Most titles in F1 history: Max Verstappen moves among all-time greats with third championship

Max Verstappen has capped off his dominant 2023 season by securing his third F1 World Driver’s Championship at the Qatar Grand Prix – solidifying his place in history among the all-time greats.

Rather bizarrely, the Dutchman actually completed a hat-trick of WDCs on Saturday. His second place in the Qatar Sprint gave the Red Bull driver sufficient points so as to be uncatchable – and thus champion.

Then, in a result typical of 2023, Verstappen stormed to victory in Sunday’s Grand Prix. His fourteenth win of the season saw him take the chequered flag ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

Since lights out at the season opener in Bahrain, Verstappen and his RB19 have been nearly impossible to match. He has scored points at every round, whilst winning all but three GPs so far this year. Additionally, Max has wrapped up the championship with five rounds still remaining – a testament to his superiority.

So, with this win, Max Verstappen becomes the eleventh driver in F1 history to win their third world championship. In doing so, he also elevates his name among some of the sport’s legends.

F1 championship all-time list: Max Verstappen and drivers with 3 titles

Alongside the Dutchman, five other racers can call themselves triple world champs. Verstappen’s three titles equal that of the great Ayrton Senna, who was champion in 1988, 1990, and 1991.

Alongside the Brazilian, compatriot Nelson Piquet won three titles in 1981, 1983, and 1987. However, Niki Lauda beat Piquet to the championship in 1984 – the third of the Austrian icon’s three WDCs (1975, 1977, 1984).

Finally, Jackie Stewart recorded a trio of titles in 1969, 1971, and 1973, with Jack Brabham achieving the same feat in 1959, 1960, and 1966.

There are then just five drivers ahead of this collective with more championships.

4 WDCs – Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel

One in front of Max Verstappen and co. are a pair of icons from the history of the F1 championship.

Firstly, Sebastian Vettel precedes Verstappen as the first-ever dominant Red Bull pilot. The German won four consecutive crowns from 2010-2013, all with the Austrian outfit.

Contrastingly, Alain Prost’s four titles came with two different squads. The Professor’s back-to-back championships in 1985 and 1986 were with McLaren, as was his 1989 triumph. However, the Frenchman’s 1993 title came when Prost was behind the wheel of a Williams.

5 WDCs – Juan Manuel Fangio

In third all-time, out on his own, is Juan Manuel Fangio. The greatest driver of Formula 1’s formative era, the Argentine’s first title came in 1951, with Alfa Romeo.

Three years later, Fangio won four championships on the trot for Maserati (part of 1954, 1957), Mercedes (part of 1954, 1955), and Ferrari (1956). A truly unbelievable talent from an iconic era, who was the benchmark for so many legends throughout F1 history.

But even he is in the dust of the top two drivers ever seen.

7 WDCs – Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher

Finally, at the top of the all-time F1 Champions list, there is a tie between Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher.

Schumi secured back-to-back titles for Benetton in 1994 and 1995. However, he then had to wait five years before clinching the 2000 WDC for Ferrari. What followed was four more titles (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004) and utter domination to start the millennium.

Hamilton, by comparison, dramatically took the 2008 title for McLaren in just his second year of F1. But a switch to Mercedes – and the start of the turbo-hybrid era – saw him finally grab an elusive second crown in 2014.

The Brit backed this up with a third title in 2015, then reeled off four in a row from 2017 – 2020.

Will he ever surpass Michael Schumacher and reach No.8? Right now, Hamilton has to overcome the ruthless power of Max Verstappen if he wants to get one more F1 World championship for his collection.

No. of F1 World Driver’s ChampionshipsDrivers
7Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton
5Juan Manuel Fangio
4Alain Prost, Sebastian Vettel
3Jack Brabham, Jackie Stewart, Nelson Piquet, Niki Lauda, Ayrton Senna, Max Verstappen
Table: Most F1 driver’s titles of all time

Featured image credit: Getty