Leading the world championship with a comfortable lead over Charles Leclerc, the Dutchman could be crowned at the end of the Singapore Grand Prix, five races before the end.
Last year, he waited until the last lap of the last race to be crowned Formula 1 world champion. But this season, Dutchman Max Verstappen could become one after the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday (2 p.m.), five races from the end, with a 116-point lead over his closest pursuer, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari).
There are different scenarios in which the Red Bull driver wins the crown, and that required breaking out the calculators, as different drivers are involved. In any case, he will have to win the Grand Prix and the 25 points that go with it. But setting the fastest lap in the race earns an extra point, and that would be a slight game-changer. Here are the scenarios.
If Verstappen wins the Grand Prix with the fastest lap
In this case, he would pocket 26 points, which would force Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) to do better than 8th, and his teammate Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) better than 4th with fastest lap, to prevent him from being crowned champion of the world. This scenario has never happened before this season, recalls Motorsport .
No driver has ever been titled in Singapore since the appearance of the circuit in 2008. A coronation of Verstappen would therefore be historic. The Red Bull driver would also be the first since Michael Schumacher in 2022 to be crowned five races before the end.
If Verstappen wins the Grand Prix without the fastest lap
With 25 points, Verstappen would be world champion if Charles Leclerc does not do better than 9th and Sergio Pérez better than 4th without a fastest lap (or 5th with a fastest lap). This scenario, however, has already happened once this season, it was in France. Max Verstappen won, Leclerc retired and Pérez finished 4th without a fastest lap.
In any other scenario than the two presented above, Max Verstappen will have to wait before being crowned, and he will then have Japan, the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi to pocket his second consecutive coronation.