(L to R): Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes; Max Verstappen, Red Bull; Circuit de Catalunya, 2023

Hamilton: Verstappen can break my wins record but ‘I’m working on slowing him’

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Lewis Hamilton says Max Verstappen could “absolutely” break his record of 103 Formula 1 race victories in the future.

The Mercedes driver scored his most recent victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in 2021. Verstappen scored his 40th win in the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Verstappen is 25 and is contracted to remain at Red Bull until at least 2028. Asked whether Verstappen could become the next driver to hold the record for most wins, Hamilton said: “He’s got a very long career ahead of him so absolutely.

“Ultimately records are there to be broken and he’s got an amazing team.”

Mercedes have only scored a single win since the beginning of last year – George Russell’s triumph at Interlagos last November. Hamilton said Mercedes have “got to work harder to try and continue to extend” his wins record. “I hope we get to have some, at least within the last period of time in my career, I hope we get to have some more close racing.”

If Verstappen wins Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix he will equal Ayrton Senna’s tally of 41 wins, which is the fifth-highest total of any driver. At this race in 2017 Hamilton was presented with a helmet used by Senna when he equalled his childhood idol’s former record of 65 pole positions.

“It was very surreal,” Hamilton recalled. “Being five years old, watching with my dad, the dream was to be like Ayrton. And then the dream was to get to Formula 1 and do something like him.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“To then find that you’re matching or equalling in terms of results – ultimately it’s unfair because there’s a lot more races in our time back than there were then. But still it’s a real honour.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2023
Verstappen took his 40th win in Spain
“They gave me a replica helmet or something like that, so that was very cool. Max has been doing an amazing job, he’s had such an incredible career so far and he is for sure going to surpass that. I’m working on getting the car to where it needs to be so we can slow him down.”

Verstappen the milestone shouldn’t be used to compare his achievements with other drivers. “People always have different kinds of careers,” he said. “Maybe some drivers, they get into a race winning car sooner than others. Nowadays, of course, we have more races than back in the day. So I never really look at the number.

“But when I was a little kid I would have never imagined to be in that list. So for me it’s definitely an amazing achievement, for sure. But you can’t compare it, that’s one thing.”

Verstappen said Hamilton’s record, which he is not yet halfway towards reaching, will be “very hard to beat.”

“Obviously you need to be in the right car for a long time and we don’t know if we have that. But it’s also not something I ever looked at. I’m just going with the flow and enjoying the moment.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Red Bull has won every race this year. Verstappen said he isn’t considering that as a possibility at the moment.

“If you look at how we are performing now, yes [we could], but it is very unrealistic, I think, because there will always be things that will go wrong in the season that are maybe sometimes out of your control.

“So I’m not thinking that is possible. But when you look at it realistically at the moment with how quick the car is, yes, it is.”

“Last year was already quite crazy with 15 wins,” he added. “But as long as I win the championship, that’s the most important.”

Become a RaceFans Supporter

RaceFans is run thanks in part to the generous support of its readers. By contributing £1 per month or £12 per year (or the same in whichever currency you use) you can help cover the costs of creating, hosting and developing RaceFans today and in the future.

Become a RaceFans Supporter today and browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

2023 Canadian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Canadian Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

41 comments on “Hamilton: Verstappen can break my wins record but ‘I’m working on slowing him’”

  1. Should be very realistic unless he indeed leaves f1 quite early, obviously with such a dominant car and so many races it could be doable even in 4 seasons, but hopefully red bull dominance will have stopped at that point, and then he can certainly get a handful of wins even in seasons where the car isn’t a championship contender, as long as it’s decent, see 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020.

    1. Nikos (@exeviolthor)
      16th June 2023, 7:21


      True, but in general what Hamilton and Mercedes did is very difficult to emulate. There were drivers in the past who people thought that would break all records but did not make it in the end.
      I remember in 2013 everyone thought that Vettel in Red Bull was very likely to beat Schumacher’s record of most wins.

      1. Almost impossible to emulate, I’d say. It’s very rare to have such a significant engine advantage as Mercedes had, to the point where they were tuning down the engine just to make sure the FIA didn’t do something about it. It’s pretty telling, that. Remember also that the first few years they had the “token” system in place so other manufacturers were litterally hamstrung trying to catch up. It’s no wonder it took 6 to 8 years to finally be caught up enough to get a significant season long challenger.

        Aero advantages are much easier to overcome. For one, you cannot “hide” aero the way you can an engine, so it’s much easier for other teams to copy your homework. And, of course, with the aero handicap rules, development is now actually helped for teams on the backfoot, rather than restricted. So yeah, expecting Max to have another five or six years of pure dominance in the car is rather unlikely.

