Not only did Max Verstappen break the record for most Formula 1 wins in a season at the Mexican Grand Prix – he also smashed Lewis Hamilton’s points record.
The 2021 title rivals were locked in a strategic battle in Mexico City, but the Red Bull always held the upper hand after starting well from Pole Position and switching to the Medium tyres, having started on the Softs.
Mercedes went on the Mediums and changed to the Hards, but Hamilton could not live with Verstappen’s pace as he pulled away to a 15-second victory for his 14th win of the season – eclipsing the previous record of 13 shared by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel.
Not only that, but Verstappen also raised the benchmark for most points in a single season – taking one of Hamilton’s recent records in the process.
Record points for Verstappen
Since 2010 when the points system was revamped to award 25 for a winner from the previous 10, as the table below shows, World Champions have often scored nearly 400 points to claim the title – but it was not until 2018 when Hamilton broke through that barrier.
That year, he hauled 408 points, before harvesting 413 in 2019 as he claimed his sixth championship.
In 2019, the fastest lap bonus point was also reintroduced, with sprint races also making their bow in ’21.
Last year, Verstappen edged Hamilton out by 395.5 points to 387.5 after their titanic duel, with the Dutchman entering the race in Mexico on 391, knowing a win would tip him over Hamilton’s record.
He is now on 416 points, with a total of 60 points remaining through races in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, the fastest lap points and the eight on offer in the São Paulo sprint.
It is therefore theoretically possible for Verstappen to end the season on as many as 476 points from a maximum of 596 on offer.
|2014||Lewis Hamilton||384 (double points in final race, 359 without)||19|
|2021||Max Verstappen||395.5||23 + three sprints|
|2022||Max Verstappen||416 – and counting||22 +three sprints|
What does Verstappen say?
Despite taking the record, Verstappen was keen to play down the significance of the moment.
“We have a sprint race in Brazil, so hopefully we can score a few more [points],” he told media including RacingNews365.com.
“It is not about that. At the end of the day, it’s all about trying to win a championship and it doesn’t matter how many points you do it with.
“But it does show that we are having an incredible year.”
© Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool