Max Verstappen, the reigning Formula 1 World Champion, is on a relentless quest for racing records. His remarkable season has already seen him claim an unprecedented 17 victories, and he’s not done yet.
The Dutchman has now set his sights on a new milestone: equalling Lewis Hamilton’s single season pole position record.
The pantheon of pole positions
Verstappen’s blistering pace throughout the season has been a testament to Red Bull’s race-day prowess. However, qualifying has been a mixed bag for the team, with Verstappen securing pole position on nine occasions to date.
Sebastian Vettel holds the record for most pole positions in a single season with 15, a testament to his dominance in 2011. Verstappen’s current tally places him among F1’s elite, sharing the 11 pole positions with legends such as Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher, Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
On the verge of matching Hamilton
Verstappen secured his 11th pole of the year at the Brazilian Grand Prix, edging closer to Hamilton’s personal best of 12 poles in 2016. Despite Hamilton’s impressive performance this year, the championship slipped through his fingers, with Nico Rosberg eventually taking the title.
Two rounds, two chances
With two races remaining in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi, Verstappen has two chances to equal – and possibly surpass – Hamilton’s record. One more pole would put him on a par with Hamilton’s 2016 achievement, while two more would take him to the heights reached by Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
The quest for a place among the legends
Nigel Mansell’s phenomenal 14 pole positions in the 1992 season, at the wheel of the iconic Williams FW14B, remains a benchmark for single-season qualifying excellence.
As Verstappen prepares for the final races of the season, he’s not just competing against his contemporaries – he’s competing against the legends of the sport, in search of a place in the annals of Formula One history.
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