With the destination of this year’s title seemingly heading only one place it is time to look at the biggest winning margins and where Max Verstappen could fit in.
Arriving in his home country this week, Verstappen must be feeling on top of the world with an eight-race winning streak and a 125-point lead in the championship.
He is not the only driver to have been in this situation of feeling as if you already have one hand on the title -here are the five biggest winning-margins in F1 championship history.
5.) 88 points – Lewis Hamilton over Sebastian Vettel (2018)
The first entry on this list comes from 2018 where Lewis Hamilton won his fifth Drivers’ championship, moving past the tally of Sebastian Vettel who finished runner-up that year.
It was a back and forth year with Vettel winning the first two races before a Daniel Ricciardo China win preceded back-to-back Hamilton victories.
Those three combined for every one of the first eight race wins before a young Max Verstappen took victory at Red Bull’s home race.
In the second half of the season, Hamilton took control of the title though with eight victories in the last 11 races. Meanwhile Vettel managed just three P2s which gave Hamilton a comfortable lead come the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi.
4.) 122 points – Sebastian Vettel over Jenson Button (2011)
Vettel was on the right side of history in 2011 when he won a second championship in as many years.
It was a record-breaking season for the German as he became the youngest double champion in F1 history but also broke the record for the biggest points margin of a title win.
With a staggering 392 points including 11 victories, Vettel finished 122 points ahead of the McLaren of Jenson Button but that is not the only time Vettel is mentioned on this list…
3.) 124 points – Lewis Hamilton over Valtteri Bottas (2020)
The only team-mate battle to feature on this list comes in third with Hamilton managing to beat Valtteri Bottas by just two points more than Vettel had over Button.
2020 was one of the more unusual F1 seasons in recent memory with the COVID pandemic causing havoc to the scheduling.
The season was quickly delayed when McLaren staff came down with the virus in Melbourne and it would be four months until cars got back racing.
With three double headers at the same circuit, the season was 17 races long but it was still enough for Hamlton to exert his dominance.
Winning his seventh championship and most recent, Hamilton flexed his muscles with 11 victories, equalling the tally set by Vettel in 2011.
But, perhaps as a sign of things to come, Verstappen was victorious in the final race of the season setting up what would become an incredible title fight in 2021.
2.) 146 points – Max Verstappen over Charles Leclerc (2022)
The most recently-completed season comes in second on this list and had Ferrari not shown some signs of life in the early part of the year, the gap could have been much bigger.
After Charles Leclerc won two of the first three races, it seemed as if Ferrari would finally end their trophy drought but things changed at Imola.
Verstappen’s win would turn into a hat-trick of victories and like Hamilton in 2018, it was the second half of the season where Verstappen took gold in the championship.
Five wins on the spin followed by four of the last five meant Verstappen would end the year 146 points ahead of Leclerc, having once been 46 points behind him.
1.) 155 points – Sebastian Vettel over Fernando Alonso (2013)
But the gold standard of dominant F1 seasons came in 2013 and a decade on, the record remains intact – for now.
With three titles in a row, Vettel’s confidence must have been at an all-time high heading into 2013 and with regulation changes coming the following season, the German ended his era of dominance with a bang.
But things did not all go Vettel’s way early on. He was successful in only two of the opening six races but from Spa onwards, there was only ever one man on the very top step of the podium.
Nine victories in a row, a record still standing ahead of the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix, saw him go from 38 points in the lead to 155.
Verstappen may well break the record but for now it is Vettel who stands at the top.
Where could Max Verstappen fit in the all-time list?
While Verstappen’s third title looks almost assured, so does the chance of him breaking into this top five.
If the season were to end now, Verstappen would slot in at third with a 125-point gap over Sergio Perez but with 10 races to go, there is every chance he could extend that.
There is a maximum of 284 points left for a single driver to claim this year so in theory, the Dutchman could end on 598 points, beating his own record of 454 in 2022.
Should Verstappen win every race including the sprints and secure the fastest laps, that would leave P2 Perez with a further 201 points to score.
Adding that to his existing tally of 189 gives you 390, meaning Verstappen could blow the current record out of the water with a winning points gap of 208.
Of course, it would be some feat to secure maximum points in the next 10 races but having won the last eight, you would not put it past Verstappen.