Max Verstappen became only the fifth driver in Formula 1 history to win 50 grands prix last weekend, but he acknowledged he still has a long way to go to reach the record-holder.Lewis Hamilton, whose 103 wins remains the benchmark.
“Still rookie numbers compared to Lewis,” he continued. “But for sure it’s a great number. I’m very happy with it, very proud of it, but let’s try to win a few more.”
No doubt he will. Indeed, with four rounds left this year, he could overtake Alain Prost’s 51 and Sebastian Vettel’s 53 victories to become F1’s third most-successful of all time before the season is over. Beyond them lie only Hamilton and 91-times grand prix winner Michael Schumacher.
Verstappen’s win last Sunday came from sixth on the grid and was the sixth time he has taken a victory after starting outside the top five. Schumacher managed that five times during his career, Hamilton and Prost did it four times, but Vettel’s six wins from third on the grid were the only wins he took from outside the front row.
Hamilton followed Verstappen in second place, as he did the previous two years, but the Mercedes driver was disqualified after the race. As a result, for the first time since 2010, he failed to score in two consecutive grands prix, having crashed out of the Qatar Grand Prix two weeks ago earlier. However he scored points in both sprint races.
McLaren’s Lando Norris inherited second place. He had already taken his 12th career podium, leaving him one away from matching Nick Heidfeld for the record of most grand prix podiums without a win. He is the first McLaren driver to score four podiums in a row since Jenson Button at the start of 2012.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jnr moved up to third place. This was the third time he has taken home a trophy without actually standing on the podium in F1. He did the same in the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix when Hamilton was penalised and at the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix when Vettel was disqualified.
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Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc had less luck, taking pole for the 21st time in his F1 career and then failing to covert it into a victory for the 17th time. Like Hamilton, he was disqualified and therefore it was the first F1 race to feature two disqualifications since the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix. It was also the first time the pole-winner has been disqualified from a race since Ralf Schumacher at the 2004 Canadian Grand Prix, whose Williams brake ducts infringed the rules.
From his 17 poles, Leclerc has only won four times, and made it to the podium from pole in 13 instances. Of the drivers 15 to have taken 21 poles or more poles, only Nelson Piquet won as few races as Leclerc from the first 21 times he started on pole, and he only made the podium eight times.
Juan Manuel Fangio turned nine of his first 21 poles into wins, but did not make the podium in the other 12 instances. Fernando Alonso had an especially impressive record from his first 21 pole positions, taking 13 wins and 20 podium finishes in total.
Alonso retired from last weekend’s grand prix and saw his run as the only driver this year to reach Q3 at every round come to an end. His Aston Martin team mate Lance Stroll finished seventh, his best result since finishing fourth in the sprint race at the Austrian Grand Prix, and best Sunday result since his sixth place at the Spanish Grand Prix in June. His previous best finish in North America since he finished fifth in the Daytona 24 Hours race for sportscars back in 2016, before he had made it to F1.
The home fans at Circuit of the Americas had something to cheer about post-race as the disqualifications lifted Williams’ Logan Sargeant up to tenth place and the rookie scored his first point. He is the first American to score in F1 since Michael Andretti in 1993, and the first to do so on home soil since Eddie Cheever finished third in the 1988 United States Grand Prix.
However the last American driver to finish in the top 10 at a grand prix was Scott Speed. He never scored a point in F1, but had the current scoring system been used during his career, he would have picked up six points by virtue of pairs of ninth and 10th-place finishes for Toro Rosso during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
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That team is now known as AlphaTauri, and on the last lap of Sunday’s race Yuki Tsunoda delivered them their first fastest lap since the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix. It was the first fastest lap of his F1 career. By finishing eighth he took his best result since the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and also continued a scoring run at COTA having finished ninth there in 2021 and tenth last year.
COTA has now held 11 grands prix, the same as Adelaide and Reims, but 12 F1 races courtesy of last Saturday’s sprint race. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the previous venue for the United States Grand Prix, held eight grands prix but 19 world championship races, and Watkins Glen was on the F1 calendar for 20 seasons as the longest-serving venue for the grand prix.
Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the United States Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.
2023 United States Grand Prix
- US GP was Mercedes’ best race of 2023 despite disqualification – Wolff
- Singapore and Austin retirements cost me top 10 championship place – Ocon
- United States Grand Prix result unchanged as FIA rejects Haas’ call for review
- Sargeant admits he’s ‘struggled to use all the downforce at times’ in F1
- Mercedes’ Brazilian GP set-up was “conservative” after US GP disqualification