Max Verstappen can find himself as high as third place on the all-time Formula 1 wins list by the time the 2023 season ends. But he must win out.
After his record-breaking 10-race winning streak came to an end in Singapore, two-time and soon-to-be three-time reigning Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen bounced back with a dominant win in Japan, preventing his first non-win since April from turning into his first losing streak since July 2022.
The win was Verstappen’s 13th of the season, a mark that trails only his 15-win mark from last year among all-time single season win totals, and the 48th of his career. Excluding his 48 career wins, the 25-year-old Dutchman’s win total of 28 since the start of last year would be good enough for eighth place on the all-time list on its own.
Verstappen’s win in Japan keeps him in the running to potentially ascend to as high as third place on the all-time wins list by the end of the 2023 season. He entered the season with 35 wins, good for sixth on the list, after climbing from a 16th place tie to start the 2022 season.
To achieve third place on the all-time Formula 1 wins list by the end of the year, Max Verstappen must go on another historic win streak.
He must add six more wins in a row to finish the season as the first driver with 17 wins in 18 races. After passing three-time world champion Ayrton Senna earlier in the year, four-time world champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost are the two drivers whom he can pass by the end of the season. Vettel sits in third place on the list with 53 wins, with Prost behind him with 51.
Verstappen must win three of the final six races tie match Prost and four to pass him, which doesn’t seem all that unlikely considering the fact that he has won 13 of 16 races so far this season.
Catching and passing Vettel is a bit more difficult, but as Verstappen has demonstrated, it’s even more of a challenge to doubt his ability behind the wheel of the RB19.
Verstappen looks destined to break his own single-season wins record of 15 from last year, and doing so with a record-breaking 19-win campaign in a 22-race season would result in him trailing just two drivers on the all-time wins list by the end of the season: Michael Schumacher (91 wins) and Lewis Hamilton (103).
Verstappen won’t be able to climb to higher than third place next year, given the fact that we aren’t going to see a 37-race calendar, but if he and Red Bull can continue their domination into 2024 and 2025 as many expect them to, he could find himself much closer to the two seven-time world champions as Formula 1 enters a new era of rules and regulations in 2026.
He is set to be 28 years old by the time the 2026 season gets underway, and his contract runs through 2028, making it longer than any other active driver contract in Formula 1.
He has floated the possibility of retiring after the 2028 season, though it is far too early to speculate on whether or not a 31-year-old Verstappen will feel it is time to call it quits.