Will Verstappen surpass Hamilton’s all-time grand prix wins record?

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For those who were around to witness Michael Schumacher overtaking Alain Prost as the all-time leader for grand prix victories, it was easy to assume that the seven-time world champion’s record would never be beaten.

But the very next race following Schumacher’s first retirement at the end of the 2006 season, Lewis Hamilton began a career that would ultimately see him eclipse almost every record Schumacher set – from wins, pole positions, laps led and raced led, with only the all-time marks for fastest laps and hat trick victories remaining in Schumacher’s sole possession.

Hamilton scaled to unfathomable heights, becoming the first driver ever to reach triple digits in race wins and more than doubling Prost’s tally achieved over one of the sport’s most illustrious careers. But with age slowly creeping up on Hamilton, his tally will one day reach its end. In fact, with Mercedes’ mediocrity in the ground-effect era so far, Hamilton has remained on 103 wins since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – a 31-race winless streak that is only growing.

While Hamilton has been struggling to get back on the top step of the podium, another driver seems to have acquired a permanent residency over it – Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez, Monaco, 2016
Verstappen is due to match Hamilton’s 44 wins in 173 races
Since Formula 1’s latest technical regulations revolution at the start of 2022, Verstappen has won 21 of the 30 races to double his career total from 20 to 41. He needs just one more to surpass Ayrton Senna’s tally and claim ownership of fifth place on the all-time wins list. With 14 rounds still remaining in the 2023 season, there is a difficult but genuine chance that he could surpass Prost and Sebastian Vettel to move into third place by the end of the year.

But will Verstappen manage to emulate Hamilton, do what many expected would never happen and set an even higher benchmark for all-time race wins in Formula 1?

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With his fast start in Formula 1, Hamilton racked up the wins at a rapid rate. Verstappen certainly was no slouch – winning on his debut with Red Bull – but he has only begun to really build up wins over the recent seasons. If he wins the next three rounds, Verstappen will match Hamilton’s rate of 44 victories in his 173rd grand prix.

If he does that, it’s hard to see him stopping. Red Bull continue to dominate the modern era and Verstappen’s team mate Sergio Perez is faltering in his efforts to match him. So there’s every chance Verstappen could overtake Hamilton’s career win rate at the same stage of his career by the end of the season.

With F1 seasons having more races than ever, Adrian Newey continuing to produce championship winning cars and Red Bull’s rivals unable to offer a challenge to them, Verstappen can continue to take wins for years to come. And at only 25 years old, he could potentially race in F1 for another 15 seasons or even more if he wants to, giving him an excellent opportunity to set a new record.


As the 21st Century has shown so far, domination in Formula 1 comes in waves. Just because your team is on top now does not mean that you will remain there forever, just as Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes are all aware. Eventually, Red Bull will be caught and will face greater competition for wins, slowing down Verstappen’s win rate.

Then there’s the question of Verstappen himself. How long will he continue to want to compete in Formula 1, given how vocal he has been about his interests away from the world championship? He has openly voiced his dislike of sprint races and seems to find little joy from the ever-growing number of street circuits Liberty Media seem eager to add to the calendar.

Then there’s his admitted interest in endurance racing. He’s done plenty of it virtually on iRacing over the years – it’s inevitable he’ll want to sample the real thing. That could see him calling time on his own F1 career before he is within reach of Hamilton’s record, which could easily still grow further.

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I say

With his incredible raw talent and aptitude behind the wheel, Verstappen has achieved more in his 25 years than any driver has ever done by such an age. Only Vettel will have beaten Verstappen to three world championships at an earlier age, but Verstappen already holds far more wins than Vettel had by the end of 2012.

Race start, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
The competition in F1 is getting closer
So Verstappen has all the ability and potential to eventually match Hamilton’s incredible wins record. However, it is still a tough bet that he will be able to eventually get there – and it is because of factors that Verstappen has no control over.

Unlike when Schumacher, Hamilton and Vettel were winning week after week, Verstappen’s dominance is happening in an era where the budget cap is beginning to drastically reshape F1. If you ignore Red Bull, the current field is arguably closer than it has ever been, with many in the sport expecting the grid to converge even further.

That should only increase the level of competition at the front over the coming seasons as cars get closer and it becomes increasingly difficult to find those advantages to gain performance over other teams. Modern Formula 1 is designed to naturally prevent dominance and once Red Bull is caught, Verstappen may no longer enjoy the same opportunities that Hamilton had to win year-after-year with limited competition, setting a new wins record along the way.

