Max Verstappen‘s superiority during the 2022 Formula 1 season has left him with a virtually clear path to his second consecutive World Championship. His Red Bull is proving to be unbeatable in recent races, but not even his teammate Sergio Perez can keep up with him despite having the same car.
Although 116 points separate him from Charles Leclerc, his main competitor so far, and 125 points from the Mexican, he is not yet guaranteed the title. But he may clinch it soon, if things continue to go as well for him as they have been going so far.
Six races remain. That’s 156 points at stake, including one more sprint weekend in Brazil. After the win in Italy, the title looks closer than ever and an almost certainty.
This, with calculator in hand, means that if he wins two more races there will be no more obstacles on his road to success.
It could also be sooner, as he could clinch the title if he wins at Singapore. For this to happen, though, neither Perez nor Leclerc can finish on the podium for that result to play out.
Suzuka the most likely venue
This means that the most likely stage for him to be crowned champion, should Verstappen continue his unbeaten run, would be Suzuka on October 9. But it’s also nuanced, because a number of factors would have to go in the Dutchman’s favour
Even if Verstappen win the next race in Singapore, getting the 25 points plus the extra for fastest lap there are a couple of scenarios which would make the Dutchman world champion.
- Verstappen must win the 2022 Singapore GP
- Full points (25) must be awarded, for which at least 46 of the 61 laps must be covered
Then if Verstappen sets the fastest lap at Marina Bay, and thus taking an extra point.
- Leclerc must finish no higher than eighth
- Perez must finish no higher than fourth
But if Verstappen wins the 2022 Singapore GP, but does NOT take fastest lap, the following apply.
- Leclerc must finish no higher than ninth
- Perez must finish no higher than fourth, or fifth if he sets the fastest lap
The biggest danger for Verstappen, however, remains Leclerc. The reason is none other than Checo’s role within the Red Bull team. For a delay to the title celebrations, Perez and Leclerc need to leave Suzuka with a gap of less than 112 points to Verstappen.
This would mean they could hold out until the United States GP, which is on October 23. It seems difficult, though, given the small number of points both competitors can lose over the next two races.
And, again, we can look to Verstappen‘s superiority. It could be delayed until the Mexican Grand Prix, if both Perez and Leclerc get their act together over the next few races.
But it looks like a difficult task, not because they will perform badly, but because the Red Bull driver is not too keen to fail.
Looking further ahead, with Brazil and Abu Dhabi as the last races, it looks like a very difficult task for them to keep things alive going into to the last Grand Prix of the World Championship.
We will have to wait and see what fate has in store for them after the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix.