F1: When can Max Verstappen win the 2023 F1 driver’s title?

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen is demolishing the 2023 Formula 1 field and appears well on the way to securing his third consecutive world title. But when exactly can the Dutchman win the championship?

Verstappen took another stride towards glory thanks to a brilliant Hungarian Grand Prix drive. After concerns that his and Red Bull’s dominance had diminished with a P2 in qualifying, car No.1 stormed to the chequered flag at the Hungaroring.

This win was a momentous one for Red Bull; they claimed the record for the most consecutive GP wins by a single constructor. The reigning champion team have won the last 12 races, a record going back to Abu Dhabi in 2022.

The two-time champ took victory by 33 seconds over Lando Norris, who impressively secured another podium for McLaren. Meanwhile, Verstappen’s nearest championship rival – Sergio Perez – recovered from P9 in qualifying to finish third.

As a result of this victory, the Dutchman extended his lead in the standings to 110 points over Perez. Surely, the question is when, not if, Max Verstappen wins the 2023 world driver’s title.

Well, it is for us at least, anyway. Using different hypothetical scenarios, here is when the 25-year-old can claim his third championship.

When is the earliest that Max Verstappen can win the 2023 title?

If Verstappen secures maximum points for the rest of the season – that is all wins, sprint wins, and all fastest laps – he will finish on 599. An incredible point total – but how early will he secure the biggest prize of all?

For this, we would compare Max’s increasing advantage to if Sergio Perez went pointless.

If the Mexican fails to score in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, and Singapore, and Verstappen gets maximum points, the Dutchman will win the title in Marina Bay. As you can see on the graph below, Perez would be 222 points behind in this scenario (grey bar), with only 206 points left to play for (yellow).

This would see the Red Bull Racing star claim the championship with seven races remaining. Not only would this be an F1 record, but it would also be absolutely insane.

The graph also plays out the scenario of Perez finishing outside the points for the rest of 2023 and Verstappen winning all. The. Time.

Of course, we are also assuming that Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso go pointless, too. Every other driver on the grid could finish second in the next few races and still be mathematically unable to catch Verstappen after Singapore.

Should Perez finish second in every session behind Verstappen, he’d extend his fight all the way to Qatar. Alternatively, if Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton did the same, they would be unable to catch Verstappen by Japan.

To summarise – the earliest that Max Verstappen can win the 2023 F1 driver’s title is the Singapore Grand Prix.

What if the field averages the same number of points per race for the rest of the season?

Alternatively, and more realistically, we can compare the average points per round of the drivers. Verstappen is averaging 25 points per round in 2023, with Perez next best at 16 per GP.

So, if they both continued at this average, Max’s advantage would become insurmountable for Checo at the Qatar Grand Prix. Here, the No.1 Red Bull would be on 431 points (blue bar), with Perez on 267 – 164 points behind.

After Qatar, there are 146 points left to race for. Therefore, Verstappen would be uncatchable. F1 fans would then have five GPs left to watch with the championship already decided.

Can Verstappen afford to finish second for the rest of the season?

The short answer here is yes, he can. From here on in, even if Checo secures every win and fastest lap for the rest of 2023 he will get 489 points. By comparison, Verstappen will finish on 507 should he finish second at every GP and sprint race.

In fact, with a 26-point lead heading into Abu Dhabi in this hypothetical, Max would just have to finish in the points at the last race to become the outright champion.

We are witnessing a truly historic campaign from Max Verstappen as he glides to the 2023 title. A lot of dramatic moments may occur, but the Dutchman looks truly imperious. On his current trajectory, he will claim his third WDC with multiple races to spare.

Realistically, Qatar or the US Grand Prix in Austin appear the most likely tracks where he will secure the crown. But if Perez, Alonso, or even Hamilton, slip up or fail to reduce the gap, we could see Verstappen confirm his triumph in Japan yet again.

Featured image credit: Getty