But if there is any driver who could ever prove people wrong and continue to pick the wins over the years to approach Hamilton’s record, it’s Max Verstappen.

You say

Do you think Max Verstappen can beat Lewis Hamilton’s all-time wins record? Have your say in our poll below.

Will Max Verstappen end his F1 career with a higher number of grand prix wins than Lewis Hamilton?

  • Both drivers will end their careers with the same number of career grand prix wins (7%)
  • Max Verstappen will have the higher number of career grand prix wins (37%)
  • Lewis Hamilton will have the higher number of career grand prix wins (56%)

Total Voters: 117

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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71 comments on “Will Verstappen surpass Hamilton’s all-time grand prix wins record?”

  1. Too early to call that. Racking up huge number of wins requires a special set of circumstances. Unless another team ups their game and catches up, Red Bull seems to be on track to enjoy technical supremacy until the end of 2025. Max’s stats will be hugely dependent on how the Ford-RBPT deal works out.
    Max is younger than Lewis was when he had the same number of starts, meaning that he can go longer. At the same time Max indicated that he isn’t keen on staying in F1 forever. If he desires so, he might have another chance later even if the Ford engine turns out not to be successful.

    1. Agreed, a pointless topic at this point. And who the hell cares? These records are 90% dependent on having the best car for years and years. Many F1 stats can tell a lot of lies.

      Beyond that, it’s getting easier to catch these records with how long the seasons and have gotten and how reliable the cars. Let’s not forget, Senna got to his win total in less races than Max (11-12 I believe). It also shows how long Max’s career has been in race count compared to drivers of yesteryear and will be overall.

  2. Abies de Wet
    25th June 2023, 12:52

    God I Hope So…. Go Max !!!!!!!!!!

  3. Just like Lewis’ record depended on having dominant cars for many years and a calendar that kept expanding, any future record will likely follow similar patterns.

    1. What’s impressive is that Max had to sit in a car that was at the most 2nd best for quite a number of years at the beginning of his F1 career. If he had jumped into a title contending car from day 1 like Lewis did, who knows what his stats would look like by now?

      1. True, but hamilton is the exception, not verstappen; take schumacher, senna, a lot of strong drivers had a first period with a “weak” car, who more, who less.

      2. Phil Taylor
        26th June 2023, 9:02

        True, but if you take 2007/8 out of the equation then Lewis had a car that was not even second best for 5 years until 2014 so I would say that the years spend in non-dominant cars is pretty similar for Max and for Lewis.

    2. @proesterchen

      True. Breaking records has a lot do with being in the right place at the right time… so it’s more how fortunes play out for him and Red Bull more than his ability. Ability-wise he has everything in place to beat Lewis’ records.

      1. Exactly @todfod and @proesterchen, at this rate, yes Verstappen has a good chance he’d do it in a bit over three more seasons, but that needs him to keep up that rate, and Hamilton not starting to win again as well; that’s how Hamilton got there, having a long period of dominant car and having a teammate that didn’t win as much (though Verstappen has a less competitive teammate at least for now), that’s how Schumacher got there. I’d expect it to take longer than three seasons if it happens, but it also might not happen if the budget cap, and/or other factors start getting another team, especially Mercedes, closer to Red Bull.

  4. He could because he started in F1 at a younger age and there are more races than ever now, just as was the case when Hamilton started compared to those before him. Whether he will or not is dependent on him having a great car and sticking around past his current contract. Its probably 50-50 depending on next engine change.

  5. It will be a very difficult stat to overcome considering Mercedes are inching back towards the sharp end of the field and surely Lewis will increase his stats of winning, but RB should be good enough to compete for wins unless some unfortunate unforeseen circumstances atleast till 2025. Then it will be depend on RBPT Ford collaboration which if anything close to the other engines should be considered a feat in itself. But as said in the article above, if there is anyone that could do it, its Max.

  6. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
    25th June 2023, 13:04

    I’ve thought about this long and hard and the conclusion is; we will see.

