Max Verstappen recorded two wins on his way to third place in the Drivers’ Championship. Here are the facts and statistics from Verstappen’s 2020 season!
Of 2020’s regular drivers, only Lance Stroll completed fewer laps than Max Verstappen. The Dutchman may have finished only twelve races this year but when he did finish, he was almost always on the podium. His sixth place in the Turkish Grand Prix – a race which he could have won if not for spinning when attempting to pass Sergio Perez – is the only time he finished in a non-podium position this year. More impressive still, of the 795 laps which he raced this year, only 95 were not spent inside the top three positions.
Verstappen secured Red Bull’s only two wins this year, with victories in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Red Bull were not a consistent challenger to Mercedes in 2020, but Verstappen’s consistent podium finishes meant that he did get close to beating Valtteri Bottas for second place in the Drivers’ Championship, eventually ending up only nine points away from the Finn’s total.
Verstappen’s qualifying pace remained impressive too, with him failing to qualify in the top three on only three occasions. On average, he had a two tenth advantage per sector over Alex Albon in qualifying this year. It will be very interesting to see by how much Sergio Perez can close that gap in their first year as team-mates in 2021.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: Max Verstappen was the first retirement from the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix, making him the 59th different driver to record the first retirement in a Formula 1 season. It was his second retirement at the Austrian Grand Prix, having last retired from the event in 2017 – a race in which he was also the first retiree.
Styria: With third place at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen recorded his 32nd podium finish, equalling the career tallies of Jim Clark, Jacques Laffite and Jean Alesi. Both Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton recorded their fourth podium finishes in Austria, becoming the seventh and eighth drivers to have amassed four or more top three finishes at the Red Bull Ring.
Hungary: Despite crashing on his way to the grid – the first driver to do so since Romain Grosjean at the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix – Max Verstappen finished as runner-up at the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix. The driver of car number 33 recorded his 33rd podium finish, equalling the career totals of World Champions Denny Hulme and Jody Scheckter. Verstappen’s second place marked the fifth time that the driver who started seventh at the Hungarian Grand Prix has finished on the podium. All five of those podium results have been second place finishes.
Britain: Max Verstappen finished as runner-up in the 2020 British Grand Prix, scoring his 34th podium finish and a sixth podium from the last seven races. With second place and a point for fastest lap, Verstappen scored nineteen points and took his total career points to exactly 1,000. He is only the twelfth driver in F1 history to have scored 1,000 points.
70th Anniversary: On the weekend where he equalled his father’s number of Grand Prix starts, Max Verstappen became the first non-Mercedes driver to win a race in 2020. It was the ninth win of his career, and his first victory at Silverstone – making him the 31st driver to have won a Grand Prix at the circuit. The last time Red Bull won at Silverstone, Mark Webber also recorded his ninth F1 win.
Spain: At the 2020 Spanish Grand Prix, Max Verstappen finished on the podium for a fifth consecutive race and recorded his 36th top three finish. It put him 24th in the all-time list, equal with Graham Hill, who secured 36 podiums over a nine year period. Verstappen became the ninth driver to have finished on the podium at Catalunya four times.
Belgium: Max Verstappen finished on the podium for a sixth consecutive race, matching his personal record of most consecutive podium finishes. He had previously finished on the podium at six successive races between the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix and the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. This was Verstappen’s 37th podium finish in total, equalling Riccardo Patrese’s total of top threes.
Italy: Max Verstappen’s streak of podium finishes came to an end as he retired from the 2020 Italian Grand Prix. It was his first retirement at Monza and the first time he failed to score at the track since his debut season in 2015.
Tuscany: Max Verstappen recorded a second consecutive retirement at the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix. This was the first time the Dutchman has been out at consecutive races since he retired from the 2017 Canadian, Azerbaijan and Austrian Grands Prix.
Russia: After becoming the first Red Bull driver to qualify on the front row at Sochi Autodrom, Max Verstappen finished as runner-up in the 2020 Russian Grand Prix, recording his team’s first podium finish at the event. It was Verstappen’s 38th podium finish, and the 40th overall for a Dutch driver.
Eifel: Max Verstappen finished as runner-up in the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, recording the 39th podium finish of his career. He also became the 39th different driver to have set the Fastest Lap of a race on nine occasions, equalling the career tallies of Denny Hulme, Ronnie Peterson and Jacques Villeneuve. At this point, Verstappen had finished on the podium in every race which he had finished since the 2019 United States Grand Prix. With his Fastest Lap, Verstappen broke Michael Schumacher’s sixteen-year old Nurburgring Lap Record by 1.329 seconds.
Portugal: In the last fifteen previous races up to the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, Max Verstappen had recorded three retirements. He had finished on the podium at every other race. The Portimao race marked Verstappen’s 40th podium finish, making him only the 23rd driver to reach that milestone. Verstappen became the first Dutch driver to finish on the podium at the Portuguese Grand Prix, making the Netherlands the fourteenth nation to have finished in the top three at the event.
Emilia Romagna: Formula 1 visited Italy on three occasions in 2020 and in all three races, Max Verstappen retired. Manfred Winkehlock is the only other driver to record retirements three times in the same country in a single season. As a result of his retirement from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Dutchman was knocked out of title contention and no longer had a mathematical chance of becoming Formula 1’s youngest-ever World Champion. His DNF was the first from third on the grid at Imola since Jacques Villeneuve failed to finish in 1996.
Turkey: For the first time since 2008, neither Red Bull driver finished on the podium at the Turkish Grand Prix. This was the first race which Max Verstappen has finished in a position outside of the podium places since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, when he also finished sixth. He qualified in second place for the race, equalling his best Saturday result up to this point in the 2020 season.
Bahrain: Max Verstappen qualified in third place for the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, which is the first time that he has qualified inside the top four at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It was Red Bull’s first top three result in qualifying in Bahrain since 2014 and in the race, Verstappen recorded the team’s best result since at the track Sebastian Vettel’s win in 2013. Verstappen’s second place was the 41st podium finish of his career, equalling Felipe Massa for 22nd in the all-time list of most podiums. With the Fastest Lap, Verstappen also became the 36th driver to have recorded ten Fastest Laps in F1.
Sakhir: Max Verstappen was eliminated on the first lap of the Sakhir Grand Prix. It was his fourth retirement at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Abu Dhabi: Max Verstappen took pole position for the 2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making Red Bull the first non-Mercedes powered team to take pole in 2020. This was Verstappen’s third pole position and his first at the Yas Marina Circuit. He became the sixth different driver to take pole position at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since the event joined the calendar in 2009. On Sunday, Verstappen took his second win of the 2020 season. This was the tenth win of Verstappen’s career, making him the 34th driver to have recorded ten wins in Formula 1. Verstappen became the sixth driver to have won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and made this the sixth consecutive year in which the polesitter has won the event. This was only the second time that Verstappen has won from pole position, having last done so at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix, and the second time in his career that Verstappen led every lap of the race. The only other time he has done so is at the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.