With 14 Formula 1 Grand Prix wins and counting in the 2022 season, Max Verstappen is in uncharted territory.
His win in the Mexican Grand Prix eclipsed the tally of 13 victories – the record jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel – as the Red Bull driver continued to impose his dominance on the campaign.
He can potentially claim the largest margin between P1 and P2 in the Drivers' Championship, with his gap to Sergio Perez currently standing at 136 points.
The all-time record is 155 points held by Vettel in his 2013 campaign over Fernando Alonso, meaning that Verstappen needs to out-score Perez by 20 points in the final two race weekends.
However, while this record is certainly attainable, there is one that Verstappen will not be able to claim – no matter what he does.
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The record Verstappen can't break
With the F1 calendar expanding in recent years, the total number of race wins in a season has become an easier target.
Mick Schumacher even said after Mexico that he expected his father's record to be beaten, given the fact that there are more races these days than compared to Michael's era.
With that in mind, the metric of 'total percentage wins in a season' has become more useful to measure a driver's success.
However, despite winning 14 of 20 races in 2022, and potentially even 16 of 22, Verstappen will fall short of taking a record that has stood since 1952 – the third year of the World Championship – as the table below shows.
Highest driver win percentages
|2022||Max Verstappen||20||14 - up to Mexican GP||70|
|1954||Juan Manuel Fangio||9||6||66.67|
As it stands, with 14 wins from 20 races, Verstappen has a 70% win rate.
Should he take victories in Brazil and Abu Dhabi for a score of 16 from 22, this will climb to 72.72% – and move him into second on the list behind Alberto Ascari's record of 75% from 1952.
However, Ascari's score is set to remain unbeatable; to have beaten his tally, Verstappen would have needed 17 wins from the season.
Ascari's record is also unique as he also competed in the Indy 500 that year.
In the first 10 seasons of the World Championship, F1 drivers didn't bother with a trip to Indiana, but in 1952, Ascari did just that with Ferrari.
As a result, he missed the season-opener in May 1952 in Switzerland, before finishing 31st in the 500 itself.
Upon returning to the F1 scene, he would not be beaten across the rest of the season, winning all six races from the Belgian Grand Prix.
With the 1953 Indy 500 aside, Ascari would win every race from Belgium 1952 to Belgium 1953, with the run coming to an end in France 1953 when Mike Hawthorn claimed the first World Championship victory for a British driver with Ascari only fourth.
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