The F1 records currently held by Max Verstappen…and ones on the horizon

Sam Cooper
Max Verstappen celebrates victory. Japan October 2022.

Max Verstappen already has plenty of records under his belt and with a car finally able to match his ability, there is no telling just where he might stop.

Even from his very first race, Verstappen has been breaking Formula 1 records. If you search Formula 1 records and look for any category where the word ‘youngest’ appears, you will often find the Dutchman’s name at the top of the list.

He entered the sport in 2015 and, through a mixture of his famous last name and his much heralded young talent, he was talked about as being a potential generational talent.

F1, as is the case with any sport, is often guilty of placing too much expectation, too soon on the shoulders of its future stars but in Verstappen’s case, he is living up to the billing.

An F1 education spent fighting with a dominant Mercedes has grafted him into an efficient title winner who could go on to break every record going.

With that in mind, here are the records he already possesses and ones he could surpass in both the near and far future.

Records broken by Max Verstappen

Youngest driver to start a race 17 years

17 years and 166 days – 2015 Australian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, smiling. Spain, March 2016.

Verstappen burst onto the scene as a bright-eyed teenager when he made his F1 debut at the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, beating the previous record of then 19-year-old Jaime Alguersuari.

The young Dutchman was part of a new-look Toro Rosso lineup with Carlos Sainz also coming on board to replace Daniil Kvyat and Jean-Éric Vergne. Verstappen had spent just a single season as a reserve driver before he received the promotion.

However, his debut turned out to be anything but a dream. He qualified 12th but was forced to retire in the 34th lap as his Toro Rosso engine began bellowing smoke.

It was also not a great day for his new team-mate Sainz, who had to wait an age during a pit stop as the mechanics tried to remove his stubborn rear left tyre.

The Spaniard slumped down to a finishing position of ninth when it could have been much more.

This particular record looks to be set in stone now for Verstappen with the FIA introducing a new rule in 2021 stating that F1 drivers must be 18 years old or over to compete.

Youngest driver to score points

17 years and 180 days – 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix

Verstappen bounced back from his disappointment Down Under to register the first points of his F1 career in Malaysia.

During qualifying, he reached Q3 for the first time in his career as he beat the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa, Romain Grosjean and Valtteri Bottas to start P6 on the grid.

The race itself saw him slip down a place, eventually finishing P7 and one spot above Sainz, but it was enough to ensure he broke the record, beating the previous owner Kvyat who had set his own record the year before.

Similarly to the previous record, this one looks unlikely to be broken with Verstappen earning points before he reached the age of 18. Current F1 drivers Lance Stroll and Lando Norris occupy the second and third spot respectively.

Youngest driver to win a race

18 years and 228 days – 2016 Spanish Grand Prix

Verstappen spent just over a season at Toro Rosso before he truly announced himself on the world stage. Red Bull had grown tired of the results of Kvyat so opted for a radical move, putting an 18-year-old in their car.

But, Helmut Marko and Christian Horner had every reason to be confident. He ended the 2015 season with point-scoring finishes in all but three of the final 12 races and continued that form into 2016 with three in the first four.

He may have retired in his final race with Red Bull’s junior team but they were confident he had what it took to be a success, a decision that was soon vindicated.

Max Verstappen celebrates after winning his first race. Spain May 2016

While the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix is perhaps most memorable for the apex of the Silver Arrows war as Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton rammed each other off of the road, the sight of Verstappen going on to win his first race is one that lives long in the memory.

With the Mercedes cars eliminated, it came down to Red Bull and Ferrari as to who would claim top honours in Barcelona. Each team split their strategy with one driver (Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel) opting for a three-stop and the other (Verstappen and Raikkonen) going for two.

The latter proved the most effective meaning that all the young Dutchman had to do was hold off the veteran Finn and the victory was his. He did just that, showing a mentality well above his years and with it, he made history.

Youngest driver to score a podium finish

18 years and 228 days – 2016 Spanish Grand Prix

The race in Barcelona also saw Verstappen become the youngest podium sitter, beating the previous record of Vettel by more than two years.

Lance Stroll came close to taking this record off of Verstappen when he finished third at the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix but he was 11 days older than the Dutchman at the time of doing so.

Youngest driver to lead a lap

18 years and 228 days – 2016 Spanish Grand Prix

It was a hat-trick of records for Verstappen that day as he again beat Vettel to become the youngest driver to lead a lap.

Verstappen is the only teenager to have ever led a lap with Vettel completing the feat at the age of 20 and Charles Leclerc at 21.

Youngest driver to set fastest lap

19 years and 44 days – 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix

181 days on from his record-breaking race in Barcelona, Verstappen would pick up another accolade when he became the youngest driver to set a fastest lap.

He clocked a 1:25.305 on the 67th lap in wet conditions on his way to third-place behind Hamilton and Rosberg. The lap record at Interlagos is set by Bottas with a 1:10.540 in 2018.

Verstappen’s time in 2016 moved him ahead of Rosberg who had the previous record of 20 years and 258 days in 2006.

Youngest driver to score a grand slam

23 years and 277 days – 2021 Austrian Grand Prix

Verstappen may have had 14 wins, 13 fastest laps and six pole positions to his name by this point but it took until the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix for him to put them all together.

