Max Verstappen’s dominant performance during the United States Grand Prix was hardly a surprise. In fact, everything in Formula 1 at the moment feels somewhat predictable given how much faster the Dutchman currently is than the rest of the grid.
Indeed, having won 15 out of 18 races this season, Verstappen boasts an 83 per cent win ratio with four races to go in the 2023 season. There is dominance and then there is what Verstappen is currently doing to F1 statistics and records: ripping them up!
And there appears to be no near end in sight to Verstappen’s domination. Ominously, for the rest of the drivers, there shouldn’t be any let-up in Verstappen’s will to win during the closing stages of the season despite already having won the world championship.
This is an opinion echoed in the latest F1 betting odds – especially since the market prices Carlos Sainz as the most likely driver to win 2+ races from now until the end of the season at 30/1 behind Verstappen.
In other words, the overall feeling in the latest sports tips is that Verstappen is going to continue ruthlessly snuffing out the competition by winning the majority of the remaining races this season.
It’s incredible to win my 50th Grand Prix here today. I feel very proud to achieve this! This was a tough race, but it’s great that we were still able to win. Amazing job by everyone in the team 👏 @redbullracingpic.twitter.com/9NYUOTRBDm
For the neutral spectators and perhaps those who only became invested in the sport following Netflix’s Drive to Survive series, Verstappen’s superiority may have made this season’s competition mundane viewing.
While there may be an element of truth to this, it should be stressed that Verstappen’s success is not purely down to the speed of his Red Bull. The world is witnessing an athlete at the peak of his powers – there should be an appreciation of this moment in history.
Essentially, the Dutchman has an insatiable appetite to win and is thriving on the confidence that his repeated success has given him. This run of dominance can’t merely be considered a purple patch, either, given that Verstappen has won three world titles in a row.
Instead, the 26-year-old is not simply making hay while the sun shines but rather laying the groundwork for eternal greatness in the sport. On this current trajectory, the Dutchman is on course to win the most drivers’ championships in history.
The numbers don’t lie
To do this, Verstappen will need to win eight world titles and surpass the current record holders, Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton who both have seven. Notwithstanding Verstappen’s generational talent and Red Bull’s speed, this will still be a herculean task to achieve.
However, when you take into account that, following their respective 30th birthdays, Schumacher would go on to win five world titles while Hamilton would win six, you are left with the distinct impression that a driver is not yet at his peak before this age.
Meanwhile, Verstappen has three drivers’ championships to his name and is still four years away from his 30th birthday. Realistically speaking, it looks increasingly likely that the Dutchman will, at the very least, continue this level of domination until the new F1 regulations come into effect in 2026.
By that stage, Verstappen could be within touching distance of the records of Hamilton and Schumacher and with the best years of his career still to come.
The requirements to be the greatest of all time
As with any projection pieces in F1, there are undoubtedly a few major ifs. The main ones are whether Verstappen will want to continue racing into his mid to late 30s.
Secondly, the question has to be asked whether the Dutchman will have a car that allows him to be a competitive force on the grid. Lastly, Verstappen will need a healthy dose of good old-fashioned luck if he is going to rewrite history.
You only need to consider Nicholas Latifi’s crash during the season finale in Abu Dhabi in 2021 and the extraordinary sequence of events that followed which ultimately denied Hamilton an eighth world title to understand how important the rub of the green is when chasing down immortality in the sport.