Max Verstappen joined elite F1 group with Miami GP win but is well behind Lewis Hamilton


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Reigning world champion Verstappen started third but overtook pole-sitter Charles Leclerc early on at the Hard Rock Stadium circuit and saw off the Ferrari at a late safety car restart to clinch his third victory of the season after five races. Despite that, two retirements mean he remains 19 points behind Leclerc in the championship.

Yet victory in Miami was a significant milestone in Verstappen’s career because it saw him surpass David Coulthard’s tally of 62 podiums. Verstappen’s 63rd podium means he has the 10th most top-three finishes in F1 history.

He is just four behind Valtteri Bottas and can overtake the Finn with significantly less race starts. It has taken just 146 races for Verstappen to clinch 63 podiums while Bottas amassed his 67 in 183 so far.

MUST READ: Jenson Button feels Lewis Hamilton was ‘unbelievably unlucky’ in Miami

Rubens Barrichello is next up on 68 podiums while Verstappen will have Ayrton Senna, the three-time world champion, in his sights after that. Senna has 80 to his name which means Verstappen needs to finish third or higher in all of the 18 races remaining this season to surpass the Brazilian icon.

After that, Verstappen will be aiming to overtake Fernando Alonso’s current total of 98 and break the 100 barrier. Kimi Raikkonen retired on 103 and is fifth in the list, with Sebastian Vettel is currently on 122 and sits third.

Even if he does eventually reach Vettel to take third, Verstappen will still have plenty of work to catch Hamilton. The seven-time champion has amassed an incredible 183 podiums from 293 race starts so far and will be hopeful of getting to 200 before his eventual retirement, despite Mercedes’ struggles this season.

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As it stands, Verstappen is 120 podiums behind Hamilton although he is closing the gap. The Briton is currently 28 clear of any other driver, with Michael Schumacher having collected 155 career podiums.

Verstappen already holds the records for most podiums in a single season after racking up 18 in 2021, and at his current pace, the 24-year-old holds a real chance of owning the record for most podiums come the end of his career. That is if Red Bull can maintain their success in the sport.

And the Netherlands native insists after the inaugural Grand Prix in Miami that Red Bull have work to do. He said: “We still have issues we have to solve. We are quick but, as you can see, my Friday was terrible, which was not great if you want to have a good weekend.

“Also I think Checo [Sergio Perez] had a few issues in the race, so we have to be on top of that. We have a lot of potential, but we need to make sure it’s reliable. We just have to nail down a really positive weekend without issues. I think of course in Imola we had that but it’s still a bit of a hit and miss, too much.”


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