Pink Bull’s dominant Max Verstappen can clinch a second world championship when the Singapore Grand Prix returns this weekend after a three-year absence due to Covid.
The flying Dutchman has a mathematical probability to seal back-to-back world titles underneath lights across the spectacular and demanding Marina Bay avenue circuit.
To take action, the 24-year-old should win the race — one thing he has by no means achieved in Singapore — and desires his closest rivals to falter badly.
If that doesn’t occur, the championship struggle will transfer on to the Japanese Grand Prix every week later. It appears to be like like a case of when and never if.
“You want a little bit of luck for that as effectively,” Verstappen instructed Sky Sports activities of retaining his crown in Singapore.
“I don’t give it some thought.”
Verstappen opened up a 116-point lead within the drivers’ standings over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc following his victory on the Italian Grand Prix. He’s 125 away from third-placed Pink Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
He wants to increase his result in 138 factors by Sunday’s chequered flag to be topped with 5 races to spare — the earliest championship win since Michael Schumacher’s in 2002 with six GPs remaining.
Monza was Verstappen’s eleventh victory in 16 races of a probably record-breaking season.
He wants two extra wins to equal the single-season mark of 13 collectively held by Schumacher (2004) and Sebastian Vettel (2013).
“I need to go to Singapore and attempt to win that race as effectively,” Verstappen mentioned.
“We’re having an ideal season, so we should always actually try to respect it and benefit from the second.”
To take the title this weekend, he should win the race with Leclerc ending no larger than eighth or ninth — relying on who claims the additional level for the quickest lap — and Perez outdoors the rostrum locations.
A lot will rely upon Saturday evening’s qualifying for a grand prix that has been received from pole place seven occasions in its final 11 runnings.
The evening race across the tight avenue monitor affords treasured few overtaking alternatives, and the stifling warmth and humidity present a take a look at of stamina and reliability as a lot as driving means.
Singapore’s local weather at all times carries a risk of rain-induced chaos, as occurred in 2017, when Vettel and Verstappen began on the entrance row solely to crash out earlier than the primary bend.
– Mercedes chase Ferrari –
Pink Bull additionally appears to be like certain to wrap up the constructors’ championship — though it received’t achieve this in Singapore — however the race for second remains to be alive, with Mercedes banking on a late-season revival to overhaul early front-runners Ferrari.
The constant George Russell remains to be in mathematical rivalry for the drivers’ crown in his first Mercedes season, although a Verstappen victory would finish his hopes.
However the Silver Arrows are pushing arduous and are 35 factors behind Ferrari, which has suffered from a mixture of reliability points and strategic blunders.
Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has received 4 occasions in Singapore, however Russell was cautious concerning the pair’s possibilities of ending the group’s 2022 win drought.
“Singapore may very well be fascinating,” mentioned Russell.
“However traditionally, it’s a circuit the place Mercedes have struggled slightly bit.”
Ferrari was buoyed by Leclerc’s second place at its residence race at Monza two weeks in the past and might assault Singapore with extra confidence.
“I believe we made a step forward,” mentioned group principal Mattia Binotto.
Carlos Sainz minimize by way of the sphere to complete fourth for Ferrari in Italy, along with his cost for a podium place scuppered solely by a late security automotive.
“It’s clear as effectively should you take a look at the opposite vehicles behind us, we made a step forward,” mentioned Binotto.
This can be Singapore’s first grand prix for the reason that pandemic, and indicators are that the city-state is relishing having racing again.
Authorities haven’t launched actual numbers, however ticket gross sales have already exceeded 2019, they are saying.
System One: World championship standings
1. Max Verstappen (NED) 335 pts, 2. Charles Leclerc (MON) 219, 3. Sergio Perez (MEX) 210, 4. George Russell (GBR) 203, 5. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 187, 6. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 168, 7. Lando Norris (GBR) 88, 8. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 66, 9. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 59, 10. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 46, 11. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 22, 12. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 22, 13. Sebastian Vettel (GER) 20, 14. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) 19, 15. Mick Schumacher (GER) 12, 16. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 11, 17. Zhou Guanyu (CHN) 6, 18. Lance Stroll (CAN) 5, 19. Alexander Albon (THA) 4, 20. Nyck de Vries (NED) 2, 21. Nicholas Latifi (CAN) 0, 22. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 0
1. Pink Bull 545 pts, 2. Ferrari 406, 3. Mercedes 371, 4. Alpine-Renault 125, 5. McLaren-Mercedes 107, 6. Alfa Romeo 52, 7. Haas-Ferrari 34, 8. AlphaTauri-Pink Bull 33, 9. Aston Martin-Mercedes 25, 10. Williams-Mercedes 6