‘It’s His Era’: Lewis Hamilton & Charles Leclerc Labelled Inferior as Max Verstappen Becomes “Finest” F1 Driver

Published 12/04/2023, 2:31 PM EST

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Max Verstappen has not merely dominated the 2023 season. He has knocked all Formula 1 record books out of the park and probably out of the reach of any driver yet to grace the sport. With 19 wins, 21 podium finishes, and a staggering 575 points in a single season, the Red Bull driver not only surpassed his rivals on the track. But he has made it nigh impossible for anyone to ever come close to what he has achieved.

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His win percentage of 86.3% sets a new benchmark, eclipsing not only everyone who has ever raced in F1 but also all historical sporting performances, period. Like Tiger Woods’ 2000 season with a 45% win ratio, Roger Federer’s 2006 achievements with a 70.6% win ratio, and Barcelona’s treble-winning soccer season in 2014-15  with an 83.3% win ratio. He has also become the first Formula 1 driver to surpass 1,000 laps led in a single season. And by completing every lap in 2023, he showcased a level of dominance that will likely never be seen again in F1 (of course, only if he doesn’t break that next time around in 2024).

Like it or not, we’re living in the era of Max Verstappen

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As if that wasn’t enough, here are more numbers for you to mull over. Verstappen joins an elite club of F1 legends—Michael Schumacher, Hamilton, Juan Manuel Fangio, Sebastian Vettel, and now, himself—with three consecutive championships. His 54th career win in Abu Dhabi catapults him to the third position in all-time race wins in just 185 races, compared to Vettel’s 53 victories in 299 career starts.

Even in identical machinery, Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez had an inconsistent season, emphasizing just how good Max Verstappen is. F1 expert Peter Windsor, in a recent YouTube live chat, left no room for doubt about the era in which the sport currently resides. When asked if the Dutchman is the finest racer in modern-day Formula 1, Windsor declared, This is his era. It’s not actually Lewis [Hamilton’s] era, is it? I mean, he hasn’t really been able to enjoy this era at all. It’s not really Charles [Leclerc’s] era, it’s Max’s era.”

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Windsor concluded, “So, absolutely. He is the finest Formula 1 racer of this era. That’s how you want to put it. Of the modern era, it depends on what you mean by modern, of course. If you mean anything after rear engines, then I’d have to bring Jim Clark into it, but I don’t think you do mean that.”

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You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Lewis Hamilton himself declared that this is Max Verstappen’s time we’re witnessing.

Lewis Hamilton acknowledged the utter dominance of Red Bull and the #1 driver in Max

For fans who witnessed Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s dominance post-2014 until 2021, Verstappen’s ascent marks a seismic shift in F1 dynamics. The seven-time champion conceded, stating, “Ultimately, [Verstappen] and his team have just done a better job than everyone else.”

Lewis Hamilton, no stranger to dominant periods, reflected on the changing tides in F1. “There’s always large chunks of dominance. I had it… Michael [Schumacher] had it, Seb [Vettel] had it. Now it’s Max’s period.” As Verstappen’s era unfolds, Hamilton recognized the risk of losing fans drawn in by the intense 2021 season. He urged F1 to ensure closer competition between teams, dreaming of wheel-to-wheel battles that captivate audiences.

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However, Hamilton, a driver who knows both triumph and tribulation, saw the end of his era as an opportunity for character-building. Despite the challenges, he hinted at a potential resurgence, stating, When we do [come back], I’ll be ready.

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Watch This Story | Charles Leclerc Picked as the Perfect Replacement for Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes Despite Disturbing “Issues” in His Head

It’s his era indeed, and Max Verstappen has left an indelible mark on the world of Formula 1, steering the sport into uncharted territory. Who knows if we’ll ever see another season unfold like the one we just saw? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Veerendra Vikram Singh

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"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking." Hi there, I am Veer and I come from a family that lives and breathes football, but somehow I never could fit into that mold.
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Edited by:

Aditi Krishnan

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