Max Verstappen’s victory at the Italian Grand Prix was the continuation of his seemingly unstoppable quest for a second world title. While Charles Leclerc, Sergio Pérez, George Russell and Carlos Sainz are mathematically still in the race for the title, Verstappen’s lead at the top of the championship is now so big it’s a question whenand not ifhe became a champion.
His 116-point lead over second-placed Leclerc means that even if Leclerc takes all the 164 points that could be offered in the last six races, Verstappen will only need to score 48 points in the same time period to become champion. end of the season. This means he can finish in sixth place in all of his remaining races and still win the title, or retire from four races and secure the championship by finishing first and second in the other two.
Considering he has scored 154 points in the last six races and Leclerc has only 81 points, the only thing that can stop Verstappen is a situation where he is excluded from five or all of the remaining six races.
The size of Verstappen’s lead in the championship also means he could win the title in the next round in Singapore. It’s more likely that he will equalize at the next race in Japan, but here’s how he can get it done at the night race on October 2nd.
To become the champion of Singapore, Verstappen must by the end of the race increase the lead over the nearest rival to 138 points.
He is currently 116 points ahead of Leclerc, 125 points ahead of teammate Perez, 132 points ahead of Russell and 148 points ahead of Sainz. As a result, to win the title in Singapore, he will need to be ahead of Leclerc by 22 points, Perez by 13, Russell by 6 and lose to Sainz by no more than 10 points.
Points behind Leclerc means that to retain the title, Verstappen must win the Singapore race and then count on the next results from his two closest rivals…
Verstappen will become Singapore champion if he wins and completes the fastest lap with…
Leclerc finished eighth or lower as well as
Perez finished fourth or lower
Verstappen will become Singapore champion if he wins and doesn’t drive the fastest lap with…
Leclerc finished ninth or lower regardless of fastest lap as well as
Perez finished fourth or lower without the fastest lap or fifth or lower with fastest lap
Both scenarios are possible, although they require Leclerc to have an unusually poor race and Pérez, in the same car as Verstappen, to finish on the podium.
If the championship remains in place after Singapore, Verstappen will be able to capture the title in Japan if he has a 112-point lead over his nearest rival at the end of the race.
This is a much more likely result as he is already leading by 116 points and so by simply maintaining or increasing his lead in the next two races he will become Japanese champion.
He can also afford to lose the following number of points to his rivals in the next two races and still be Japanese champion:
Four points for Leclerc
Nine points to Perez
16 points to Russell
44 points in favor of Sainz
This means that a victory in one of the remaining races and a second place in the other will secure the title for Verstappen, regardless of the results of the other riders. or he can secure the title with a win in one race, a third place in another and one fastest lap. Of course, he could still become the underperforming champion of Japan if his opponents can’t maximize their own results.
If Leclerc gets two wins in a row in the next two races, that guarantees that the championship race will continue after Suzuki, and the same is true if Perez gets two wins in a row. However, aside from Verstappen’s string of bad luck, the title is likely to be secured in one of the next rounds, either in the US or Mexico.
Is it unusual that the championship is decided so early in the season?
If Verstappen wins the title in Singapore, he will do so in the five remaining races of the season. The earliest driver to win the title was in 2002 when Michael Schumacher claimed it at the French Grand Prix in July with six races remaining (although it was a 17-race season and under a different points system with only the top six scoring points.) .
Nigel Mansell won in 1992 with five races to go in a 16 race season.
Throughout Lewis Hamilton’s recent period of dominance, he never claimed a title with more than three races left – a feat he achieved in 2015 and 2020. Before Mercedes’ recent dominance, however, Sebastian Vettel won the 2011 title for Red Bull with four races left, a number Schumacher also sought in 2001 and 2004.