Max Verstappen could win title this weekend, 5 races before the end of the season
Max Verstappen can already win his second Formula 1 world title next Sunday at the Singapore Grand Prix. If the Red Bull driver wins the evening race on the street circuit, only Charles Leclerc from Ferrari or Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez could prevent him from securing the championship five races before the end of the season.
If Verstappen wins and sets the fastest lap in the race, he will become champion on two conditions. Leclerc cannot finish higher than eighth place, and Pérez finishes no higher than fourth place. If Verstappen wins but doesn't set the fastest lap in the race, then the title will be his if Leclerc finishes no ninth or worse, and Pérez no higher than fourth, unless Pérez happens to set the fastest lap. In that case, Pérez must finish fifth or lower.
In these scenarios, Verstappen secures a lead which cannot be overtaken by the competition in the remaining five Grand Prix races, where a maximum of 138 points can be won.
If the Dutch driver succeeds, he will already become world champion with five races left on the calendar. That is a rarity in Formula 1. British driver Nigel Mansell won the title in the 11th race out of 16 on the 1992 calendar. The record is held by Michael Schumacher, who won the title in his Ferrari in 2002 after 11 of the 17 races. There were still six races left that year.
Verstappen has already won eleven races this year and has a very real chance of setting a new record for most victories in a season. Schumacher set the record in 2004, and Sebastian Vettel tied it in 2013. Verstappen is already the record-holder with the most podium places in one season, namely eighteen in the 2021 season.
If the Dutch man does not win the race in Singapore, he will get another chance a week later in the Grand Prix of Japan.