Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023

Verstappen can’t achieve a perfect score – but he can get closer than anyone ever

2023 Belgian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Even when not starting from pole, like last weekend, Max Verstappen is maximising his points-scoring opportunities. At Spa-Francorchamps delivered his 10th grand prix win of 2023.

Lewis Hamilton pitted with two laps to go to successfully steal the fastest lap, and an extra point, from Verstappen on the final lap, but Verstappen still scored 14 points more than anyone else over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend.

This was the first time since the Canadian Grand Prix that Verstappen hasn’t taken the highest score available from a race weekend. Remarkably, Verstappen has now scored 93.5% of the points on offer this season, which would make for one of the highest achieving championship-winning campaigns since the sixties.

Of course he cannot equal the record for scoring the maximum available points in a season. This was done by Alberto Ascari in 1952, and Jim Clark in 1963 and 1965. These were all seasons when drivers could only count their best results from a portion of the races held.

However Verstappen could surpass Ascari’s 1953 campaign where he won the title with 95.8% of the points on offer. That remains the closest anyone has got to a perfect season without achieving it.

If Verstappen takes every point on offer from now on, he can finish the season with 96.5% of the maximum possible points tally. He has taken the maximum score five times already this year.

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His streak of eight grand prix wins in a row puts him one away from Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine set in 2013, and he has now stood on the podium for 13 consecutive grands prix.

With his 45th win, Verstappen now has as many victories in world championship rounds as the first four world champions combined. Between them, Giuseppe Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio, Alberto Ascari and Mike Hawthorn won 45 races and every world championship from 1950 to 1958.

Verstappen made his 152nd grand prix start for Red Bull, his loyalty now only inferior to Hamilton’s ongoing 212-race run at Mercedes and Michael Schumacher’s 179-race stint at Ferrari.

Highest proportion of available points scored in a season

Year Driver % of scorable points
1952 Alberto Ascari 100
1963 Jim Clark 100
1965 Jim Clark 100
1953 Alberto Ascari 95.8
2023 Max Verstappen 93.5*
1954 Juan Manuel Fangio 93.3
1966 Jack Brabham 93.3
1962 Graham Hill 93.3
1988 Ayrton Senna 90.9

*Season still in progress

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This was the first time in his career Verstappen has won a race from the third row of the grid. He equalled Fernando Alonso’s record for winning from the most different positions – nine. The highest position Verstappen has never won a race from is fifth; in Alonso’s case it’s seventh.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Leclerc has 20 pole positions but no world title
Sergio Perez finished a distant 22 seconds behind team mate Verstappen, but his runner-up finish (the 13th of his career) was his best result since May’s Miami Grand Prix and also his 33rd podium in Formula 1. That puts him level with Denny Hulme and Jody Scheckter, and it made for Red Bull’s 27th one-two result. Perez has scored 189 points so far in 2023, only 56.25% of the maximum possible.

Charles Leclerc was another ten seconds back in third, and his 27th visit to the podium puts him level with Bruce McLaren and Ralf Schumacher. Ferrari driver Leclerc started from pole position (earned due to qualifying pace-setter Verstappen getting a grid penalty), and he has now matched Damon Hill and Valtteri Bottas with 20 poles to his name. Along with the latter, he shares the unwanted record for most pole positions without a world championship title.

While Verstappen also won Saturday’s sprint race, the drivers who finished second, third and fourth in that did not even score on Sunday.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon finished a grand prix in eighth place for the fourth time this year. He has only twice finished higher than that in the last 16 races. AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda finished tenth and scored a point for the first since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

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McLaren had more reason to celebrate, getting one car onto the sprint race podium, and moving up to 103 points this season. Their 16-point haul may have seemed a disappointment by recent standards but was still more than anything they managed in the first nine races, and they out-scored Aston Martin for the third race in a row.

A theme of the year is that while Verstappen is miles ahead, it’s close behind him. A total of 18 drivers finished the grand prix on the lead lap. This is the first time that has happened on a permanent circuit in F1 in a grand prix run to full distance since the 2018 Chinese Grand Prix.

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

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2023 Belgian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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73 comments on “Verstappen can’t achieve a perfect score – but he can get closer than anyone ever”

  1. Honestly, they can’t put in these eras in comparison to 2023. First of all, not all of them had points for fastest lap. So, there were 5 races where Max missed out on FL, so technically, Verstappen has only dropped points in 2 races.. not 7. Secondly, The seasons in the 50s and 60 were half the length of the current calendar. So, if we’re comparing seasons, maybe take Max’s best 12 or 13 races this season and compare with equivalent length seasons. Thirdly, there are different race formats, development regulations, budget caps, etc. which are aimed at making it more competitive today. None of that existed in the 50s and 60s.. or even up until recently, so again not an accurate assessment.

    Just feel there’s little point to this whole analysis.

    1. Coventry Climax
      2nd August 2023, 14:05

      which are aimed at making it more competitive today

      No. They’re aimed at equalising things, and that’s a completely different concept from competitive.

    2. For me, Clark was, and still is the GOAT. Not only did he score maximum as defined by the system at the time, twice, he was also in a championship winning position in ’62 and ’64 in the last race when his car let him down [after he’d got fastest lap of course].

      Reliability is the biggest difference between then and now.