  7. Probably not, but oh boy it’ll be boring finding out.

  8. I voted Verstappen, it’s the most likely outcome. Max will always drive for a (or the) leading team until he retires. After Hamilton leaves, he will have no real peer in terms of speed, talent or (by then) experience. Only two things can stop him passing Hamilton’s record: premature retirement from Formula 1, or Hamilton suddenly getting an equally good car and their wins being more or less shared between them, as during 2021, until Hamilton retires. And that’s another uncertainty: even in that scenario, would Hamilton stay for, say, another 4-5 seasons, or retire, happy with passing Schumacher and extending the numbers a bit for Verstappen to eventually catch? Difficult to guess.

    1. PS. I now read Will’s opinion. My question would be whether contemporary Formula 1 really is becoming more competitive? It’s now at its least competitive for wins since the Schumacher era – Red Bull with as dominant a car as the Mercedes 2014-2020, but compounded by Red Bull have a clear main driver and a support driver as with Schumacher and Ferrari. Sure, in terms of everyone else, it’s closer, but really it’s still the same three teams – Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes who look set to dominate – with a rotation of one or other team getting on the podium for a period. I don’t see Red Bull being passed, even if they are more or less caught by one or two teams. And given Max’s dominance at Red Bull, when they’re faster, he’ll be more than likely picking up the wins.

      1. Doesn’t look as dominant as the merc, alonso is getting closer and closer (but track dependant, we’ll have to see at silverstone), merc were winning with 30 sec margin. Plus it’s wrong to say 2014-2020: 2017 and 2018 were competitive and certainly 2019 was not as dominant as the others.

        1. But it’s dominant enough, and RBR don’t have even close to a Rosberg in the second seat. Not even a Bottas.

          Other teams are “catching”, but still don’t seem even close to winning a race on merit. Occasionally, like Canada, they win by “only” 10s, but it always feels like RBR and Max have more in their pocket if they really need it. They’ve likely already shifted their development focus to next year, too, so even if one of the other teams catches them by the end of the year, I wouldn’t put any money on them still being a match next season.

          If Lewis doesn’t get a competitive car again, I’d say there’s a very strong likelihood of Max beating his record of wins. He needs 3-4 seasons more of dominance water this one with the current number of races, and they’re only likely to increase.

        2. @Esploratore
          It’s not like the RB was completely dominant from the beginning of the ground effect era as the Merc was in the hybrid era either. It’s easy to forget that last year Ferrari were favourites for the French GP which was in the 2nd half of the season, it was Ferrari’s operational and driver errors that made RB look more dominant than they were. I believe if Merc hadn’t went down the zeropod route to begin with or at least abandoned the concept early last year, then we would be seeing more competition for wins now and they could have picked up the batton as Ferrari fell away.

          1. if Merc hadn’t went down the zeropod route to begin with or at least abandoned the concept early last year

            But the problem there was the porpoising, which was a separate issue from the zeropod design, more to do with their floor (no real ground effect cleverness) and the bouncy nose/front suspension – altering the latter seems to have been crucial to their more recent upturn in form. I get why they had to solve the porpoising before being able to determine whether the zeropod design worked as ‘advertised’ in their computer simulations and wind tunnel.

        3. @esploratore1 Firstly, it’s an open question just how dominant this Red Bull is. They’ve yet to face serious competition for the win so we’re don’t know how hard it’s being pushed. Secondly, though, my point was that the main driver, Verstappen, isn’t under any serious threat from his team mate – because he’s a lot faster and the team back him as the number one driver – meaning that, like I said, Formula 1 is currently far less competitive in terms of who wins. Sure, Verstappen may face some issue at any given weekend. But that doesn’t equate as competition from anyone else.

  9. Choosing was difficult, but I ultimately chose the first option because of uncertainty about how long Red Bull would remain at their current level & Max’s long-term commitment.
    He could better the outright record, though, or they could end up on level.
    All three are equally viable outcomes, so ‘unsure’ as a fourth option would’ve been good.

    1. I wouldn’t say equally likely. Statistically, it’s much less likely that they end tied.

      But I agree that the options are incomplete. I haven’t voted because there are just too many variables. I can definitely see him beating the record if RBR remain dominant for several seasons more, or if he stays in F1 as long as Lewis and remains in a championship contending car for most of it. But it won’t take much going wrong for him not to get there.

  10. Robert Henning
    25th June 2023, 13:49

    His consistency is unparalleled. He hardly has off weekend like many other multiple WDCs.

    If he has a car that is even a tenth faster than the competition in his hands, he is someone I will expect to win more than 15/20 races.

    So yes, if RB have a car like RB18 post-Spa till 2025, I can actually see him getting close to around 80 to 90 wins.