        That said though, Max is really exceptional as a driver. So as long as he has a competitive car and keeps competing at this level, it’s still possible he’ll have another 10 wins every season at least until he eventually retires. So record breaking is not out of the question.

        1. @sjaakfoo Summed it up pretty well. We will not see the repeat of a team(Mercedes) having than unique sets of advantage ever again. With RB not handicapped by bad engines atleast they can focus on aero just like in Vettel dominance era but with roadblocks like limited ITR there are checks and balances this time.

          Having said that if there is someone who can do it, then its Max, even with a stiff competition provided he has a relatively competitive car compared to his rivals.

        2. It’s very rare to have such a significant engine advantage as Mercedes had, to the point where they were tuning down the engine just to make sure the FIA didn’t do something about it.

          Is this the same reality where Merc had people burning the candle at both ends to try to match the engine performance of the (cheating) Ferrari engine?
          Or have you popped in from another reality?

        3. @sjaakfoo

          All very fair points. One thing that may help Verstappen, though, is that the budget cap may function similarly to the token system and prevent the others from catching up.

        4. I agree broadly with what you are saying, but let’s be realistic rather than sticking to Red Bull lines @sjaakfoo, yes as the article you quote says, Mercedes had a solid advantage on their engine at the start of the 2014 ruleset, but their dominance was a combination of getting everything right from the onset, and developing all of it as much as they could.

          Similar to how Red Bull has been these past two seasons: finally a mostly reliable engine, that has good pace and energy recovery, got the aero and suspension right too, so now they can focus on optimising what they have while others have to reinvent their understanding to get close. Oh, and a driver that almost always gets the best out of it. Smaller advantage? Maybe, but last time they got to a similar point (from halfway 2009 to 2013, and then the 2nd half of 2013 when the tyres were sorted), they took 4 out of possibly 5 championships. Let’s not forget that Merc aced the 2017 new aero rules (while RB fluffed them a bit), so any new rules that don’t change the principles might well allow them to extend likewise.

          1. Indeed, I wouldn’t be as optimistic as a lot of other people when it comes to red bull dominance ending quickly.

        5. I’d say the car advantage of current RBR is as big as the most dominant years of the Merc-HAM area. With the increased number of races it’s quite easily possible for Verstappen to score many more wins in one season.

        6. Current RBR advantage is at least as big as Merc advantage ever has been. Speed differences with DRS are hilarious and they could probably lap the whole field in any race. They tricked F1 into the engine freeze and cheates their way to years of dominance. So records are easily there to collect on the way

        7. Aero advantages are much easier to overcome.

          Are you sure about this?

  2. Looking at just this year, Max could depending on results get to 50 wins this year. If we take 23 race seasons as a standard length if he wants to hand around for another decade thats 230 races to find 53 wins. If we get the ultra close racing that the FIA wants with these new regs then if hes at a top team he should get a shot at winning 5 races a year to get to Hamilton’s record. Obviously if a team dominates for a couple of years then this might be made easier or harder, i suppose time will tell. I think if Max wants to stay in F1 for a prolonged time he will break the win record as well as get past 400 GP starts also.

    1. Absolutely, let’s not forget he started at 17, a thing no other driver did, so if he changes his mind on leaving early it’s very likely imo.

  3. In F1 history only 12 times a driver has won 10 or more races in season – it always resulting in the driver being champion.

    Due to Mercedes extreme dominance from 2014 to 2020, Lewis has 6 of those seasons the other 6 are equally split between MSC, Vettel and Max. If Mercedes dominance would have been just 4 years instead of 7/8 years he would now had roughly 80 wins instead of 103.

    Statically Lewis is luckiest driver in F1 history as 47% of the races he drove his team won, Lewis won 69% of those team wins.
    Compare that to:
    MSC are 43% and 84%
    Vettel 28% and 82%
    Senna 35% and 73%
    Alonso 11% and 82%
    Max 29% and 82%

    1. While we were watching those 2014-2020 races, not that many of the Hamilton wins over his teammate were quite what I’d call luck (and some he lost looked more like bad luck).

      1. greasemonkey
        16th June 2023, 15:33

        I think his point was that the 47% was the “high” number and the 69% was the “low” number. IOW, the luck was the team he was on, not vs his teammate.