      Today, I wonder what might happen were Ash Sutton in a single seater, he’s the closest I’ve seen to a ‘natural’ who isn’t in F1 right now. Tin top drivers slow? How many ex single seater drivers have succeeded when they went to BTCC or NASCAR? Contrast with the one-off appearance at a leading karting competition [at LeMans IIRC] by Sutton where it took but a couple of heats and semis for him to win overall against all the regulars. Doubtless he went for practice beforehand, but still, impressive adaptability.

    3. There was a point for a fastest lap in 1952. Also, not all races counted towards the overall score. In 1952 for example, the 4 best results out of the 8 races counted towards the championship.

      1. Also, not all races counted towards the overall score.
        Yes, many things have changed, but this is the trickiest of them all
        Of course nobody has ever scored a 100% of all available points, only 100% of those that count for the championship

        Alberto Ascari did not even enter one race in 1952 (the Swiss GP) and retired from Indy 500, he made a perfect score (9 points: win + flap) in five races plus 8.5 points in another (the Monza flap was shared with José Froilán González) which is a total of 53.5 points of a maximum of 72, so his 100% score (36/36 because only the best four races counted) would have been 74.31%, well below what Max has now (anyway it is an astonishing 99.07%, 53.5/54 in the six races he finished)

        In 1953 Alberto Ascari got 34.5 of the maximum 36 in his best four races (got 5 wins, but only 2.5 flaps, sharing the Silverstone flap again with José Froilán González) so it was 95.83% but his total score was 46.5 of a maximum of 81 so only 57.41%. In the six races he finished (did not enter Indy 500 and retired from Monza and Nurburgring, although he still got 1 point for the flap in the Nordschleife) he made 45.5/54 = 84.26%, not bad but doable.

        About Jim Clark’s perfect scores of 1963 & 1965, let’s see: 54/54 in both years (only the six best results counted, the win was 9 points and the flap did not count) but counting all the points it was 73/90 = 81.11% in 1963 and 54/90 = 60.00% in 1965 (yas, Jim Clark got 6 victories but not a single point more: did not enter Monaco, was 10th in Monza and retired from Watkins Glen and Magdalena Mixhuca -later Hermanos Rodríguez.

        Juan Manuel Fangio 1954: 42/45 = 93.33 (six victories and only five counted, plus 2 flaps) but the total points were 57+1/7 (yes. the Silverstone flap was shared by an incredible 7 drivers), of a possible total of 81, that is 70.55%

        Jack Brabham 1966: 5 best races: 4 wins and a second, 42/45 = 93.33, but counting all the points it was 45/81 = 55.56%

        Graham Hill 1962: 5 best races: 4 wins and a second, 42/45 = 93.33, but counting all the points it was 52/81 = 64.20%

        Ayrton Senna 1988: Here the best 11 results counted, with 8 wins and 3 seconds it was 90/99 = 90.91% but counting all the points it was 94/144 = 65.28%

        In short: counting all the points and not an arbitrary maximum number of races, no driver has scored a higher percentage of points in F1 history than Max has now. Not ever close, all those results over 90% come down below 75% when counting all the points (and yes, reliability was much more of a problem then, so the maximum number of races made more sense back then). However, the season is not over yet, but my bet is that Max will come on top.

  2. that’s the type of statistics FIA had in mind when they’re were thinking about the new generation of cars that would provide better racing.

    1. They didn’t account for Max. If Perez and Stroll were driving for Red Bull, we could actually have a decent 3 or 4 way fight for the title this year.

      1. I don’t think it’s the FIA’s fault either. They can change the rules 1000 times and there’d always be a team that interprets it best. Given the right car, a slightly above average driver can easily have a streak of victories in F1 (e.g. Button 2009). Heck Perez would win this year (and possibly last) if Max wasn’t his team mate. I know…PEREZ?? Rosberg would be a 5+ time world champion without Lewis. Because the car was just that good.

        I’m wondering if the core concept of F1 is flawed. Perhaps to prevent the domination of 1 driver, we’d need the same car for all drivers. But then there’d still be like 5 drivers always getting wins; while the others are begging for scraps. But at least we’d actually not know who’d win the next race.

        Another outlandish idea is to rotate the drivers between teams every year. So we get to see a new set of drivers at Redbull next year and see how they compare. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen. But I do like the idea of Max having to drive a Williams next year, and then possibly a McLaren in the next.

        So I don’t see this domination (of 1 team) stopping at all. Once Redbull is done, it’ll be McLaren for 2 years, then Aston Martin for 4 years, then Mercedes for 3, and on and on…

        We either accept it, or switch off the TV.

        1. Another outlandish idea is to rotate the drivers between teams every year. So we get to see a new set of drivers at Redbull next year and see how they compare. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen. But I do like the idea of Max having to drive a Williams next year, and then possibly a McLaren in the next.

          Honestly, I wish that was the way drivers were picked by the teams.. a bit like an NBA draft. But, it could become a bit of a circus. A better approach would be to have a maximum 3 year contract for a team per driver, after which they have to rotate.

      2. @todfod yeah, if it wasn’t for Max, this would actually be an incredible season. One for the ages. Aston, Merc, Ferrari, McLaren & Perez can finish anywhere from weekend to weekend and I expect that to continue to the end of the season.