    Then it will be for the new regulations.

    He is far too efficient even in a title fight with his “off” weekends being a P2.

    1. People said the same about Hamilton. When you have a driver with their sort of pace and you give them a very dominant car, they’ll make it look easy – because it is….. We’ve seen that both of them make just as many mistakes as anyone else when the pressure gets ramped up.

      With drivers of this quality, an “off-weekend” is the difference between getting 100% of the car and only getting 95%… If you can win the race by an enormous margin by only going at 80%, you’re going to look extremely consistent every time.

  11. Depends entirely on when Verstappen retires. I don’t think he particularly cares about breaking records to the point where he’ll keep driving long after he’s mentally “done” just to break records. However, if he’s happy to drive for another 10 to 15 years, there’s a good chance he’ll end up with all the records until the next guy to break it, not just because of his talent, but because he’s mathematically advantaged by the sheer number of races a season compared to everyone before him (Hamilton included).

    As for @willwood’s comments, I’m not sure the argument that the budget cap will make it harder for him holds that much value. Verstappen in equal machinery will have an advantage on talent over 95% of the field at least (if not more). The more things equalize, the bigger the individual driver advantage becomes. It’s actually the lack of convergence that kept Verstappen from achieving much more at a much earlier stage in his career.

    1. For me, the budget cap is more likely to help him as it makes it far more difficult for anyone to catch RBR (at least until 2026). As to this that, with the engine freeze, F1 is now completely aero dominant and RBR are the undisputed masters of aerodynamics, it’s likely that they’ll be leading the field until the engine reg change.

  12. Human error champion will for sure set a new “record” before turning 30.
    Formula 1 is fixed and everybody wants him to beat all records, because obviously can’t bear Hamilton being bigger than the sport. Plus, he is black.
    No way. He must be erased from the sporting history asap.
    Unfortunately, the asterisk beside his win tally would be as big as the one standing on the number one on the nose of his car.

    1. Just don’t.

  13. Missing the option: who cares

    1. those reading and commenting obviously care

  14. Has anyone been thinking about Red Bull basicilly being thai nowadays. I haven’t been following the situation in there but is their leader, how you say it nicely, a dictator who does dictator stuff or at least he did don’t know if the situation has changed and if there is any link between RB owners and thai politicans but if there is it could be seen as a very bad light in todays world

    1. I will 🙏 for your mental health, that it may quickly become better. I hope mental healthcare is affordable where you live, all the best my dear, troubled friend!

      1. Thanks for the message but all ok. Just trying to get some conversation going on

  15. Verstappen can catch Schumacher and Hamilton if his car is good enough for long enough, that’s all there is to it.

    If you ignore Red Bull, the current field is arguably closer than it has ever been, with many in the sport expecting the grid to converge even further.

    Surely that is measurable, rather than relying on perception. I randomly picked 2013, because it’s ten years ago, and compared the percentage of the points pie teams took after eight race.

    In 2013, the top five teams had: Red Bull (27%), Mercedes (21%), Ferrari (21%, Lotus (15%) and Force India (7%)
    In 2023, the top five teams have: Red Bull (38%), Mercedes (20%), Aston Martin (18%), Ferrari (14%), Alpine (5%)

    Not only are those the exact same five teams, just with different names, the point share from 2nd through 5th is relatively similar too. But in 2023 the championship leader has far more points than back then.

    Modern Formula 1 is designed to naturally prevent dominance

    How is that the case? Modern F1 offers teams fewer options to differentiate themselves, and its set to become even worse with the 2026 engines, so if anything F1 is all about being good at ‘The thing that matters’ this regulatory cycle, which is far more likely to lead to dominance than when teams are able to offset deficiencies by advances in other areas. After all, the nearly a decade long period of dominance Mercedes enjoyed had never happened before in all of F1.

    1. if anything F1 is all about being good at ‘The thing that matters’ this regulatory cycle, which is far more likely to lead to dominance than when teams are able to offset deficiencies by advances in other areas


      This is why I dislike the engine freeze. It’s taken engines out of consideration. The only thing which matters right now is aerodynamics. Without the freeze, a team who was weaker aerodynamically could make up for it with their engine and vice versa.

  16. Jimmy Cliff
    25th June 2023, 16:02

    Well Lewis needed 15 years and 10 years in the (equal) fastest car on the grid and 7 further years in 2nd/3rd fastest car.