    2. I liked your statistic so I have calculated it for every driver in history. This is the percentage of races won by their team:
      1 Giuseppe Farina 0.757575758
      2 Juan Manuel Fangio 0.607843137
      3 Alberto Ascari 0.516129032
      4 Lewis Hamilton 0.470031546
      5 Alain Prost 0.386934673
      6 Jim Clark 0.361111111
      7 Michael Schumacher 0.348534202
      8 Ayrton Senna 0.347826087
      9 Damon Hill 0.32173913
      10 Jackie Stewart 0.303030303
      11 Max Verstappen 0.288235294
      12 Nigel Mansell 0.272727273
      13 Nico Rosberg 0.266990291
      14 Niki Lauda 0.257309942
      15 Mike Hawthorn 0.244444444
      16 Sebastian Vettel 0.217391304
      17 Mika Hakkinen 0.198757764
      18 Denny Hulme 0.178571429
      19 Nelson Piquet 0.176470588
      20 Jack Brabham 0.174603175
      21 Phil Hill 0.166666667
      22 Jochen Rindt 0.15
      23 Emerson Fittipaldi 0.138888889
      24 Alan Jones 0.137931034
      25 Kimi Raikkonen 0.137535817
      26 Jody Scheckter 0.133928571
      27 Mario Andretti 0.1328125
      28 Graham Hill 0.125
      29 Jacques Villeneuve 0.122699387
      30 Fernando Alonso 0.110497238
      31 James Hunt 0.108695652
      32 Keke Rosberg 0.096491228
      33 Jenson Button 0.088235294
      34 John Surtees 0.063063063

      And this is the proportion of their team’s wins that they won:
      1 James Hunt 1
      2 Jim Clark 0.961538462
      3 Jackie Stewart 0.9
      4 John Surtees 0.857142857
      5 Michael Schumacher 0.85046729
      6 Max Verstappen 0.816326531
      7 Sebastian Vettel 0.815384615
      8 Alberto Ascari 0.8125
      9 Fernando Alonso 0.8
      10 Juan Manuel Fangio 0.774193548
      11 Alan Jones 0.75
      12 Ayrton Senna 0.732142857
      13 Mario Andretti 0.705882353
      14 Emerson Fittipaldi 0.7
      15 Lewis Hamilton 0.691275168
      16 Jochen Rindt 0.666666667
      17 Jody Scheckter 0.666666667
      18 Alain Prost 0.662337662
      19 Nelson Piquet 0.638888889
      20 Jack Brabham 0.636363636
      21 Graham Hill 0.636363636
      22 Mika Hakkinen 0.625
      23 Nigel Mansell 0.607843137
      24 Damon Hill 0.594594595
      25 Niki Lauda 0.568181818
      26 Jenson Button 0.555555556
      27 Jacques Villeneuve 0.55
      28 Keke Rosberg 0.454545455
      29 Kimi Raikkonen 0.4375
      30 Nico Rosberg 0.418181818
      31 Denny Hulme 0.4
      32 Phil Hill 0.375
      33 Mike Hawthorn 0.272727273
      34 Giuseppe Farina 0.2

      This is teams, rather than constructors, so Moss’ wins for Rob Walker don’t count in Brabham, Clark or Surtees’ statistics, and there are a few more places where this is relevant.

      Obviously the stat is heavily dependant on how good these drivers’ teammates were, but it is still interesting.

    3. In 2016 Hamilton won 10 races, but lost the championship to Rosberg who won 9.

      1. i doubt we’ll see Redbull ‘gift’ a championship to a teammate, Which means Verstappen has an even better chance of breaking Hamilton’s records.

        [Just think, were it not for Rosberg, Hamilton would already be an eight-time winner. We won’t mention Masi.]

  4. It is inevitable that at some point the best* driver drives the best* car, so dominance is a part of Formula 1. On this site here Alan Dove recently stated that F1 needs dominance to create legends (Hamilton and Schumacher would not have been this legendary without their dominance at some point). Although I agree with Alan to some extend, I do not like it if we were to replace the Hamilton/Mercedes dominant era with the Verstappen/Red Bull era. Dominance may be good for the sake of creating legends, the sport also needs ultra tight seasons like 2021, 2010, 2008 and 2007 where different drivers of different teams competed for the championship right until the end of the season (in some case quite literally).

    * best as in best of the moment, not GOAT-best

  5. Max entered F1 so early, and he’s having so much success so early, like Vettel, that I don’t see him staying in F1 as long as Hamilton or Alonso. Otherwise, with a bit of luck, he could definitely equal 7 world championships and surpass the records of wins and poles, especially with a record number of races per season. Too many, in my opinion.

    I think Max will want to try other categories.

  6. If Hamilton fails to win one of the next 26 races he will fall below Schumacher’s win rate.

    If Max won 18 of the next 26 races, he’d have a higher win rate than the pair of them

    1. That is not entirely correct.
      * Current Lewis has 103 wins from 317 races = 32.49%
      * Schumacher had 91 wins from 307 races = 29.64%
      * Max has 40 wins from 170 races = 23.53%

      For Lewis to drop below 29.64% he needs (103 / 29.64% = 347.5 so 348 races) to race 31 more races without winning.
      For Max to get above 29.64% he needs to win 20 of those 31 races => (60 wins / 201 races = 29.85%).
      To just beat MSC, Max needs to win all remaining races this season (55 wins / 185 races = 29.73%).