        Could probably count Lance out, but the rest would be a good battle.

        1. This season is even more incredible because Max is here. Years ago, before Max drove in F1, Max, Jos Verstappen, and another man got onto the bus I was driving. As Max got onto the bus God said to me “He will be the greatest driver ever, the greatest F1 driver ever”. We will never see another driver as good as Max.

      3. Any top driver would do similar in that car .

      4. I disagree, perez is having too easy a time holding others off and would have an even easier time since he would win majority of the races without verstappen (massive gap between 1st and 2nd points).

      5. Pérez is driving for Red Bull, and he is a comfortable second in the championship even without taking serious part in qualifying half the time.

    2. There will be an end on dominant teams, when fia stops changing the rules every time.
      Freeze the rules and in a few years things will converge..

  3. The last paragraph in a different perspective: every finisher stayed on the lead lap in a full-distance race which didn’t have any safety car. I think it’s more astonishing if you put it this way. When I’ll have time, I’ll try to check when this happened the last time.

    1. Indeed being more specific, while all finishing drivers have stayed on the lead lap throughout a full race distance many times (in this season’s British GP, most recently before the last race), I also struggle to recall the previous entirely SC & Red-free race without any lapping.

    2. There were some good-sized gaps in there too, such as the one behind Verstappen… and the gaps around Hamilton after he stopped for his shot at the fastest lap.

  4. Coventry Climax
    2nd August 2023, 14:19

    As far as I’m aware, motorracing is competitors starting at the same time, with the winner being the one that finishes the distance first. Which means the goal of motor racing is putting in the fastest laps on average.

    So if fastest laps on average is the goal, what’s the fastest lap got to do with it? Especially if it doesn’t get you anywhere regarding the actual goal?
    Why award points for something that is not the goal of the sport in the first place? That’s like deducting bonus seconds for a runner with the prettiest laces in his shoes.
    And the FIA themselves know it, as otherwise they wouldn’t limit the point to the top 10. They would then allow a driver to start with just enough fuel to do only a couple of laps, be fastest but retire yet claim that point.
    It’s like fastest sector time in a drag race. Pointless. Oh dear, I’ve just given them a new idea.. Are drag races FIA managed? I hope not.

  5. “count there best results from a portion of the races”


  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    2nd August 2023, 14:50

    But those results are almost meaningless when it comes to Max at this point. No one will ever know how fast he is until he goes to another team. At the start of the season Perez was within 0.2 seconds and now he practically can’t reach Q2. It’s like a tennis player not being able to hit 1 ball back all of a sudden and everyone assuming that he’s not a professional player anymore. If a top 10-20 player cannot hit the ball, I can assure you it’s the ball or the racquet. In F1 terms, it’s either the car or the tyres. Something’s clearly different.

    It’s a shame that Max is so averse to competition which his dad clearly knows and must be in constant talks with Marko to make sure that there’s no competition. I’d love to see Max duking it out like Nadal – it would elevate him as a player in my mind as opposed to asking Head, Wilson, Babolat, and the ATP to make worse racquets for everyone but himself.

    “Please make worse racquets for everyone else” are not a champion’s words that you should become known for. It belittles everything you achieve.

    1. Coventry Climax
      2nd August 2023, 16:13

      If a top 10-20 player cannot hit the ball, I can assure you it’s the ball or the racquet.

      or his/her eyes
      or his/her progressing age
      or his/her inability to adept from hardcourt to grass or gravel
      or an injury. knee, foot, hip, back, anything
      or family issues
      or desintegrated motivation

      OK, you get the gist. There’s a million reasons why someone ‘suddenly’ doesn’t perform anymore.
      The point however is, with Perez, it’s hardly ‘suddenly’, as he never was a true top contender anyway. He had his moments, but that’s not the same.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        2nd August 2023, 17:38

        @Coventry Climax a competing top 10-20 player would usually not suffer from any of the above.

        1. Coventry Climax
          3rd August 2023, 0:38

          Did you read my last line as well?

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            3rd August 2023, 17:06

            “I look at what happened even on the weekend at Spa, Max got ahead of him, and he put 22 seconds on him in 27 laps,

            “You know, that’s a big chunk of performance to put around a track where they’re spending a lot of time at full throttle driving in a straight line, essentially.

            And that’s while GP is actually asking Max to slow down while he’s joking that he can add another 10-15 seconds and take a free pitstop over Perez so effectively nearly 2 seconds faster. I rest my case.

    2. Or, perhaps, one can come to the bizarre conclusion that as soon as Max got to grips with the car he is simply able to extract a lot more out of it than Perez? And that difference might very well be due to a difference in training and talent? Until there is clear evidence, the different car hypothesis makes no sense. Perez would, nor should, ever accept it, and if he is unaware of it, that would be down to his own stupidity.

      If you had followed Max throughout karting and F3 you would have known that he had the potential to do what we are seeing now. Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari all saw it too, since there was interest from all these teams. For now, there’s very few drivers on the grid who would be able to challenge him for a full season right away. Hamilton and Alonso maybe if they got into the Red Bull next year, after 3 races or so. Russel, Norris, Leclerc potentially as well, maybe with a bit more practice time. The rest, unlikely, with Piastri still being a bit of an unknown.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        2nd August 2023, 17:44

        @BamBoomBots I’m not denying that Max is a fast driver – there’s a difference between being fast and what we are seeing. The overtake on Ricciardo at Baku illustrates the sheer complexities of overtaking the other car with any modicum of defense.