    Max is just in his 3rd season of a championship car and only from mid 2022 the dominant car.
    In 2015 it was a midfield car and 2016-2020 a specific track/conditions race winning car.

    So if Red Bull remains the car to beat till end of 2028 I am sure Max will deliver the 10-15 wins per season to go past Lewis. 2028 would be Max 14th season in F1 – seriously doubt he will continue beyond 2028.

    That however is highly unlikely that Red Bull could come even close to the absolute dominance Mercedes had from 2014-2021 that enables Lewis to surpass Schumacher.

    So combinations of shorter career and less years in championship/dominant car will make it unlikely Max will surpass Lewis but like CarWars pointed out – who really cares – Max for sure doesn’t – he likes winning but cares not about records.

    Lewis with 103 makes him the most frequent winner and all time great however he even with those wins and championships he isn’t in top 3 best F1 drivers of all time.
    Fangio, Clark and Senna IMHO are top 3 – Lewis is top 10 maybe top 5 but not top 3.

  17. Let’s be honest you can’t fool people with all these all time records. F1 isn’t tennis where you have to put all of your talent, skills and body capabilities to constantly be on the top. Look at Djokovic, he’s 36 and still is capable to overplay the young talents. 23 Grand Slam titles. Nadal 22. Federer 20. True and deserved records.

    If we talk about F1 I think 3 titles is enough to consider someone great. Anything more means you kinda had the best car to achieve that.

    1. For a driver to win more than 50 you can say he had pretty particular circunstances on his career.
      Hamilton had years of great cars to rack up race wins, Schumacher also had years of great cars and no team mate to take anything from him.

      Vettel had 2 tremendously successfull seasons at Red Bull to boost his numbers., Prost had competitive cars for most of his career..

      And Max, who’s soon to join this list, have had some great cars and is the youngest driver ever. At 25 he’s more experienced than most drivers ever were and still can brag to have most of his career ahead of him.

      1. Schumacher though has 50 wins without a dominant car or something like that, not sure if any other driver did something like this, which shows it’s not just the car making you rack up wins.

        Obviously, to beat records, get 90-100-110 wins etc. you need dominant cars, because the ones you’re trying to beat had them.

        1. First, while Schumacher has won a championship (1994) without driving the constructor’s championship car, I think you’d be hard pressed to find 50 victories under those circumstances– that’s over half his wins. I believe the actual number is 22– and 17 for Hamilton.

          Secondly, Hamilton went 15 seasons (more if you count the lower series) winning at least one race, and scoring at least one pole, every single season. 2022 is the first year in the last 2 decades that Hamilton didn’t win a race or score a pole position.

        2. As i said Schumacher never had to race his team mates either.

          As early as 1993 in every team he raced he was absolute number 1.

          So the cars didnt even need to be that dominant for him to win a lot, everything was centered on him.

          Hamilton would have passed Schumacher sooner If button and Rosberg were not allowed to race him.

          1. Schumacher was also a demon for testing. He was constantly at Fiorano, day after day, week after week, putting in thousands of miles. I believe that was a large part of his success, as well as his brutal tactics on track… If testing was allowed Mercedes would quickly catch up to RB. Of course RB would also be allowed to test……

          2. Yes, there’s that too.

            I had a magazine in which Barrichello said he alone tested for the equivalent of 100 GPs during the 2000 season. And Schumacher tested, at least, as much as him.

            No wonder Ferrari was out-developing everybody at that time. Others could test too, but only Ferrari had a private track to use as long as they wanted.

  18. Sergey Martyn
    25th June 2023, 17:17

    IMHO the key figure here is Adrian Newey.
    If he will be able to build cars like Merc in time of Lewis’ dominance, Max will blow all the records to smithereens.
    Most of the Hamilton / Rosberg successes back then were the result of superior machinery, not the driver’s skills.

  19. i hope he doesn’t. i’m sick of dominations on this sport.

    1. So you’ve been digging a hole and sticking your head in it since 1950?

      1. Of course.

  20. It’s all about the car, he certainly can if he continues to have a super car for a few years, otherwise no, I didn’t vote in the poll because it’s silly for me to say he will if next year he stops having a dominant car and won’t have one any more, hypothetically.

    1. Although if he stays in f1 for a while he could reach that record even with a few championship contending cars, but he said he won’t stay long.

