Formula 1: The new record Max Verstappen smashed a year early

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 - Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Formula 1 - Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports /

Max Verstappen’s 48 wins at the age of 25 are an all-time Formula 1 record, and he held the record for 25-year-olds at the age of 24.

Max Verstappen is set to celebrate his 26th birthday this Saturday, September 30, meaning that his Japanese Grand Prix victory at Suzuka Circuit this past Sunday was his final Formula 1 win as a 25-year-old.

The two-time — soon-to-be three-time — reigning world champion has racked up 13 victories this season, a single season total that ranks only behind his own record-breaking 15-win mark from last season on the all-time list, and there are still six races remaining on the 22-race 2023 calendar.

Verstappen, who can ascend to third place on the all-time wins list ahead of Alain Prost (51 wins) and Sebastian Vettel (53) by winning each of the season’s final six races, is by far the winningest driver in Formula 1 history prior to his 26th birthday.

In fact, he broke the Formula 1 wins record for 25-year-olds even before he turned 25.

Before Verstappen’s 48 wins, the most wins any driver had secured before turning 26 was 29, which Vettel achieved during the 2013 season en route to his fourth straight world title. Verstappen had 29 wins by August 2022, when he took his ninth win of the 2022 season at the age of 24.

The other drivers ahead of Verstappen on the all-time wins list — four-time world champion Prost, seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton — had a combined 24 wins, half of Verstappen’s total, by their 26th birthdays.

Prost did not have any wins while Schumacher had 10 and Hamilton, the sport’s all-time winningest driver, had 14.

Of course, success at an early age does not guarantee an ascension to the top of the wins list. Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, for instance, had 18 wins when he turned 26. He now has 32, while Schumacher ended up with 91 and Hamilton now has 103.

And it goes without saying that many drivers start competing at different ages, with Verstappen having started competing at a record-breaking age of 17 in 2015. He secured his first win at the record-breaking age of 18 in 2016.

Still, if Verstappen chooses to continue his Formula 1 career for the foreseeable future, whether that be for the duration of his current Red Bull contract (through 2028) or longer, he certainly has himself well-positioned to break Hamilton’s all-time wins record thanks to his early success.

Heck, as long as Adrian Newey is around, 200 wins might not be out of the question.

And yes, the moment he turns 26, Verstappen will already hold the record for the most wins by the age of 26 as well. The record of 39 had belonged to Vettel.

Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list. dark

Verstappen is set to go for his 49th career win in the Qatar Grand Prix at Lusail International Circuit, one of just three tracks on the schedule where he has never won, on Sunday, October 8. The race is set to be broadcast live on ESPN2 beginning at 12:55 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!