        I almost feel that Red Bull’s pleas with Verstappen are along the lines of “please don’t show the car’s true pace especially against Perez as everyone not wearing an orange jersey will be onto us”

        1. “please don’t show the car’s true pace especially against Perez as everyone not wearing an orange jersey will be onto us”

          I remember people being upset at this idea during Mercedes’ domination. When Toto was cautious about the opposition, all the outrage online that erupted. All that is gone now, for the better.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            2nd August 2023, 20:05


            I remember people being upset at this idea during Mercedes’ domination. When Toto was cautious about the opposition, all the outrage online that erupted. All that is gone now, for the better

            Mercedes domination, however, was one of the great eras of F1 racing with usually a huge battle or truly impressive performances on-track by the drivers. I’m not sure how it’s better. Brundle is equally surprised as I am when I see Max’s overtakes and Red Bull’s ability to overtake right out of a corner. It seems like a Hypercar overtaking a LMP2 car.

    3. I feel that’s quite disrespectful to what Max is displaying. His consistency under changing circumstances is what makes the difference. That is an element a champion has (to have) under control. People put a lot of wild thoughts into why Max is driving faster (Perez has the same car but it is set up for Max or the opposite Max has a better car or whatever tin foil stuff). The reality is, that it isn’t just about the driving. It’s about everything. It’s the approach to the whole weekend, the ability to build up the sessions, to fine tune the car to specific track conditions. To challenge your team. All this translates into race pace. Max is not ‘just’ being fast. There is much more to why he is so far ahead. All this he keeps up week after week. Maybe Perez can do it at the start of the season when there are more tracks to his likings. The idea of becoming a champion is to be able to do all this all year long.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        3rd August 2023, 15:47

        I feel that’s quite disrespectful to what Max is displaying.

        Well, I think respect is earned and I apologize if I wasn’t born in Holland (although I love Holland and Belgium for personal reasons) to automatically support Verstappen even as he proves to be the most unsportsmanlike champion. For instance, I may like Tsitsipas but when he acts badly and disrespects other players or his parents on court, I really have no respect for him even though I’m almost required to.

        When I see Verstappen not willing to return the favor towards Perez who helped him win his 1st championship in the fight against Leclerc, it’s hard to respect him. And that’s not taking his homicidal bumper car driving in 2021 (and other seasons). Djokovic got disqualified for hitting a ball at a linesperson at reasonable speeds (as did Miyu Kato at Rolland Garros this year in what was the most unfair call of all time behind Masi’s). Verstappen did that a dozen times with lethal consequences in 2021 and got away with it. In fact, the FIA literally offered him the championship for that driving.

        It should be obvious that I don’t respect Verstappen and no F1 or sports fan should as it’s the only logical choice – I do respect the team’s results although those have come into question due to the budget overspending and the lack of any penalty.

        But what really makes have no respect for Max is his adversity towards competition something his dad probably instilled in him as he couldn’t handle the competition himself. I love when a competitor says “bring it on – I don’t care that your car is slightly faster, I’m still going to wipe the floor with you cause I am better.” Case in point, Alonso or Hamilton. They are absolutely 100% confident in their skill and are not afraid of competition. They are afraid of being beaten but there’s a world of difference between being a coward and being a champion.

        His consistency under changing circumstances is what makes the difference.

        Was he as consistent at the start of the season where he and Jos seemed genuinely annoyed at Perez’s pace and results?Anyone could have seen Marko’s and Horner’s shock and displeasure which, of course, translated into Perez turning into Webber overnight.

        1. Wow….

          Your comments are so contradicting.
          So on the one hand you like a driver to say:

          “bring it on – I don’t care that your car is slightly faster, I’m still going to wipe the floor with you cause I am better but when someone actually does that, you think that this driver in particular takes it to far?

          I especially disagree with this part:

          When I see Verstappen not willing to return the favor towards Perez who helped him win his 1st championship

          If Checo would have been a proper second driver, especially at the beginning of that season, he would have snooped so many points away from Mercedes, that Hamilton would never had the chance to equalize on points for the last race.

          Yes, max called him a “legend “, but I tend to disagree with that

          Btw I am a fan of the sport, not of a driver

        2. I struggle to see what Jos has to do with anything. It is clear somehow the family rubbed you the wrong way. Pity you can’t enjoy what is being displayed, which is quite exceptional for those who have been following this sport for decades.

    4. It’s a shame that Max is so averse to competition

      you really do not know the guy.. maybe some docus will help to solve your obvious lack on the knowledge dept.

  7. With victory in the Belgian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen has now won three of the four classic races on the calendar, and could become the first driver in history to win all four in the same season if he wins at Monza as well.

    The other drivers to win three out of four are:
    Alberto Ascari (1952) – won at Spa, Silverstone and Monza but there was no Monaco Grand Prix that season. It was instead run as a sportscar race and Ascari didn’t enter.

    Jim Clark (1963) – won at Spa, Silverstone and Monza, but retired from the Monaco Grand Prix while leading due to gearbox failure with 22 laps to go, and Graham Hill won.