  21. Depends on Red Bull (and Ford) more than anything.

  22. None of it is relevant as he simply won’t attempt, as he has hinted at many times claiming he probably won’t be around after his current contract ends. If you look at several of his interviews it to me is clear he will be long bored with F1 before he is near Lewis records.

  23. Do I think he can? Yes. Do I think he will? No. First, I don’t believe F1 is going to allow Red Bull to keep dominating the way Mercedes did. As much as I think Red Bull deliberately bent the cost cap rules, there are still limits, and the testing restrictions will slow down Red Bull. Adrian Newey retiring will also happen before Max is hitting the 100 wins mark, and that’s going to slow down Red Bull even more.

    Further, I don’t think Max wants to race into his 40’s. I doubt he’ll stay in the sport until he’s Hamilton’s age.

    Finally, I’m not totally convinced the FIA Formula One World Championship will still be here in 10 years. I have a bad feeling about the 2026 regulations, because frankly, the leadership of F1 is terrible. We still don’t have consistent stewarding, and the era that was supposed to level the playing field has led to Red Bull winning every race this season and 17 of the 22 races last season. The sprint races have been met with universal apathy or active dislike, and Liberty says “everyone loves them!!”. We’re getting red flags when double yellows would be appropriate, and the obsession with making the cars as difficult to drive as possible is continuing, and the rule makers still think they’re smarter than the best racing engineers in the world.

    I don’t see the sport as being viable in the long term right now.

    Don’t misunderstand– I’d love to be wrong, but I’m not seeing anything that says the racing, or the sport in general, is healthier than it was in 2013.

    1. I agree while Max could overpass Lewis theoretic he won’t because he would left F1 in 2028 (or 2026) so that is 125+13 (current) races Max (if they do 25 races each season from now) can win. So 41+13= 54+125=179 tops if he races after 2026 otherwise it would be 126 wins if he wins everything …..

      I think he will be in the 70-90 range when he stops. Lewis and Micheal went far for those records and that isn’t where Max is interested in.

  24. I think he won’t, but only because I don’t see him as willing to be in the public eye for 10+ more years, unlike other drivers who seem to enjoy more of the attention and don’t have much of a private life.

  25. Imagine having this guy as the all time grqndprix winner. No thanks! Hes a terrible human being. Just like his father.

    1. You talking nonsense Sir he isn’t like his father rather very far from him. He is more like his mother if you know Sophie a bit.

    2. I never got that impression. I have seen dozens of in season and dozens of off season interviews with him and he comes across as a quite likeable chap. Very down to earth and direct. No showmanship or entertainment aspirations, just is here to race. The directness might be taken as arrogance, but its not, its a cultural Dutch thing. But all this aside as I am not as much interested in who he is off track. I come to watch one of the greatest drivers ever and am thoroughly enjoying his performance and wish more of the current grid would be like this. I wish FIA would focus on building talent and address the unequal playing field in which only rich kids can come fwd. I bet there is plenty of more talent out there at Max/Lewis/Aloso level, they just never get a chance. Meantime we are stuck with quite some mediocre drivers in what is supposed to be the pinnacle of Motorsport.

      1. I personally think that the Red Bull team environment, though it has to be a good working environment to get the results they have and keep getting, isn’t promoting their drivers coming over as balanced, honest and fair people, and that’s not just Verstappen, it is also Vettel, who always seemed basically, likable, but while at Red Bull is ‘funny’ jokes were more often than not passive aggressive (all the KERS button jokes for example). Verstappen too has quite a few times come off as defensive, toxic, uncaring and willing to associate and defend borderline racism, including from his father (in-law), and fans (yes thanks NL Ziggo uncritical stupid joke show that was, bye).

        But being young and in an F1 team environment isn’t always the best way to show your humanity off (and let’s also recall quite a few off and unthinking comments from a young Hamilton, not to mention Alonso until not too long ago), so I certainly wouldn’t be all too surprised as with age and experience the way he puts himself across shows a quite different man to the world. He does seem to have a certain levelheadedness that would help there.

        1. I believe it was Sir frank Williams or Ron Dennis (but I can be mistaken and it was another great) once said to not mistake ourselves about F1 drivers, as they are all bas tards. I think part of being a top notch winner in whatever area goes hand in hand with some level of self centeredness, ego, harshness, etc.. whatever you want to call it. And with age this usually improves as they have less to prove. Indeed Vettel and Alonso have made quite a transition, maybe the biggest, through the years.

