More than 75% of laps this year have been led by Max Verstappen as he broke a 60-year-old Formula 1 record.
Verstappen’s dominance in 2023 has broken just about every metric there is but his victory in Vegas moved him to the top of the pile in yet another list.
The 29 laps led by the Dutchman mean he has now been P1 for more than 75% of the year, breaking the previous record of Jim Clark.
Max Verstappen breaks more F1 records
It was 60 years ago this season that Clark set the record which many would have thought could never be beaten. In a 708-lap season, Clark in the Lotus led for 506 of them giving him a percentage of 71.47%.
Given F1 seasons have been getting longer and longer, it was not unreasonable to expect that no driver could ever match Clark’s feat and indeed even during the eras of dominance of Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, Clark’s record stayed intact.
But that has now been broken with Verstappen moving out ahead on 75.06%. In Vegas, Verstappen led in laps 1-15 and then again in 37-50 to see him leapfrog Clark.
What makes it all the remarkable is the number of laps led by Verstappen is 243 more than the entirety of the 1963 season but modern reliability will also have played a big factor.
Given the dominance of Verstappen and Red Bull, that record will likely only be extended in Abu Dhabi but it could in theory be reduced to an advantage of just 0.31% should Verstappen lead none of the 58 laps in Adbu Dhabi.
Should Verstappen lead them all however, his final tally will be 76.15%.
After the Vegas race, Verstappen said he enjoyed date overtaking which is not something he has done all too often this year.
“The race was exciting, fun and very hectic,” Verstappen remarked. “We really had to work hard for it today, there was a lot of overtaking and racing which made it really fun. It was a tough start on the mediums but once we went on to the hard tyre it was better.
“The five second penalty at the start was unfortunate, I really didn’t mean to push Charles [Leclerc] off, we both braked late in to turn one and there was no grip. We had a lot more pace in the car after we pit for hard. I also had a damaged front wing so I definitely lost a lot of downforce with that, it was still driveable so we opted to carry on.
“We were pushing flat out to the end and on the final lap, I tried to help Checo to give him a bit of slip stream, it’s a shame we couldn’t convert the one-two in this race but it’s great that we’ve secured the one-two in the Championship this year. Now we head to the final race in Abu Dhabi.”