    Alain Prost (1985) – won at Monaco, Silverstone and Monza, but finished third in Spa as he backed off after Alboreto retired to get some points rather than risking retirement going after Ayrton Senna, who won.

    Ayrton Senna (1990) – won at Monaco, Spa and Monza, but finished third in Silverstone having led the first few laps, struggling with his car, and Alain Prost won.

    Damon Hill (1994) – won at Silverstone, Spa and Monza but retired in Monaco after colliding with Hakkinen on lap one, and Michael Schumacher won.

    Sebastian Vettel (2011) – won at Monaco, Spa and Monza but finished second in Silverstone after Fernando Alonso got ahead of him in the pits and won.

    Lewis Hamilton (2015) – won at Silverstone, Spa and Monza but finished third in Monaco after the team mistakenly pitted him under the final safety car, thinking he had the gap which he didn’t, and Nico Rosberg won. This is surely the closest anybody has got so far to winning all four.

    Lewis Hamilton (2017) – won at Silverstone, Spa and Monza but had a lacklustre race in Monaco, starting 13th and finishing 7th as Sebastian Vettel won.

    Ayrton Senna also came very close to winning all four in 1988. He won both Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps dominantly, and would have done the same in both Monaco and Monza but for needless crashes while dominating. Monaco was the unforced error at Portier and Monza the incident with Jean-Louis Schlesser.

    1. @f1frog I’d consider Suzuka among those circuits as well.

      1. Suzuka is perhaps a modern classic, but it didn’t appear on the calendar until 1987. Silverstone, Monaco, Spa-Francorchamps and Monza were all on the original 1950 calendar of world championship races (along with Bremgarten and Reims, and the Indy 500 which also still exists with the same amount of relevance to the Formula 1 world championship as in 1950) so are the four classic circuits, although they have had periods off the calendar, most notably as Spa was off it from 1971-1982 and Silverstone used to alternate with Aintree and Brands Hatch.

        1. Then Zandvoort is a classic race too, inspite of it not being on the calendar from 1985 to 2021.

      2. I think the definition is made based on the circuits that were part of the 1950 F1 season and are still used today

    2. Now you done gone and jinxed him.

      Seriously though, that’s actually a pretty cool fact.

      1. Nobody has won Monaco and Monza in the same year since Sebastian Vettel in 2011, so the odds are not in Verstappen’s favour.

        1. Well, with this red bull I don’t see how they’re not in his favour!

    3. @f1frog I was surprised to see Hill on this list. But he did do 3/4. Another way of looking at it though is Schumacher got 100% of the ones he wasn’t banned or disqualified from.

      Hill did do well to take full advantage of Schumachers absence however, something which I think is often overlooked. And adding Suzuka only helps his case.

  8. Max Verstappen joined Juan Manuel Fangio, Sebastian Vettel, & Damon Hill with three wins at Spa-Francorchamps.

    He also became only the second driver to win eight consecutive races.

    Kevin Magnussen’s only points-scoring finish at Spa-Francorchamps was also Haas’ most recent Belgian GP, where they finished in the points.

    Pierre Gasly’s & Alex Albon’s 100% points-scoring records at Spa-Francorchamps ended.

    Charles Leclerc maintained a front-row streak on 2023 sprint weekends.

    Friday qualifying had both drivers from five teams in Q3 & likewise in shootout qualifying, with the only difference being Alpine rather than AM.

    George Russell was the last to proceed to SQ2 & SQ3 + finished last in the final segment.

    Oscar Piastri led for the first time in F1, even if not yet in an actual race, & more notably, he became the first rookie to lead a racing lap since Esteban Gutierrez in the 2013 Spanish GP, where he temporarily led for two laps (11-12), something I’d totally forgotten & probably more or less everyone else too.

    The first entirely slick-free sprint.

    The third entirely neutralization-free 2023 race & the second without any lapping, meaning the last paragraph is inaccurate because the British GP also had all finishing drivers staying on the lead lap through the entire race distance while, of course, in most SC or red flag-affected races drivers who’d initially got lapped ultimately finished on the lead lap.

    With his 33rd podium finish, Sergio Perez coincidently surpassed Daniel Ricciardo in podium appearance amount.

  9. the reliability of the RBR is what is most impressive so far. not a single issue affecting them on Sundays

  10. Maybe you have not noticed this stat about Max because the focus is on total number of wins and I find a lot more meaningful the % of wins/races entered, because in the last few years there are about 3-4x more races/year than in the early days. The caveat is that in the 50s the Indy 500 race did count as F1 and we have a couple drivers who never raced a real F1 race and do score very high (Lee Wallard with 50%. 1 race won of 2 Indy 500 entered, and Bill Vukovich with 40%, 2 wins of 5 entered) so I will ignore these two guys.

    A week ago max had 44 wins of 174 F1 races entered, that is 25.29%, right behind Alain Prost with 25.63% (51/199) and Ayrton Senna with 25.47% (41/161), and right ahead of Stirling Moss (24.24%, 16/66)

    Now Max has 25.71% (45/175) and has surpassed both Alain and Ayrton with the Spa race win.