          1. Vettel and Alonso have made quite a transition, maybe the biggest, through the years.

            Most certainly true. I never used to like them, but Vettel in his last couple of years was one of my favourite personalities on the grid and Alonso is heading that way, too. It may be that Max gets there as well, if he stays around long enough.

            I do think that @bosyber has a point about the RBR team environment, though. From the outside, it appears far more toxic than other teams, and I believe the way it is run has had an effect on the impression both Max and Seb have given (both in and out of the car). Both have had the team act as if they can do no wrong, which I haven’t seen from other teams. This contributes to the impression of arrogance (though some of this likely comes from cultural differences and speaking English as a second language, too).

  26. I’ve got a few controversial opinions here so hold on to your hats.

    Firstly, I’d like to think I see F1 as objectively as possible, I don’t, and never have, demeaned any driver out of spite or rivalry. My heroes are Senna, Clark, Alonso & Gilles and I currently support Leclerc. I appreciate Hamilton and Verstappen but support neither.

    I stated on here in 2015 that I thought Max would win 10 titles and I stand by that. I think there is now a fairly convincing argument that he is already the greatest of all. I think he is the most complete, especially in racecraft, and is making a strong grid of drivers look ordinary on a regular basis. His wet weather driving is perfect, he rarely makes errors, he has moulded a team around him and his overtaking ability is peerless. I think the sport in it’s current guise is perfect for him, no other driver comes through the field from grid penalties like he does, he pushes the limit on track limits and wheel-to-wheel racing, exactly the same as Senna and Schumacher before him. It used to be considered a huge achievement to make the podium from outside the top ten, particularly in the 90s, now it’s the norm for Max.

    As for Lewis, I think it would be outrageous to suggest that he has under achieved in F1 but I also think his level of dominance should have a marginally higher win total. Rosberg won 22 races, Bottas 10 and Russell 1 at Mercedes, Button won 8, Alonso 4 and Kovalainen 1 at McLaren. I am not for a minute suggesting that he should have won all their races too – but there are 46 races where the man in the garage across from him won the race. A quick comparison to Schumi – Michael won 91 races, his team mate 16, Vettel 48 (12), Max 41 (9). I think when you add in races lost to unreliability and Abu Dhabi 2021, I could see Hamilton’s score around 25 to 30 higher than it is. Now, this isn’t a new phenomenon – most drivers in the 80s/90s could likely argue another 10/12 races on reliability for example and the obvious caveat is that Lewis has had strong team-mates.

    The question for Verstappen surrounds longevity. I think it’s clear than winning drivers can now race until their early 40s. I remember Alonso was asked in 2005 how long he would go on for – he replied that he would retire by age 30 with similar sentiments to those expressed by Verstappen. Max is a true thoroughbred racer, he’ll go on until he no longer can. He understands the history of the sport and I can see him at Mercedes and Ferrari during his career.

    I suspect Liberty will cap the season limit at 25 races, which with another 12 seasons in him I can see Max completing around 450 races. At that time he would be younger than Lewis is now. 5 more seasons would give him 575 races – it’s not impossible to believe a 35% hit rate either. 200 wins would be sport defining, and I suspect he would have left a long time before then but Lewis’ record would be gone by the time Max hits his 30th birthday. Unless, of course, Lewis raises the bar to 120 or so over the coming seasons to Max’s detriment. For the race to 100 wins, it’s ‘when’ not ‘if’ for me.

    1. Like the ‘number of team mate wins’ angle. Indeed some correction needed for team orders and technical failures but still quite telling for the discussion ‘is it the car or is it the driver?’.

    2. The more I look at Nico Rosberg, the more I think that while he knew he didn’t have the ultimate talent of his teammates, eh put in the work to learn how to first beat (true an aging) Schumacher, and then in the team he knew well, kept up chipping at how to beat Hamilton. It’s quite a feat really, though not one of ultimate racing talent perhaps. Button has always been fast, and I think that when he went to McLaren he also came in with a design of charm the team and proving he could beat Hamilton (which Rosberg probably also learned from: it did destabilize Hamilton). In short, bot of these guys were very challenging team mates. Schumacher didn’t have anyone like that for almost all of his career as a teammate (expect Rosberg, and he lost). Verstappen had Ricciardo possibly, but, wins were mostly sparse enough then that it wasn’t often about who of the two would win (similar with Sainz I’d guess, who’s mostly slower than Leclerc).

