[imagesource: Instagram / maxverstappen1]
Max Verstappen’s win yesterday at the season-ending Abu Dhabi GP saw him further extend a record previously held by Michael Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013) for most wins in a season.
No driver has had more wins in a single season or scored more championship points than Verstappen this year. But, if you’re old school and a diehard Schumacher fan, there is one thing you can cling to.
The 2022 Formula One season consists of 22 races, meaning Verstappen’s 15 wins gives him a success rate of 68,18%. In 2004, Schumacher won 13 of 18 races, for a success rate of 72,2%. Vettel won 13 of 19 races in 2013.
It’s clutching at straws but it’s something, Schumi fans. We should give credit where credit is due, with these stats via ABC News:
…what Verstappen has achieved this season is arguably the greatest performance of any world champion…
And he almost needed a season as dominant as this in the wake of his controversial first championship the year before.
He was the beneficiary of a safety car ruling at the end of the final race of the season, allowing him to overtake Hamilton on the final lap to win the race and championship.
His championship was also clouded after Red Bull was found to have breached F1’s cost cap for the 2021 season…
But in 2022 there is no debate that Verstappen is the man in F1 — assuming Red Bull’s accountants get their maths right.
Verstappen’s dominance will make Drive to Survive slightly less of an entertaining watch this year around.
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One driver dominating to such a degree takes away a great deal of the drama. For next year’s championship, though, we should see that gap narrow considerably:
Dominance in 2023 seems far fetched currently as all teams have a much better understanding of the technical regulations introduced this season.
Mercedes looked like their old selves towards the end of this season, finally collecting a win with George Russel in Brazil.
Ferrari had a very good car at times this year and they could be a threat if they fix their mechanical and tactical errors.
Going into yesterday’s race, second place in the driver standings was still up for grabs.
Verstappen has been heavily criticised in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix, where he disobeyed Red Bull’s instructions to give up a position to teammate Sergio Perez so that the latter could score extra points and edge ahead in his battle with Charles Leclerc for runner-up.
That battle continued throughout yesterday, reports The Race, but Leclerc held firm:
As Leclerc began catching Perez again near half-distance, Ferrari said it would do the “opposite” to whatever Red Bull did – which meant committing to a one-stopper when Perez made his second stop.
Perez spent the rest of the race trying to close back in on Leclerc, regularly lapping a second quicker.
But he lost time having to fight had to pass the one-stopping Lewis Hamilton for third, and was also delayed in traffic that included AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly. He never quite made it onto Leclerc’s tail, finishing 1.3s behind.
I’m sure Hamilton enjoyed dishing out a little revenge on Perez.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 20, 2022
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