    What lies ahead? In case that Max wins the next 10 races till Abu Dhabi (not very likely, everyone can have a bad day at the office, and Checo might just win another, say Singapore) he will have 29.73% (55/185) and will have surpassed both Jackie Stewart (27.27%, 27/99) and Michael Schumacher (29.64%, 91/307) and entered the top 5.

    My prediction is that Max will easily surpass Sir Stewart this season, and most likely will surpass Schuey next year, provided next year`s RBR is up to the task.

    Is a top 3 possible? No #3 is Jim Clark, an absolute legend, with 34.72% (25/72). If Max can win the next 35 races (near zero probability, I’d say, even if the 2024 RBR is still ahead of the competition) he would reach 35% (70/200) now a more realistic view (still astonishing, mind you) assuming a total of 24 races next season, would be 28 wins out of 34 races left until the end of next season (34.93%, 73/209) just ahead of Jim Clark.

    Anyway, if both Max and RBR maintain their present state of form for two more seasons, the top 3 for Max may be achievable but unlikely before 2025.

    Still ahead? The much forgotten Alberto Ascari was an absolute beast and in 1952 and 1953 with the superb Ferrari 500 won pretty much everything, which means a lot considering JM Fangio was there (1952 was the most dominant season ever by a single pilot, that is, unless Max wins every race left this season). Ascari has 40.63% wins (13/32). Winning the next 45 races (now how does that sound?), Max would get 40.915 (90/220). A bit less hard, considering 24 races in both 2024 and 2025, Max would need to win 50 of the next 58 races up to the end of 2025 to make 40.77% (95/233) and beat Alberto Ascari for #2

    What else? Well, if Max beats El Chueco’s 47.06% (24/51) I’ll eat my hat (even if I have to buy one first). Not even winning every race left in 2023 plus 24 races both in 2024 and 2025 would do the trick. It would take winning also the 13 first races of 2026 (a stretch of 69 consecutive race wins, counting the 8 Max has now) to make it 47.15% (116/246). Or winning 76 of the 82 races left until the end of 2026 (counting 24 in 2024-26) Max would make 47.08% (121/257). That would be in case somebody is still watching F1. And please may someone tell me were can I buy an edible hat?

    Even more? Let’s get back to that pesky Lee Wallard who only won once (1951 Indy 500) but has a 50% record (Lee also raced Indy 500 in 1950 but was not classified, and that’s it). Well, Max after winning the next 85 races (that would be 93 consecutive wins, what’s the odds for that?) say in the third race of 2027 (with 24 races in 2024-26) would have 130/260 (50%), a tie with Lee Wallard. Just one more win next race and the absolute record would be Max’s.

    In short: with the Spa win, Max (who was last week just ahead of the great Stirling Moss) has surpassed both Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost in the % race wins/entered races stat. Jackie Stewart is on the cards for later this year, while surpassing Michael Schumacher would take winning all 10 races left this season. If both Max and RBR keep something like the present state of form Schuey will anyway be surpassed next season, while Jim Clark (and the top 3 position) seems quite difficult to achieve, requiring several more seasons of Max/RBR dominance (and boredom). Surpassing Ascari will be extremely difficult, and El Chueco well nigh impossible. My prediction for Max’s position at retirement from F1 is 4th, just maybe 3rd.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      2nd August 2023, 20:13

      The % always change at the end of a driver’s career as victories are less frequent.

      I think the bigger question is whether Max would be alive to reach any percentages if he drove in another era. I suspect he would have perished in his first race.

      1. The % always change at the end of a driver’s career as victories are less frequent.

        Well, it depends. Successful pilots tend to overstay their welcome, even the greatest ever, El Chueco, who was drained after the astonishing 1957 Nordschleife win (best ever in F1 if you ask me*) and maybe should have not raced in 1958 (up to 1957 he always was first or second, in 1958 fourteenth with no wins).

        But too many drivers have bought the six-feet farm in their prime, think Jim Clark or Jochen Rindt, and a few have refused to defend their championship, à la Nico Rosberg.

        What will Max do when he’s up the hill? Nobody knows, but he has repeatedly stated that he has many other racing interests outside F1, so I hope he won’t be abusing our patience like Schuey, Seb or Kimi did, and Sir is doing now.

        *Up there with the Tazio Nuvolari 1935 German GP win, but it was not F1 yet. Another incredible victory by Nuvolari was the 1933 24 hours of Le Mans, when he had to repeatedly plug a leaking fuel tank with chewing gum LOL.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          3rd August 2023, 17:00

          so I hope he won’t be abusing our patience like Schuey, Seb or Kimi did, and Sir is doing now.

          Schumacher was still competitive as a driver at Mercedes before his accident. He just didn’t care for P8 or P9 whereas Rosberg collected the points so he can tally them at the end and have a higher score than Schumacher.

          Not sure what happened to Vettel at Ferrari but he wasn’t 0.7 seconds slower than Leclerc in qualifying.

          Lewis is still doing great – if you could make a solid case that he doesn’t belong in F1, then by extension neither does Verstappen, Norris, Alonso or anyone else so we’d have an empty grid as no one is good enough to be in F1.

          1. Would do pretty well in a crane-riding competition

    2. If Max can win the next 35 races

      Typo, the next 25 races

    3. (a stretch of 69 consecutive race wins

      another typo, 79 consecutive race wins

    4. Very interesting set oh historical facts.

      The issues with % wins in a historical context are considerable

      Everything from the number of races, types of car, reliability and even whose car you use all the way down to do you include the Tasman challenge?

