@tmekt of course it is. For example Kobayashi in Barcelona. he was in clear air and just getting dropped like a stone by the top 4 runners. Considering his pace – that was the maximum for him. Alonso in Canada – considering he was on the wrong strategy, he did the maximum, considering the state of his tyres and his underlying, “core” pace. Both cases – you have no “ifs” nor “buts” regarding whether or not the DRIVER – given his strategy on that day – could have done more.
If anyone wins a race – then obviously they achieved the maximum from their package, no matter what car they’re driving – because you can’t top a win.
I sort of define the maximum as being ahead of every car on the grid who, given the circumstances, strategy and track conditions, were slower than you.
“Trying your best” doesn’t make it the maximum. Sergio Perez tried his best to get the Malaysia win – he nearly binned it, and despite being 8 tenths quicker than Alonso AND having 3 attempts at a DRS pass, couldn’t pull it off. That was a driver who clearly (in my eyes) didn’t achieve the maximum.
I suppose it’s the engineer in me talking, but if you finish behind someone who’s slower – that’s not the maximum.