a season, I suspect he would have taken a lot more points off Max than Perez has done. Don’t forget how evenly matched Max and Lewis were during 2021 either.

      2. Perception on pointy cars, 4 drivers Ham, Ver, Alo and Ric. These drivers prefer pointy cars however Hamilton switched to benign setup, as I understand it. The choice of more benign versus pointy car characteristics was made for speed and setup evolution. Having 2 drivers working on setup benefits.

        However having your teammates on a car that works for them makes them appear more close. This is evident in how Ric and Ver the where the closest Redbull pair with Ver.

        That said Ham never had a contracted wingman. which in my book puts him as the best ever.

      3. @superman

        This Perez argument is beyond terrible.
        Ricciardo in 2017 scored more points in less races, with more retirements, and with a much, much less competitive car than Perez in 2021.

        That’s how out of place Perez was/is in that team. To use him to measure the quality of those cars is laughable.

        Every new generation of drivers a new generation of fans swear they’re witnessing the best ever. 10 years ago with Vettel was the same thing.

      4. he won the WDC with 4 races to spare… you have to be blind not to see that he had one hell of a car. not taking anything away from max, but a sane mind would admit how good the car is

  13. Verstappen took pole position and won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the third year in a row.

    That isn’t actually correct, even Christian Horner has (eventually) stated that “Masi made a mistake” or are people still trying to airbrush that from history?
    The asterisk still exists.

    1. I am afraid that you don’t use the word ‘actually’ in a correct way. The history shows that it was actually Verstappen that won the Abu Dhabi GP last year, asterisk or no asterisk.

      1. @matthijs
        Acceptance of a gift of dubious provenance is not the same as winning a competition.

    2. Actually it was an obelisk

      Reply moderated
  14. So Max holds 20 pole positions just like Bottas. That Bottas must be a hell of a driver. Or would there maybe be other reasons that he is on par with Max considering pole positions??

    1. I don’t think Verstappen will ever be considered the best qualifier of all time.

    2. Maybe because Bottas is 2 years longer in F1 and drove for MB the last 5 years. So wait 2 years and make a new comparison.

    3. So Max holds 20 pole positions just like Bottas. That Bottas must be a hell of a driver. Or would there maybe be other reasons that he is on par with Max considering pole positions??

      Yup. In an extremely good car they can both be almost as good as Bottas’s last teammate.
      Note that, when the car performance was about equal, Verstappen couldn’t keep up with Bottas’s replacement, or said teammate.

  15. Max simply had the kind of domination this season that Lewis would have had during his Merc domination stint if he’d have had no challenge from a teammate. Perez was too far off the pace to make a fight of it for 95% of the season.

    Seb had a stronger challenger in Webber than Perez has been as well. It’s easy for people to start over-rating Max because of how little a challenge he had. And I say that as someone who believes Max is one of the best of all time, but he’s not on another level to other greats as perhaps some seem to think.

    1. I don’t think that kind of domination ispossible for mercedes, history has shown the tend to let their drivers duke it out.

      1. Tend to agree. I don’t blame Max for this, but Red Bull is very much focused around getting the best out of him, both in terms of car characteristics and race strategy. Sacrificing the #2 driver to help Max is just what they do, a bit like with Schumacher during his Ferrari days.

        I just hope Merc and/or Ferrari get on par with the Red Bull so that we can see some more good battles. Perez won’t provide one, so other teams need to step up and fill the void. Also benefits Max, since he can showcase his talent better than just walking races from 15th on the grid.

    2. Vettel had to fight Webber every once in a while, even after his first title. China 2012 for example.

      Perez? “no fighting” even when Verstappen was 2s a lap faster and would need maybe a lap or two to pass without orders. But Red Bull doesn’t want to waste not even that with him.

      There is no competition at all there.

  16. Alberto Ascari won 6 of the 8 2001 F1 GPs or 75% but he (with the Fezza Tipo 500) was even more dominant than it looks by this stat, the best ever.

    He decided to enter the Indy 500 race. Although in the fifties this was part of the F1 championship, it was a world apart. American drivers who entered the Indy race almost never entered the European F1 races and vice versa. Not susprisingly he got a poor result, A wheel hub collapsed in his Fezza after a few turns, and had to retire, He was classified 31st.

    AA could not enter the Swiss GP, the first of the F1 championship because the time trials (qualifications) for the Indy 500 had already begun by the day of the GP, so both were not compatible. The time trials began May 17th, the Swiss GP was run on May 18th and the Indy 500 on May 30th). The AA went on to win all the remaining 6 F1 GPs.

    So in a way we can say AA won 100% of the F1 GPs he entered in 1952, not counting the Swiss GP (which he could not enter) nor the Indy 500 (which is not really a F1 GP).

    Reply moderated

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