      On top of that the more races per year or across a career make keeping a high percentage difficult.

      Why I appreciate your focus is completely MV – I wonder why you have left out LH – he was holding at 33% or more at the end of 2021?

      1. holding at 33% or more at the end of 2021?

        31.99% at present and dropping each new race. Still a little bit over Schuey yet and very far from Jim Clark

        As an active driver Sir is still a moving target who may take a little bit more that Schuey to overcome but making predictions is harder when there are two variables, all other relevant drivers are long retired.

        Max cannot get ahead this season even winning all 10 races left (Max would have 29.73% while Sir drops to 31.02%). In the best case scenario Max would overtake Sir after the 3rd race next season, winning the next 13 races (a sequence of 21!!). By then the scores would be 58/188 = 30.85% vs. 103/335 = 30.75%. Unlikely that early, but if next season is somewhat like the present one the overtake us on the cards.

        1. My point was – it is much much harder to retain a high percentage over many hundreds of races rather than the few. Lewis and Shuey have a 150 odd more than Max which in all honesty makes their percentages amazing.

          Seb used to be right up there at the end of his RB tenure then….

          Jim will probably never be touched and given the reliability of his cars, it was an astonishing feat – particularly given the statistics he developed in the Tasman challenge and F2. He held all three at one point winning over 90 races in that year. Think about that for a while.

          1. No doubt Jim was an absolute panjandrum anyway for most of his F1 career he drove those Lotuses (Loti??) with the Colin Chapman jinx, so nimble but extremely fragile. Hard to say what Jim could have achieved if 1) the cars he drove would have been a bit more reliable, and 2) his career had not been tragically cut short.
            I tend to consider JM Fangio as the best driver ever but Jim comes very close. If there’s something El Chueco did better than Jim is that he knew when to be conservative (“you have to win by being as slow as possible”) while Jim was more of a hell for leather kind of driver.
            Max has a great advantage over those early drivers: the reliability of the RBR’s is incomparably better*. On the other hand I do not believe that the number or races means a big advantage for Max. You get outliers when the number of races is very small (Nobody believes that Lee Wallard is the F1 GOAT with 1 win in 2 races) but Max us now close to 200 hundred which is more than enough (Jim entered only 72). And probably will end his career with more races than Schuey and more than Sir has now (I don’t have any idea how many more seasons will Sir keep lurching ahead).

            You believe Jim will not be touched, ok, for this particular statistic I find Max has a chance of surpassing Jim but only (big if) if RBR can deliver a dominant car for a few more seasons. But I predict Jackie Stewart, Schuey and Sir will be behind Max by the end of next season unless next years RBR is a flop

            Of course if Max finally surpasses Jim it doesn’t necessarily make him a better driver. You can’t really compare drivers after half a century of changes, and Jim was seriously handicapped by the Lotus’ unreliability. But Max is a serious contender for the top five ever (besides El Chueco and Jim I have Alberto Ascari, Alain Prost and Schuey up there).

          2. *(from previous post)
            One way you could somehow equalize for mechanical unreliability is discounting unfinished races when due to mech failure, not driver error.

            You then have the stupefying record of Alberto Ascari in 1952. Of a total of six races (not counting Indy 500 for mech failure and also I will not count the Swiss GP which AA did not enter because it was coincident in time with the qualification for Indy 500 so you couldn’t enter both, even when both counted for the F1 WDC. Weird), AA won all six, and made the fastest lap in them all, only sharing the Monza flap with Froilán kept him from a perfect score (he made 53.5 points of 54 possible, that’s > 99%. You can bet the farm this mark will never be beaten. On a season like this one with 620 points on offer you could only miss 5 points. But of course is is easier to have a sequence on 6 (near) perfect races than one of 22.

  11. I understand why you are being cautious, but Verstappen winning all the remaining races is a real possibility. The car is reliable, the driver is reliable, the team is reliable and they are on a league of their own performance wise.
    I’m not looking forward it, but they can do it. Calum Nicholas, power unit technician at RB said it is his personal goal (and I think a lot of people at RB aim for the same result).

    1. This was a reply to melanos comment.

      1. Appreciated, thanks. Now, 18 consecutive victories seems a little bit unreal.

        I’ll do a bit of math. The probability of Max wining a given GP cannot be much higher than 90%. Yes, he is the best driver with the fastest car, but a lot of things can go wrong.

        Well, the probability of a sequence of 10 wins with 90% probability each is 34.87%, a little bit over 1/3. So, doable but not very likely. I would not bet on it.

    2. I did not watch the whole Calum Nicholas vid (its loooong) but what I gather is that he and the team are aiming for a 100% win rate for RBR these season, which is not the same as Max winning them all.

      Max may have a bad day at the office any weekend and still Checo can win. And maybe, just maybe, in a particular circuit (I am thinking of Singapore) he can be genuinely faster than Max. Earlier this season he was doing great in urban circuits, and he seems to be recovering somewhat from a serious mid-season slump.

