Max Verstappen’s F1 seasons ranked: Will F1 2023 campaign ever be topped?

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen through the years.

Max Verstappen has come a long way since his 2015 debut.

The 2023 season was a remarkable achievement by Max Verstappen but where does it fit in a list of his best work?

Coming into the sport in 2015, Verstappen has gone from young potential to one of the best to ever do it in the space of nine seasons and 2023 has been described by some as his magnum opus.

But how true is that claim and how do the rest of his seasons rank?

9.) 2017

20 races, two wins, four podiums, 168 points
6th in the Drivers’ Championship

Into his second season at Red Bull, Verstappen doubled his win tally but was beaten by team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the standings.

It was a year of retirements for the Dutchman with seven recorded, the most he has ever had in a single season.

He got stronger as the campaign went on, picking up a win in Malaysia and then Mexico but it remains the lowest finish of his Red Bull career.

8.) 2015

19 races, zero wins, zero podiums, 49 points
12th in the Drivers’ Championship

A very young Max Verstappen arrived on the grid alongside Carlos Sainz as Toro Rosso went for an entirely new line-up.

Starting with an engine failure though was not what Verstappen had in mind for his F1 debut.

After that disappointment in Australia, Verstappen scored his first points in Malaysia making him the youngest points scorer in history, a record he will keep as the FIA have since increased the minimum age of competing.

He would end the year 12th in the title, comfortably beating Sainz by 31 points.

7.) 2018

21 races, two wins, 11 podiums, 249 points
4th in the Drivers’ Championship

Verstappen’s steady climb up the standings continued in 2018 with a P4 finish and beating Ricciardo for the first time.

After a patchy start including two retirements in the first four races, Verstappen was on the podium in Barcelona before ending the year in the top three in each of the final five races.

He won in Mexico, the same venue he did at the previous year as well as in Austria much to Red Bull’s home crowd’s delight.

6.) 2020

17 races, two wins, 11 podiums, 214 points
3rd in the Drivers’ Championship

It is hard to say what more Verstappen could have done in 2020 as the W11 was the finest car of Mercedes’ dominant years.

Verstappen would take five races to register his first victory but his position as first behind Hamilton was solidified with 11 podiums in the season, the same tally as Valtteri Bottas.

But 2020 was the final time Verstappen would be in an uncompetitive car.

5.) 2016

21 races, one win, seven podiums, 204 points
5th in the Drivers’ Championship

Despite being promoted up to the Red Bull seat at the age of 18, Verstappen showed he was more than capable of dealing with the expectation.

A win in his first race with the team in Barcelona set the tone and although that was his solitary victory of the season, he scored seven podiums which was just one fewer than Daniel Ricciardo.

He ended the year fifth, an improvement of seven places from his 2015 finish, but more importantly he justified Red Bull’s faith.

4.) 2019

21 races, three wins, nine podiums, 278 points
3rd in the Drivers’ Championship

With Ricciardo heading off to Renault, Verstappen became the senior driver in 2019 but it came at a time of pure Mercedes dominance.

To Verstappen’s credit, he won the most amount of races for a non-Mercedes driver and came third in the championship, a career best until that point, but Hamilton walked to the title with relative ease. recommends

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3.) 2022

22 races, 15 wins, 17 podiums, 454 points
1st in the Drivers’ Championship

After the drama of 2021, 2022 was a tamer affair and one Verstappen perhaps thought would not end in him winning the title.

Ferrari and Charles Leclerc set the early pace while Verstappen struggled with reliability, causing the Dutchman to concede the title early on.

But from Imola, Red Bull and Verstappen grabbed hold of the title race and never looked back.

Verstappen would go on to win nine of the final 11 races and it was a sign of what was to come the following season.

2.) 2023

22 races, 19 wins, 21 podiums, 575 points
1st in the Drivers’ Championship

A year when Verstappen wrote his name several times over in the F1 history books:

Most wins in a season
Highest win percentage in a season
Most consecutive wins
Most podiums in a season
Most points in a season
Most laps led in a season
Largest championship-winning margin

But to sum up 2023 by statistics and records alone would be to do Verstappen a disservice. What truly makes 2023 stand out is his relentless brilliance. Cast your mind back through the season and it is hard to think of a single mistake he made.

Verstappen still has the speed shown during his early years but now has a maturity to know when and when not to full send.

2023 will go down as the closest to perfect a season has ever been, but in terms of Verstappen at his very best there is still one that just pips it.

1.) 2021

22 races, 10 wins, 10 podiums, 395.5 points
1st in the Drivers’ Championship

2023 may have been the year of the records, but 2021 was when Verstappen truly went from potential to greatness.

Throughout the history of Formula 1, there have been season-long grudge matches where two of the sport’s finest drivers go head to head. In 2021, another two names were added to that category – Verstappen and Hamilton.

From a narrative point of view, the scene was everything you could want. The dominant world champions spearheaded by one of the best to ever do it versus the young contender and a constructor desperate to end their rival’s monopoly.

Of course, saying 2021 brings up memories of how it ended and although Verstappen was on the right side of the luck in Abu Dhabi, incidents in Baku and Silverstone showed that same luck was not always on his side.

Verstappen that season was the best we’ve ever seen him. Brutally effective at a time of the highest pressure.

The Dutchman may be a better and more complete driver in 2023 but toppling Hamilton in 2021 remains his greatest achievement.

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