Remarkable Max Verstappen record ahead of Canadian GP hints 2022 F1 title is his to lose

Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton

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Max Verstappen’s stunning F1 record heading into the Canadian Grand Prix suggests he is almost certain to win the world title come November. The Dutchman has only finished off the podium twice in the last 50 Grands Prix when he has crossed the finish line at the end of the race.

This run spans from the 2019 United States Grand Prix with just two blotches on his copybook since from the 40 races he has completed. The reigning champion finished sixth in the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and ninth in the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.

In total, he has secured 38 podiums in this time, with 18 wins, 15 second-place finishes and five third-place finishes. During this time he has also experienced 10 retirements with six car failures and four collisions.

Except for Verstappen’s third place finish in Monaco, the Red Bull star has won every race he has finished in 2022. He looked on course for two second-place finishes in Bahrain and Australia before suffering mechanical failures.

His consistency has allowed the Dutchman to pull out a 34-point gap over title rival Charles Leclerc despite them both suffering two retirements. The record means Verstappen has only finished outside the top two when finishing the race twice since the start of 2021, having finished lower than P2 just once in his championship-winning season.

In comparison, Lewis Hamilton last year finished outside the top two five times but managed two less retirements. Verstappen was named Beyond the Flag’s second most consistent driver of the season with an average position deviation of 1.84 positions.

Red Bull chief Helmut Marko praised Verstappen’s consistency but stressed this would not mean the team favours one driver this early in the campaign.

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He said: “We generally have no team orders or a number one policy… Max is the more consistent. In terms of absolute speed, Max is the one who dominates, but we’ll see how it develops.” Red Bull secured their third one-two finish of the season in Azerbaijan after Ferrari suffered a double DNF.

Charles Leclerc’s strategy meant the Ferrari man would have likely had better tyres towards the end of the race in what could have been a thrilling end. However, the Monegasque’s retirement put paid to any chances of victory and saw him drop to third in the points standings.

Team principal Christian Horner praised his drivers after the race, adding: “We asked them to race each other cleanly and fairly and that’s what they did. They’re doing a great job for the team and we’re very proud of what the whole team has achieved today.”

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