- How early could Verstappen seal the deal?
- How can Verstappen’s party be prolonged?
- The records Verstappen could break
Max Verstappen sits 93 points clear at the top of the F1 championship after his dominant victory at the Belgian Grand Prix. Here’s how he can clinch the title in the coming races.
After the early promise of a season-long title battle between Red Bull and Ferrari faded, Verstappen is running away with the world championship.
It is now a question of when, not if, the Dutchman will successfully defend his crown to become a two-time world champion.
Nine victories from 14 races so far this season have given Verstappen a seemingly insurmountable lead at the top of the championship standings. He is 93 points ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez and 98 clear of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
Barring something extraordinary, there is just no stopping Verstappen as he steamrolls towards a second consecutive world title.
It marks a vast difference to the circumstances in which Verstappen won his maiden F1 title against Lewis Hamilton.
Their intense championship battle raged for 22 rounds and culminated in one of the most dramatic and controversial deciders in history on the last lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.
How early could Verstappen seal the deal?
In simple terms, all Verstappen needs is four wins from the remaining eight races to win the title. Even with four DNFs, he can still win the championship.
There are just 216 points on offer across the final eight races, including a sprint race in Brazil.
That means the earliest opportunity Verstappen could be crowned champion would be the Singapore Grand Prix in October.
While mathematically possible, wrapping up the title with five races remaining is highly unlikely as it would not only require Verstappen to win the next three races, but he would also need all of his title rivals to fail to score a single point.
If Verstappen was to claim a maximum haul of 26 points in the Netherlands, Italy and Singapore with Perez finishing second each time, he would clinch the title at the Japanese Grand Prix.
How can Verstappen’s party be prolonged?
The champagne could be put on ice until the United States Grand Prix in Austin, but only if Perez and Leclerc can leave Suzuka with a deficit of less than 112 points to Verstappen.
For that to happen, Perez can afford to lose no more than 18 points over the coming races, while Leclerc would have to lose no more than 23 points.
Both Perez and Leclerc would need to start beating Verstappen if they are to have any hope of prolonging Verstappen’s wait until the Mexican Grand Prix at the end of October.
It would take a dramatic turnaround of form and bad luck for Verstappen’s title coronation to be delayed further.
On current form, and given Verstappen’s supremacy, Suzuka seems a likely destination for the fate of this year’s world championship to be decided.
The records Verstappen could break
There are several records that Verstappen could break on his way to winning the title.
Verstappen is on course to break the record for most wins in a single season. The feat of winning 13 times across the season has only been achieved on two previous occasions.
Michael Schumacher won 13 out of 18 races on his way to winning the title in 2004, while Sebastian Vettel claimed 13 victories in his march to his fourth and final world championship in 2013.
Vettel’s run to title glory in 2013 included nine consecutive victories, which remains the longest streak of success in F1 history.
Verstappen could surpass Vettel’s feat but only if he wins the next seven races.
He is currently on a run of three consecutive victories for the second time this season, but would need an uninterrupted winning streak up to and including Brazil to set an unprecedented record.
Another record potentially up for grabs for Verstappen is the largest points lead in the history of F1.
Once again, that is currently held by Vettel, who ended the 2013 season with a 155-point advantage at the top of the world championship after winning the Brazilian Grand Prix.