Reigning World Champion Max Verstappen can retain his 2021 Drivers’ Championship at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, which was absent from the last two seasons following the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite boasting a 116-point lead, it is quite unlikely that the Dutchman will claim his second World Championship this weekend.
Should Verstappen win his 12th race of the season and claim the fastest lap, then Charles Leclerc needs to finish in the top eight or Sergio Pérez needs to cross the line in the top four, otherwise, Verstappen will match Fernando Alonso’s two titles.
Interestingly, Verstappen can match another of the Spaniard’s milestones this weekend – his number of victories.
Should the Red Bull driver win this weekend, then he’ll match Alonso’s 32 race victories, with the Alpine driver’s last having come all the way back in 2013.
The duo has been speaking very highly about each other in the build-up to this weekend, with Alonso having revealed that he hopes Verstappen exceeds his personal statistics, and that he’d become an all-time great as a double World Champion.
Verstappen repaid the compliment by admitting it’s “not bad” to be on the verge of matching the 41-year-old’s records, who the Dutchman believes could’ve achieved so much more if he was in better cars.
“It’s not bad,” said Verstappen.
“In F1, you need a bit of luck, and you need to have the luck that you make the right decision and then have a dominant car for a long time
“Because I mean, obviously, if you would have put Fernando in the cars where other people have won championships with, he would have done the same. But that’s not how F1 works.
“At the end of the day, he still won two titles so I think he’s done very well for himself. And he’s also a great guy and a great personality for F1.”
It is quite unlikely that Verstappen will claim the title this weekend at the Marina Bay Circuit; however, unpredictable conditions could give the Dutch driver the chance to wrap up the championship.
Whilst this weekend is his first chance to claim his second crown, Verstappen is trying not to “really think about it”, with his priority being to “win” his first Singapore GP.
“I don’t really think about it,” he stressed.
“It’s quite a long shot. I just want to enjoy the weekend, and of course, try to win it.”
In all honesty, Verstappen could probably decide for himself where he wins the title, under normal circumstances, though, next weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix is the likely venue of where the Dutchman will celebrate the crown.
When asked if he’d rather win the championship this weekend or next, Verstappen revealed that to him “Japan is nicer” to wrap up the title.
“I think Japan is nicer,” admitted the 25-year-old.
“Also, I need a lot of luck for it to happen here, so I don’t really count on it…
“I think [Suzuka will be] my first proper opportunity to win the title. So I’m looking forward to Singapore right now, but I’m also very excited for next week.”