Max Verstappen will get his first opportunity to wrap up the Drivers’ Championship at this weekend’s returning Singapore Grand Prix, depending on where Charles Leclerc and team-mate Sergio Pérez finish.
The Red Bull driver boasts a 116-point lead over Leclerc in the standings, as the series heads to the Marina Bay Circuit for the first time since 2019, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The night race was forced to be cancelled the last two years as a result of the pandemic; however, the race is well and truly back this weekend.
The forecast is looking set to be incredibly worrying for all the teams and drivers, with thunderstorms and heavy rainfall currently scheduled for the weekend.
Should it rain, then Verstappen would probably be the favourite to claim victory, based on his previous performances in wet conditions.
So, just how can the 24-year-old wrap up his second consecutive title this weekend?
If Verstappen wins his sixth consecutive race and achieves the fastest lap, then he will become World Champion if Leclerc fails to finish in the top eight and if Pérez fails to finish in the top four.
With Leclerc unlikely to finish outside the top eight, it’s more likely that Verstappen will claim the title at the Japanese Grand Prix, which follows Singapore.
Verstappen and Leclerc’s title battle this season has been rather underwhelming, considering how titanic the Dutchman’s fight with Sir Lewis Hamilton was last year.
Verstappen’s rivalry with Hamilton is still widely spoken about today, with people believing Verstappen and Leclerc have demonstrated more mutual respect this year than the Dutch driver and Mercedes driver did last year.
The championship leader doesn’t see how his battles over the last two seasons can be compared, with the cars being different this year and with Ferrari working very differently to the Silver Arrows.
“The cars are completely different, you’re fighting a different team,” said Verstappen.
“The points lead, of course, nobody expected it to be like this.
“I don’t think it really portrays how the season has gone in terms of competitiveness because all the races we have had, I don’t think there has actually been one where we have been, let’s say, really dominant.
“It has always been really fine margins and I expect that to continue.”
Should Verstappen win this weekend, then it will staggeringly be his 12th victory of the season.
The dominant Dutchman has his eyes on eclipsing Sebastian Vettel’s and Michael Schumacher’s joint record of 13 wins in a single season, something Verstappen can eclipse at the United States Grand Prix.
The soon-to-be double World Champion is adamant that himself and the team “want to win more races”, with the team not settling for anything other than the top step.
“The whole team thinks the same way – we want to win more races,” added the Red Bull driver.
“We are not here to say we can only finish second, third, that’s okay. We don’t work like that.
“We always want the best, we want to win. We don’t want to give wins to other teams just for being safe.”