What Is the Sebastian Vettel Career Milestone That Max Verstappen Can Equal at Las Vegas GP?

Published 11/12/2023, 8:54 AM EST

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As the engines roar to life at the Las Vegas GP, there looms the excitement of more than just another race in the Formula 1 calendar. It’s a stage set for Max Verstappen, the reigning triple World Champion, to etch his name alongside a modern racing legend, Sebastian Vettel.

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Sebastian Vettel, a name synonymous with dominance in the Formula 1 world, clinched four consecutive World Drivers’ Championships with Red Bull Racing. His career, marked by a stunning array of 53 wins, stands as a benchmark for racing excellence. Now, Max Verstappen, racing’s latest prodigy, is on the brink of equalling this milestone.

Another record that Max Verstappen can break in 2023 (and possibly break too!)

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With 52 career victories to his name, the 26-year-old Dutchman is just a single win away from matching Vettel’s tally​ of 53. The journey to this point has been remarkable for Verstappen. His record-tying 17th win of the current season positioned him as only the fifth driver in the sport’s history to reach 50 career victories, joining the elite ranks of racing legends. This season alone, he claimed a record 10 consecutive wins.

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What makes this upcoming race even more significant is the broader context. Verstappen, should he win in Las Vegas, not only ties Vettel’s 53 wins but also moves closer to the top of the all-time winners’ list, a space occupied by icons like Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher. This shows his skill, consistency, and sheer dominance in a sport known for its ruthlessness and unpredictability.

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As the lights go out and the cars blitz down the track in Las Vegas, every turn, every maneuver carries the weight of history. It’s not just about winning a race; it’s about claiming a place among the giants of Formula 1. For Verstappen, it’s a chance to equal the legacy of Vettel, to prove that he is not just a fleeting star, but a luminary that burns bright in the racing galaxy.

After becoming synonymous with winning, Max Verstappen has seen new heights, alongside marking his third consecutive World Championship win, Verstappen hasn’t just beaten records; he’s rewritten them. However, this continuous success story is not without its complications.

Max Verstappen’s unprecedented dominance: A double-edged sword

There’s a growing murmur, even among his most ardent followers, the famed Orange Army, suggesting that Verstappen’s dominance might be casting a shadow over the sport’s competitive spirit. Dutch newspaper De Limburger captures this sentiment, noting a shift in attitude among his home supporters.

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F1 pundits have urged fans to appreciate the brilliance behind Verstappen and Red Bull’s supremacy. Yet, this hasn’t quelled the opinions of some who believe this one-driver show might not be beneficial for Formula 1 in the long run. The sport thrives on competition, on the edge-of-the-seat moments where the outcome is uncertain until the final lap.

The situation is particularly poignant for the Orange Army. Known for their passionate support and the sea of orange in the grandstands, their enthusiasm has been a hallmark of European races. But as De Limburger points out, even these loyal fans are beginning to feel the effects of what they perceive as a saturation of victories. It’s a complex scenario, where the thrill of seeing a national icon win is tempered by a longing for more competitive racing.

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This evolving sentiment among fans and observers alike underscores a significant aspect of sports – the inherent desire for competition and unpredictability. Verstappen’s achievements are undeniably extraordinary, but they also bring into focus the delicate balance between dominance and the need for a competitive field in sports. As the F1 caravan moves forward, it remains to be seen how this narrative will develop and what it means for the future of Formula 1.

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Written by:

Pulkit Jai

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Pulkit is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong academic background in engineering, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the intricate mechanics and technology driving Formula 1. This expertise allows him to offer insightful analysis, exploring the technical aspects of the sport and shedding light on the innovative advancements that shape the world of F1.
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Edited by:

Aishwary Gaonkar

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