This thread might turn toxic and have to be locked but it is just supposed to be an interesting talking point.
Max Verstappen has just won 19 out of 22 races in a season, breaking the record for most wins in a season, most consecutive wins, closest to maximum points (ignoring dropped scores), most laps led. It is probably the most dominant season ever for one driver. Of the three he didn't win, Jeddah was due to a car problem in qualifying, Baku was an unlucky safety car (although Perez could have beaten him anyway), and in Singapore the car was uncompetitive and the safety car came at a bad time.
The Red Bull also hasn't been as dominant as other best cars in the past. It has been the best at every race bar Singapore, and has been pretty much 100% reliable (bar Jeddah qualifying), but it hasn't had the one second gaps of the Mercedes in the Hamilton-Rosberg era. Effectively, Verstappen has had a few tenths advantage over the rest every time, but his remarkable consistency means he has never put in an off-day to the extent that one of the teams not far behind could have beaten him. The most comparable season in the past would be Alberto Ascari in 1952, but Verstappen has done it in a season over three times as long. There is certainly an argument for it being the greatest season performance of all time. I would suggest that Max Verstappen is now more consistent than any of the other greats of history, and his racecraft is also outstanding, he never seems to lose out in these situations. He was helped by DRS making overtaking easier, but it was mainly Verstappen's brilliance that meant he was almost never beaten this season despite Perez finishing in the top two just six times.
However, personally, I would argue against it being the greatest ever for one reason. I don't think we saw Verstappen pushed to his very best. It is hard to pick out any particularly outstanding Verstappen drives in 2023 (maybe Monaco was quite special). Because he just had an advantage over the rest and consolidated it by being so consistently perfect, but never anything special. He was helped by Sergio Perez underperforming. I think the only other season in recent times that would be among the greatest ever would be Lewis Hamilton in 2018, and while he had some bad races like China where Bottas was better all weekend, he also had other races like Monza where he had to put in a truly special performance to win, and ultimately destroyed four-time champion Sebastian Vettel that year despite having practically equal cars. I think Verstappen's season was a bit better than Hamilton's in 2018, but a race like Monza, or a qualifying lap like Singapore was what it was missing.
So, personally, I am going to make an argument for Jim Clark in 1965 as the greatest season performance in history. He won six races out of ten that year, but of the other four, he missed Monaco because he was racing in the Indy 500, and retired in Monza, Watkins Glen and Mexico City, all while battling for the lead so he may have won all three had he not retired, although it is not totally assured. But I think the remarkable thing about Clark's 1965 season was the fact that, unlike in 1963, his Lotus wasn't really any better than the BRM driven by Graham Hill, probably the second-best driver at the time although some would make a case for John Surtees or Dan Gurney, and Jackie Stewart, a rookie but destined to become the best driver after Clark's death in 1968. And of his six wins, East London, the Nurburgring and Zandvoort weren't by huge margins but were fairly comfortable, and the other three were all special performances. In Clermont-Ferrand he had to drive an older car and engine and still won by a comfortable margin. In Spa-Francorchamps, it was in very wet conditions and he and Jackie Stewart lapped the rest of the field, Clark eventually leaving Stewart behind. Silverstone was his most special performance, dominating the first stint and then having to turn the engine off in the corners in the closing laps to prevent oil-surge damage while Hill hunted him down. I think this was the greatest Formula 1 season performance in history, and that was before you even mention that he also won the Indy 500, the Tasman series and F2. Although the one black mark on the season was crashing out of the Race of Champions at Brands Hatch.
Would other people say that Max Verstappen has just put in the greatest season in history or not? And please try not to get the thread locked
Also, I know you can't really compare drivers of different eras. But that is the boring answer to this question. I have put it as an option in the poll so people can express their dissatisfaction without ruining the thread.