Seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton has said he has sympathy for fans ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, which sees Red Bull’s Max Verstappen win a second consecutive title with five races remaining.

Last season ended in Abu Dhabi, where Verstappen and Hamilton were level on points, with the Briton leading the race until a late safety car dispute that would be talked about for years to come.

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Verstappen has won 11 of 16 races this season and is 116 points clear of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc. Sunday’s race will be his first chance to win the title, although he should win.

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“Definitely I sympathize with the fans,” Mercedes driver Hamilton told reporters when asked how he feels when there is no rematch with Verstappen this season.

“For us last year when we went straight to the wire, it was stressful for everyone and that’s why it’s never great when the season ends early, even when I’ve experienced it ends early in places like Mexico.

“For you, as for one person, this is great.

“But for a real sport, that’s not impressive … so I’m very grateful to have spent 2008 all the way down to the last 17 seconds, and obviously last year is pretty much the same. Let’s hope things get a little better in the future. .”

Only two of Hamilton’s titles have been won in the last race – in 2008 with McLaren in Brazil, when he made the final pass on the last corner of the last lap, and his first title with Mercedes in 2014 in Abu Dhabi.

In 2015 in Austin, the third title came with three remaining races, and the fourth in 2017 in Mexico was at the 18th of 20 stages.

The 2018 crown was also won in Mexico with two spares, as was the case in Austin in 2019. The 2020 championship was held in Istanbul, at the 14th out of 17 races.

Ferrari’s Michael Schumacher, champion with six races remaining in 2002, and Nigel Mansell, who won the title with five races remaining in 1992, are the most dominant in the history of the sport.

However, there are far more races now than then, with Schumacher winning the title in 2002 after 11 out of 17 races and Mansell after 11 out of 16.

This year is a record 22 rounds and Verstappen is on track to break the record for most wins in a season.

This record belongs to seven-time champion Schumacher and four-time title holder Sebastian Vettel, who won 13 times each in 2004 and 2013 respectively.