Formula 1: The 70-year-old record Max Verstappen can break

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images) /

Max Verstappen hasn’t been anywhere other than the lead since lap 48 of the Miami Grand Prix, giving him the chance to break a longstanding Formula 1 record.

Since taking the lead from teammate Sergio Perez outside Hard Rock Stadium on lap 48 of 57 in May’s Miami Grand Prix, two-time reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen has not spent any laps in a position other than P1.

He led the final 10 laps at Miami International Autodrome en route to his third win of the season, and he has since extended his winning streak to four by leading all 78 laps of the Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco, all 66 laps of the Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and all 70 laps of the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

His win streak has put him at 224 consecutive laps led heading into the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.

Before Max Verstappen’s streak, no Formula 1 driver had led more than 205 consecutive laps since Nigel Mansell in 1992.

Just four streaks of laps led are longer than Verstappen’s current run. Mansell led 235 consecutive laps in 1992, Ayrton Senna led 237 straight laps in 1989 and 264 straight laps in 1988, and Alberto Ascari led 305 straight laps from 1952 to 1953.

Assuming sprint race laps don’t count — there is no precedent in this particular record one way or the other, given that nobody has led this many laps in a row in more than three decades — Verstappen can move up to second place on the all-time list during the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix weekend at the Red Bull Ring, a track at which he has won four times.

Verstappen has a chance to lead 95 more laps during this weekend, but he cannot break the official record yet, since only 71 of those 95 laps are Grand Prix laps. This weekend also features a 24-lap sprint race, which would not count for or against Verstappen’s tally. Starting this year, sprint races are now standalone events which have no bearing on the Grand Prix grid.

Verstappen can potentially increase his consecutive laps led total to 295 this weekend. He is a four-time winner at the Red Bull Ring, and he led all 71 laps in both of his two most recent wins at the track in 2021. If he does it again, he will be in position to potentially break Ascari’s all-time record at Silverstone Circuit in the British Grand Prix on Sunday, July 9.

The Austrian Grand Prix sprint race is set to be broadcast live on ESPN from the Red Bull Ring beginning at 10:25 a.m. ET on Saturday, July 1, and the Grand Prix itself is set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 8:55 a.m. ET on Sunday, July 2.

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DraftKings Sportsbook, which is offering Formula 1 fans who place a single $5 bet an instant $150, lists Verstappen as the -300 favorite to win the Austrian Grand Prix. Start a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!