  12. Some good points raised above highlighting how questionable it is to try to compare different eras. Look at the differences between 2023 and 1973, half a century ago,

    1973: 18 constructors
    2023: 10 constructors (if you count Red Bull and Alpha Tauri as two)

    1973: 2 tyre suppliers, Firestone and Goodyear
    2023: Monopoly supplier, and the same size tyres on all cars

    1973: 44 drivers (Jackie Ickx drove for three different teams during the season)
    2023: 21 drivers so far

    1973: Points awarded to top 6, best 13 of 15 race results counted
    2023: Points awarded to top 10, all 22 race results are counted

    Back in 73, only a handful of drivers could score points, whearas these days, half the field can come away with something in the record books, so there would be more pressure in 73 to try radical ideas, take a risk with set up etc. The greater numbers of drivers meant the more chance there was of one of these pulling off the odd shock result, and the more chance of them colliding with the championship leader.

    Added to that, because all races now count towards the total, it now pays to build cars for reliability, and generic cars suited to all tracks, rather than something which could be massively fast at, say, Monza, blows up like a hand grenade at Silverstone, and be incapable of steering round the hairpin at Monaco. We no longer have some tracks better suited to one tyre supplier, some better suited to the other. Even the dimensions of wings are massively regulated.

    The current rules prescribe an incedible amount of sameness, and worst of all, they have killed off the in-season engineering development race.

    If you look at the qualifying times across the seasons, the gaps are not really that different. The difference is that in 2023, a car which is “dominant” by a fraction of a second per lap at the opening race is likely to be just as dominant at every other race throughout the season, so more likely to get records like “most wins in a season”, “most consecutive wins” etc. Yes, Verstappen, Hamilton, Vettel, all great drivers, but comparing their records with earlier years is pretty meaningless because the rules and constructor regulations change so massively from era to era.

  13. Ferrari driver Leclerc started from pole position and he has now matched Damon Hill and Valtteri Bottas with 20 poles to his name. Along with the latter, he shares the unwanted record for most pole positions without a world championship title.

    More striking is that of those 20 poles, Leclerc has failed to win 16 of the races. This 80% ‘failure rate’ is extremely high, and is up there with the likes of David Coulthard (12 poles, 2 converted to a win) and René Arnoux (18 poles, 2 converted to a win). That said, it’s not all bad. Even three time champion Nelson Piquet squandered most of his poles (24 poles, 5 converted to a win).

    It does however contrast dramatically with Verstappen, who has an over 80% ‘success rate’. This is also very high, as people like Alonso, Hamilton, Schumacher, Prost, and Vettel all hover around the 60% mark.

    1. Sorry, reported by mistake when trying to reply

  14. 2nd consecutive year that Verstappen has been fastest in Q3 in Spa by over half a second but not started on pole.

    Leclerc’s 3 front-row starts and 3 podiums in 2023 have come at the 3 Sprint weekends.

    Russell had never finished 6th prior to Hungary – he has now managed it 2 races in a row.

    300th consecutive race in which at least 1 Mercedes-powered car has finished in a points-scoring position – last race without was Japan 2008.

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

    1. Leclerc’s 3 front-row starts and 3 podiums in 2023 have come at the 3 Sprint weekends.

      @paulgilb While this is probably a coincidence, it’s nevertheless an interesting quirk. It could also indicate Ferrari has a harder time finding the maximum performance through setup changes, so with more FP time they lose a bit of ground to other teams. Which does somewhat match their frequent statements about being unsure about where potential gains can be found and about why the car sometimes does both better and worse than they had expected.

    2. Japan 2008 – Belgium 2023 is 290th consecutive race; still an amazing achievement

  15. Tiaki Porangi
    3rd August 2023, 0:27

    The name “Formula 1” aside, there’s literally nothing in the current championship that can meaningfully be compared to previous generations from even just 20 years ago.
    For all practical purposes, they’re totally different series, with different rules, different cars, different points scoring systems, different everything.
    We might as well compare today’s F1 with, say, the 2002 Indy Car series.

    1. You are of course right, but why spoil the fun?

  16. Still don’t understand why they count starting position on Sunday as pole when Qualifying happens on a Saturday…

    Does whoever is fastest in Q3 a dis-service (especially when it’s a penalty that is completely unrelated to their performance that causes the grid drop) and it pads stats of other drivers that either haven’t earned it, or in Leclerc’s case, probably don’t want it.

    Schumacher absolutely deserves his 2012 Monaco pole to count, just like Max deserves a lap .8s faster than anybody else to count.

    1. In a sprint weekend, quali starts on friday. That were max took the pole.
      The shootout is the quali on saturday for the sprint race on Saturday

    2. Luke, I think it is natural for people to say Max was fastest in qualifying last weekend, and was then penalised, but wrong to say that he was penalised for something completely unrelated to his performance. He was penalised because he had the benefit of a new powertrain component, and the other drivers he was beating didn’t have that advantage. If he’d stuck with his original engine he might not have got out of Q1. The driver who ran a car entirely within the regs and is promoted from P2 to P1 has definitely earned it.

      1. It was not a powertrain component but a gearbox!
        Changing parts outside the quotum is very much into the rules. There even is a rule about it: hence the 5 grid penalty
        So your statement:

        The driver who ran a car entirely within the regs

        suggesting there were cars outside the regs, is incorrect also.

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