Max Verstappen has enjoyed his most dominant F1 season to date this year, with the Dutchman having already wrapped up his third straight Drivers’ Championship title. He has managed to win 17 races in the process and will be looking to add to his tally by claiming another victory at next weekend’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.
Verstappen currently sits at the top of the standings on 524 points, having already broken the record he set last year for the highest number of points in a single season. Remarkably, it also means that he would win the Constructors’ Championship by himself if he was Red Bull’s only driver.
The Austrian outfit are currently on 782 points with two races to go, meaning they cannot be caught at the top of the team standings. Mercedes are their closest contenders with 382 points and can only get an absolute maximum of 468 points if Lewis Hamilton and George Russell secure one-two finishes in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi.
It serves to highlight just how dominant Verstappen has been over the course of this season, with the 25-year-old standing head and shoulders above the rest of the drivers on the grid. He managed to set another impressive record by winning 10 straight races earlier in the year until his streak was finally broken by Carlos Sainz at the Singapore Grand Prix.
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Verstappen will also finish 2023 with the highest win percentage of any driver in a single season, no matter what happens in the final two races of the campaign. His latest victory in Brazil meant that the lowest his percentage can drop to is 77.3 per cent, breaking Alberto Ascari’s long-standing record of 75 per cent from the 1952 season.
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner recently opened up on one of the secrets behind Verstappen’s dominance by insisting that his ‘inner confidence’ gives him a winning edge over the rest of his rivals on the grid.
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“Max has become so good at reading a race that he doesn’t panic if he sees them taking time out of him in the middle sector or whatever,” said Horner. “He’s looking at the long game and I think he’s just got that inner confidence that he knows he knows where he is.”
Horner believes there was a specific period in which Verstappen managed to fine-tune his race management skills, allowing him to rule with an iron fist over the last three seasons.
“In 2019 it was during that period he really, really stepped it up,” added the Red Bull boss. “Mercedes had a rocketship in 2020 and we were still able to win some races that year. Then, obviously, 2021 was massive.”
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