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Why thrilling F1 victories are killing the championship race

F1 fans were bracing for another two years of Red Bull dominance after a pre-season form that was almost universally hailed as “ominous”. However, 12 races in and the 2024 championship has become one of the most competitive of modern times, with six race winners from four manufacturers, just 12 races under its belt.

Since 2010, F1 has produced an average of five different winners each year, a number that has fallen to just three in 2023, amid the record-breaking dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

This season, the success of Carlos Sainz in Australia, Lando Norris in Miami, Charles Leclerc in Monaco, George Russell in Austria and Max Verstappen everywhere else, combined with Lewis Hamilton’s ninth British Grand Prix victory, means that the number of wins in 2024 has been matched or surpassed only four times this century. With half a season of racing left and no team better than the others, we could see that number rise. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri looks a long way from a race victory, while Red Bull’s Sergio Perez needs a bit more.

But while it may be music to the ears of dedicated racing fans who have watched Max Verstappen win (usually predictably) 77.2% of all grands prix since 2022, the close competition that brings uncertainty to every race weekend is killing the title fight

Max Verstappen’s chances of a fourth consecutive drivers’ title are looking stronger despite having won just two races in the last four races and failing to finish on the podium in Austria.

A stormy start to the season has created an early cushion of advantage as those behind him struggle for consistency and pace. Victories in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Japan and China (and a sprint race win in the latter) have given him a total of 110 points going into the sixth round, with Charles Leclerc 34 points behind him. A slow start for both McLaren and Mercedes has meant that Lando Norris and George Russell have only managed 58 and 33 points respectively in the same time period.