      To have the highest % of wins of any F1 drivers with more than races, Max will need to break Lewis wins record and then continue winning more races.

      If Max wins the next 64 races he might have beaten Lewis to 104 race wins but Max win percentage would only be 44.44% while the mighty Fangio percentage with 24 wins from 51 races is 47.1%.
      Only when winning the next 76 races puts Max above Fangio in win percentage.

      For Lewis to beat Fangio he will have to continue to race till start 2027 minimum as he needs to win the next 88 races.

  7. Just about anyone can break those records if they spend enough seasons in the fastest car, and with a team who favour them over their team-mate.

    1. nah, the driver have to be good enough to dominate too.

      One good driver with a dominant car can win countless championships, but wouldn’t win so many races.

      Imagine a pair of Perez and Stroll racing the RB19 for example, they would obviously left something on the table every couple of races or so. We had 7 races this year and Perez wasn’t even on the podium for 2 already and counting. Stroll has a podium capable car and couldn’t even dream of finishing on a podium yet.

      1. Imagine a pair of Perez and Stroll racing the RB19 for example, they would obviously left something on the table every couple of races or so.

        Would they? How would anyone ever know unless it actually happened?
        Either driver, as team leader with full team support from designers through to engineers and strategists, may well be much more comfortable and perform much better than they currently do in their existing circumstances.
        Without the pressure of having to battle team politics, a comfortable team-mate and/or a slower car, they may well be enabled to shine just like others in that situation.
        Every driver has great days even with all those difficulties – they could be unstoppable without them.

        We can guesstimate and assume as much as we like, but we’ll never actually know.

        1. I don’t see Perez being P2 behind Max every single race. Do you?

          1. Hakkinen is a good example of good driver with great car and good team environment. It took him the whole season on both of his titles to wrap it up. Won a good number of races but it should’ve won more and guaranteed the title earlier.

          2. You just gave me the hypothetical situation of a team with only Perez and Stroll as drivers…

            In the current (real world) situation, Perez is battling the difficulties I just listed, and therefore, is at a disadvantage even within his own team.
            Teams who focus on one driver have necessarily done so by sacrificing their second driver’s performance and potential.
            Red Bull are famous for it, but so are Mercedes and Ferrari. That’s the nature of the team having a preference.

    2. I’d like to see what would’ve happened if ferrari favoured barrichello or irvine! As in I highly doubt they’d have even won 1 championship in the schumacher era.

      1. There wouldn’t have been a Schumacher era without Schumacher in the Ferrari – Barrichello probably would have won multiple championships, and Irvine would likely have taken at least one.
        Schumacher was a great driver, but he could never be better than his car. Nobody can.

  8. Someone has to, since Leclerc, the other young driver who got to race a winning car early on his career is completely stalled at the moment with Ferrari’s usual bozos doing their thing.

    1. I think early on your comment you made a good point: he got a race winning car early, and that’s all ferrari is capable of: not being capable to win championships, obviously they also don’t win a lot of races.

  9. Looks like both of these great drivers are becoming more respectful and mature in their attitude to each other and in the generosity of their comments about each other. Nice to see. Let’s hope their fans can follow suit.

  10. It’s difficult to compare records, especially i different eras, as we have 23 races in a season now.
    There is 1 stat, that caught my eye. And that is the poleposition-win rate. Which says a lot of the dominanance of the cars in which the victories were achieved.

    Hamilton has a perfect 1 on 1 rate, 103 poles and 103 wins.
    Verstappen had only 24 poles and 40 wins.

    1. Nah, that’s not all: check leclerc’s poles and wins, then senna, schumacher, prost, alonso: some drivers are better qualifiers than they are racers and viceversa, and verstappen always shined more in the race than quali, otherwise he’d have got the youngest pole record now, he’s had a few chances. On other hand, leclerc is usually a lot more effective in quali, relative to the cars they had.

    2. Max could have a lot more poles had he nod botched it numerous times or just had bad luck on others, like this year 2 times already with the car failing him.
      Just remember, his 2nd race at Red Bull he could have started on pole already, as Ricciardo did it. Instead, his first one came more than 3 YEARS later.

  11. Not about this topic but what if the value of a win would be decreased so let’s say 15 / 12 / 10 / 8 / 6 / 5 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 1.
    Then championship would not be decided before the summer brake.

    1. Then reliability would have even more of an impact, with a 2nd place being worth 80% of 1st place, it’s what happened around 2003-2006 etc., back when a win was worth 10 and 2nd place 8.

  12. Yup, keep working on it. With the present level of success.

Comments are closed.