In front of his team’s home crowd and the second week running F1 had been at the circuit following the Styrian Grand Prix, Verstappen clocked a 1:03.720 in qualifying to finish on pole ahead of Lando Norris and Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen points to the Red Bull logo while celebrating Austrian GP victory. July, 2021.

In the race itself he led from lap one to 71 in one of the most dominant performances of his career so far as he finished 17.973 seconds ahead of second-place Bottas.

In the 62nd lap, he secured the fastest lap with a time of 1:06.200 meaning that when he crossed the finish line, the first grand slam of his career was complete and a new record was his.

Verstappen has since achieved the feat again at the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Most podium finishes in a season

2021 season – 18

The first non-age related record of Verstappen’s came in his title-winning 2021 campaign as he secured the highest number of podiums in a single season.

Before 2021, Verstappen had been on the podium 42 times but he increased that figure by 43% during his remarkable year.

His record of 18 in 22 races (81.82%) beat the previous tally of Schumacher (2002), Vettel (2011) and Hamilton (2015, 2016, 2018, 2019) although it should be stated that he has the lowest ratio of the aforementioned drivers having raced the most in a season.

A special note should be made of Schumacher’s former record of 17 with the German having finished on the podium in every race of the 2002 campaign.

The 2021 season was dominated by Verstappen and Hamilton and they both nearly broke the record with Hamilton ending on 17, equalling his previous best.

Records Max Verstappen could break this season and beyond

Most points in a single season

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen in a press conference. Hungary July 2022

The current holder of the most points is Lewis Hamilton as the seven-time World Champion earned 413 in the 2019 season, winning 11 of the 21 races.

But, Verstappen does have a chance of beating that tally this season. He currently has 366 and with four races plus a Sprint race in Brazil, there are a total of 112 left to play for.

So, in theory, if Verstappen wins every race, including the Sprint, plus takes the point for fastest lap each time, he will beat Hamilton’s record by 65 points.

Most wins in a single season

Verstappen is just one win away from equalling the records of Schumacher and Vettel who each won 13 times in a single campaign.

Schumacher achieved the feat in 2004, winning 13 of the 18 races (72.22%) while Vettel did so in 2013 with 13 from 19 (68.42%).

Verstappen is currently on 12 from the 18 races so far in 2022, giving him a win percentage of 66.67% but he could end the season on 16 victories which would boost his percentage up to 69.57%.

Biggest Championship-winning margin

If Verstappen were to achieve the previous record, then it puts him in with a chance of securing the biggest Championship-winning margin in Formula 1 history.

The current holder is Vettel in 2013 who finished the season with an 155-point lead over Fernando Alonso on his way to his fourth, and last, World Championship.

Verstappen’s current lead is 113 over team-mate Sergio Perez but should both the Mexican and Charles Leclerc fail to score any more points in 2022, the Dutchman could end the season with a 225-point winning margin, smashing the previous margin.

That situation seems unlikely though and the most realistic outcome would appear to be a 147-point lead over Leclerc and a 159-point over Perez (should they finish P2 and P3 respectively).

Most race starts

This one is the first of many records that Verstappen could go on to break in the distant future. Having entered the sport at such a young age, the 25-year-old certainly has time on his hands and he could go to break the record of a man who was almost double his age when he debuted in the sport.

Fernando Alonso currently holds the accolade for most race starts at 351 with the Spaniard passing Raikkonen earlier this year but it is not out of the realms of possibility that Verstappen could surpass the pair of them.

Alonso has four races left on his Alpine contract plus two years with Aston Martin so if we predict that he calls time on his career after that and that he starts every race, he will most likely end on 403 race starts.

Max Verstappen shakes Fernando Alonso's hand. Montreal, June 2022.

Verstappen currently has 159 so, including the final four of this campaign, that would leave him 192 races behind by the time of Alonso’s possible retirement.

So, if we presume that 24-race calendars are going to stick around for the near future, it would take Verstappen exactly eight seasons to match Alonso’s tally. Verstappen will be 35 at the time so the question is more likely if he will still be racing by then.

Lewis Hamilton could also push the tally up higher with the 37-year-old currently on 306 race starts.

Most Drivers’ Championships

A similar record that could well be defined by Verstappen’s eagerness to carry on into his 30s is the Drivers’ Championships.

Hamilton and Schumacher lead the way on seven and while Verstappen currently has two, he would need to surpass the record of five-consecutive titles held by Schumacher if he was to achieve it by the age of 30.

While there are a lot of variables when it comes to predicting future dynasties, Verstappen’s talent is such that it is not completely out of the question. The larger question remains of whether he will stay in the sport for long enough to do it.

With a calendar that is bursting at the seems, the Dutchman hinted that he may call it quits sooner than people expect.

Most race wins

If Verstappen does achieve the previous record then this one will surely also come with it. The current record holder is Hamilton on 103 wins which is 71 more than Verstappen’s tally but, if the last two seasons are anything to go by, it could be a realistic goal.

Verstappen’s 2021 and 2022 seasons have been absurd in terms of wins. The Dutchman has crossed the line first in 22 of the 45 races, giving him a win ratio of 49%.

In 2022, he has become even more dominant, winning 66.67% so far and if he were to continue with that ratio, it would take him just 4.43 seasons to catch Hamilton.

Read more: Christian Horner’s comments on cost cap resurface from 2020 Red Bull column