      Bottas I do think is/was very fast in the right circumstances (not wet, no) but he also more-often-than not won when Hamilton had some kind of misfortune. Not that unlike Perez to Verstappen, except that Red Bull clearly and explicitly put Verstappen as a first priority with Perez sort of allowed to prove them wrong, while Mercedes always pussyfooted around that, never wanting to admit to themselves they really expected Hamilton to win. A very different proposition.

      In short, I think your argument can certainly be taken as underestimating Hamilton’s teammates while overestimating Verstappen (and Schumacher) because they didn’t have that intra-team competition.

      1. Schumacher had caught up with rosberg in performance by 2012, it’s been already analysed that the terrible reliability made him look worse, and like you said he was too old for f1 when he came back. Unfortunately he didn’t have a strong driver to compare with in his prime, massa is as good as it gets, a driver who could’ve won the championship in the right circumstances, like button.

        But yes, while the previous poster’s comment makes sense, verstappen didn’t have too strong team mates either, only ricciardo, who was fairly good back then, and hamilton had by far the strongest team mates of the 3 drivers.

      2. @bosyber – yeah without doubt Hamilton has faced the toughest team-mates. My argument was simplistically that if you apply Schumacher’s win percentage versus his team-mate to Hamilton’s then Lewis could have set the bar higher than it currently is. Of course the context to that is 2019/20 where, because Lewis had a good team-mate, Mercedes could divert the strategy around Red Bull and win more races than if Red Bull had a competitive number 2. So there is no exact science here.

        Growing up with the Schumacher dominance, I thought that Michael’s records would be untouchable. Improved reliability, compared to the 90s, and longer calendars have aided Lewis in passing Schumi but with MS there was a feeling he was close to perfection as a winning machine. On the day he won his 5th title, his team-mates had won 6 races – Herbert with Silverstone and Monza (where Michael crashed out with Hill), Irvine in Australia (Schumacher electronic issue) and Malaysia (returning from leg break to support Irvine in the championship, 1s ahead in quali and 1s behind in the race) Hockenheim 2000 (crash with Burti) and Europe 2002 where they crossed the line 0.2s apart. That is a fairly fearsome record, although better drivers may have won races Schumacher’s team-mates didn’t.

        I mention Schumacher as I see Max going the same way. I think he’ll build a team around him, is totally ruthless and will demand to be number 1. I think Red Bull accept that is the best way to go about fighting for championships and will stack the deck in Max’s favour. As you point out Mercedes, and Ferrari under Binotto for some reason, tend to go with the Williams ‘let the boys race’ mantra which isn’t effective unless you have a car advantage.

        Overall, I think Max will end up fighting for 10 titles and win an average of 50% of the races in the season’s he is competitive. That would be 100 wins from those title fights alone, and he may have another 10 seasons where he picks up a few of wins, taking his total around 150. Or, he might join McLaren-Honda and never win again.

        1. Four years of Bottas as team mate in the best car around did help Lewis improve his stats though and handed him 4 WDC’s out of his 7, hands down. Not an unlucky situation at all I would say. Same goes for Vettel with Webber. Let Max keep Perez for another two seasons and he will have had equal luck ;-)

  27. The only true answer is: We’ll see! There are so many factors involved that the discussion or topic title itself is typical clickbait.

    1. I don’t think it’s clickbait, it’s a valid question for debate and an interesting discussion to have. The poll is pretty useless, IMHO, but the article itself is interesting as are many of the discussions here in the comments.

  28. Before answering such a clickbait question, you have to acknowledge something;
    Hamilton’s and Schumacher’s success is unusual.
    It’s not just a matter of being good, it’s a matter of being good enough over a long period of time, as well as being somewhat lucky to sustain it as any number of things could go wrong.
    No one questions the likes of Alonso or Haikkenen but while they’re held in such high regards they both have 2 titles. Mansell could be rated comfortably alongside Prost and Senna but he only has 1 title.
    Much like Vettel before him, Vestappen’s luck will run out and he won’t be able to rely on an overwhelming car advantage or a subservient teammate forever. Whether he is able to do what Vettel couldn’t (though multiple factors) and fully retain his success is to be seen.

  29. some racing fan
    27th June 2023, 1:45

    Sure he can. If he has a quick or the quickest car over the next 4 or 5 seasons

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