Max Verstappen can only stop himself. The Dutchman is clearly at the top of Formula 1. He can become world champion for the third time in Qatar on Saturday – even without a win.
Max Verstappen’s third Formula 1 title in a row is now only a matter of time. The Dutch Red Bull star can complete his renewed triumph in Qatar on Saturday.
In the sprint race (7.30 p.m./Sky), three championship points are enough for the leader to mathematically outpace his teammate Sergio Pérez from Mexico. The 26-year-old Verstappen has already collected 177 points more than his teammate Pérez and has a total of 400 points after his recent victory in Japan.
A maximum of 146 points are still available after Qatar. 25 points each for the race win and one each for the fastest lap. In addition, there are sprint races over just 100 kilometers in Qatar, the USA and Brazil, each of which earn the winner eight points. The eighth person gets another point.
Because Verstappen has long been uncatchable in terms of the number of victories (13), he would also be crowned world champion if there was a tie on points at the end of the season.
World Cup decision already in the sprint?
The double champion needs at least that 146 point lead after the Qatar race. In Verstappen’s ideal case, he would be world champion one day before the main race at the Lusail International Circuit north of Doha. To do this, he has to come at least sixth in the sprint, which brings exactly the necessary three points. In this case, Verstappen could even be out on Sunday and the following five race weekends until the end of November would only be about daily victories.
Verstappen said before the trip to the Arabian Gulf that his “main goal” was to secure the World Cup decision in the sprint. “Hopefully it will be an unforgettable weekend,” added the defending champion.
Even if Pérez wins the sprint and the Grand Prix the next day with the fastest lap, he could only reduce the gap to 146 points. If Pérez only finishes fourth in the sprint or achieves an even worse result, the fight for the title will also be decided early.
It would be nothing new that a Formula 1 world champion would be crowned on a Saturday. For example, Nelson Piquet won all three of his titles (1981, 1983, 1987) on a Saturday, as races used to take place on that day more regularly than they do today. By the way, the Brazilian Piquet should be happy for Verstappen. Piquet’s daughter Kelly is in a relationship with the Red Bull driver. Both have officially been a couple since the beginning of 2021.
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