Michael Schumacher's single-season wins record is officially in jeopardy.
Max Verstappen continued his dominant 2022 Formula One campaign Sunday, breezing to a victory in the Belgian Grand Prix for his ninth win of the season.
The 24-year-old is only four wins behind Schumacher's record set in the 2004 campaign, a mark that many thought would never be broken. Verstappen has eight races remaining in the 2022 campaign, which gives him a little bit of an advantage over Schumacher, who won his 13 races in 17 tries.
Verstappen would have to win every race for the remainder of the 2022 season to eclipse Schumacher's all-time winning percentage mark.
Regardless of where he lands on the all-time list once the season is over, we're looking at a mortal lock for a repeat champion and one of the best stretches in racing history. Verstappen has won three straight races on two different occasions this season; he's the first driver since Kimi Räikkönen to win two straight in Belgium.
Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jr., George Russell and Charles Leclerc originally rounded out the top five Sunday. However, Leclerc was given a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane in an effort to earn the fastest lap of the race. The penalty pushed Fernando Alonso into fifth place. Meanwhile, Perez has now overtaken Leclerc for second in the points standings.
Leclerc is the only driver in F1 with multiple wins this season, but Ferrari has not been able to consistently give him top-flight cars. He has as many retirements as wins (three) and has finished off the podium in eight of his last nine races.
Perez has only one win this season but has finished second on six different occasions. This was his first podium since Great Britain after a shaky few weeks of action.
After five straight podium finishes, Lewis Hamilton's 2022 season turned back into a nightmare as he lasted only one lap before bowing out. Hamilton is currently on pace for the worst season of his F1 career. He's gone a career-worst 15 straight races without a win dating back to last season and sits a distant sixth in the points standings.
The seven-time F1 champion has never finished worse than fifth in points and was top-two each of the previous eight seasons. Sunday was only Hamilton's third retirement in the past six seasons.
After losing his chance at an eighth championship at the final race of 2021, it appears the torch in F1 has officially been passed over from Hamilton to Verstappen.