Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen looks set to take his title as World Champion into 2023, with the Dutchman on the verge of retaining his 2021 crown.
The Red Bull driver currently boasts a 116-point lead over Charles Leclerc and can wrap up the Drivers’ Championship at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.
Whilst it’s more likely that Verstappen will claim the title at the Japanese Grand Prix, which follows this weekend, the 24-year-old could claim the title this weekend.
If Verstappen wins a sixth consecutive race this weekend and claims the fastest lap, then Sergio Pérez must finish in the top four and Leclerc must finish in the top eight, otherwise the Dutchman will retain his championship.
No matter where or when it happens, very little can stop Verstappen from claiming the crown, considering he could sit out the next four races and still have at least a 10-point-lead going into the final two races of the year.
With 11 wins to his name this year so far, it’s easy to see how the Red Bull driver has raced to the crown; however, Ferrari’s incompetence has massively benefited him.
There is no doubt that the championship would be considerably closer had Ferrari not had as many reliability problems and strategic errors as they’ve had, but Red Bull have also been forced to overcome their own issues.
It is very easy to forget that the Milton Keynes-based side faced their own reliability problems at the start of the year, with Verstappen having retired from two of the opening three races.
Since then, Verstappen hasn’t retired once and has instead won 10 of the 13 races since his last retirement at the Australian Grand Prix.
The RB18 has also become considerably stronger throughout the year, with Verstappen putting this down to the team decreasing the weight of the RB18.
Ferrari have been impeccably fast in qualifying all year, mainly thanks to having a car that is on the borderline of the minimum weight allowed.
Red Bull are still working towards this, with Verstappen revealing that the car struggled at the start of the season due to being “heavily overweight”.
The heavy car actually suited Sergio Pérez; however, it went against Verstappen’s preferred driving style.
Since the car became lighter, Pérez has gone backwards, whereas Verstappen has escaped into the distance.
“It was mainly just because of the weight,” he said.
“The car was very heavily overweight, initially.
“That doesn’t help the balance of the car because it becomes all a bit lazy and also in the wrong place of the car. So the car was overweight and that’s why it made it understeer quite a bit.”