Max Verstappen‘s third championship victory is perceived as an inevitability rather than a possibility. However, the anticipation will have to extend for at least one more race before any celebrations can begin.
The Dutch racecar driver clinched a record-breaking, tenth consecutive victory at the Italian Grand Prix, and looking ahead to the Singapore visit, he seems to be a formidable contender to extend it to an 11th straight victory.
Sequencing the calendar, the Singapore race on Sep. 17th kickstarts an Asian double header and is followed closely by the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka a week later on Sep. 24th.
As the Singapore Grand Prix looms, a total of 232 points in a combination of eight remaining races and three sprint races in Qatar, Austin’s U.S. GP and Brazil, remain up for grabs this season. Each standard race awards a maximum of 25 points for the first place and an additional bonus point for the fastest lap.
Verstappen’s current 146-point lead over his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez looms large in the title hunt. The possibility of a tie in points seems remote given Verstappen’s stellar 12-win achievement as opposed to Perez’s potential highest win count of eight in the remaining races.
In the championship race, Verstappen’s necessary lead at each of the upcoming locations stands as follows: 206 points in Singapore (Sep. 17), 180 points in Japan (Sep. 24), and 146 points in Qatar (Oct. 8).
Nevertheless, even a flawless performance by Verstappen at the Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix can accomplish, at best, a lead of 172 points given he wins the full 26 points and Perez fails to score at all. If Perez places fifth or above in the upcoming two races, he can delay Verstappen’s title win until the Qatar race, regardless of the recipient of the fastest lap bonus point.
The likelihood of Verstappen’s third championship coronation seems to be hinting at Qatar. Nevertheless, if Perez suffers a DNF in either of the next two races, Japan could be the place where Verstappen’s championship dreams become a reality. However, this seems unlikely considering every Red Bull‘s driver has been successful in finishing all the races this year.
Interestingly, despite the odds, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso still hold a mathematical chance at securing the title. However, to turn this possibility into reality, either of them would need to embark on a winning spree similar to Verstappen’s while hoping the Dutchman scores less than 38 or 32 points respectively over the final eight races. As per the numbers, this prospect remains as close to impossible as it gets.