How Max Verstappen can win the F1 title this weekend

Max Verstappen. (Getty Images)

Max Verstappen. (Getty Images)

Dan Istitene

After 16 races, of which he has won 13, Max Verstappen leads the Formula One title race with 400 points ahead of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez on 223.

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Verstappen leads by 177 points with 180 points remaining available to be scored in the final six rounds.

The Dutchman needs to score three championship points.

He can do this by finishing sixth or better in Saturday’s sprint or if he fails to finish or score sprint points, eighth or better in Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix.

Formula One world championship standings ahead of the Qatar Grand Prix in Lusail on Sunday:

Drivers

1. Max Verstappen (NED) 400 pts, 2. Sergio Perez (MEX) 223, 3. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) 190, 4. Fernando Alonso (ESP) 174, 5. Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) 150, 6. Charles Leclerc (MON) 135, 7. Lando Norris (GBR) 115, 8. George Russell (GBR) 115, 9. Oscar Piastri (AUS) 57, 10. Lance Stroll (CAN) 47, 11. Pierre Gasly (FRA) 46, 12. Esteban Ocon (FRA) 38, 13. Alexander Albon (THA) 21, 14. Nico Hulkenberg (GER) 9, 15. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) 6, 16. Zhou Guanyu (CHN) 4, 17. Kevin Magnussen (DEN) 3, 18. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) 3, 19. Liam Lawson (NZL) 2

Constructors

1. Red Bull 623 pts, 2. Mercedes 305, 3. Ferrari 285, 4. Aston Martin 221, 5. McLaren 172, 6. Alpine 84, 7. Williams 21, 8. Haas 12, 9. Alfa Romeo 10, 10. AlphaTauri 5

Red Bull have won all previous three sprints this season, Perez taking one victory and Verstappen two, a record that makes it likely the newly-crowned constructors’ champions, who clinched that honour for a second successive year at last month’s Japanese Grand Prix, will be favourites again.

“It feels good to be heading into Qatar with the constructors’ championship secured,” said a relaxed Verstappen.

“The track in Qatar is really fun to drive, but it is going to be a tough weekend for all of us as it is so hot.

“The temperatures will make it interesting especially as we have a sprint race this weekend so we need to learn as much as we can from Friday practice ahead of Saturday.

“The drivers’ title can be won on Saturday so that is our main aim and hopefully it will be a weekend to remember.”

If Verstappen clinches the championship again in the sprint, he will be the first Saturday champion since Nelson Piquet, the Brazilian father of his girlfriend Kelly, won the second of his three titles 40 years ago at the 1983 South African Grand Prix.

Four other drivers have won the title on a Saturday – Juan Manuel Fangio (1955), Jack Brabham (1959), Graham Hill (1962) and Keke Rosberg (1982).

After his dominant race victory in Japan, Verstappen will be expected to continue the form that carried him to 10 straight wins before he and Red Bull were beaten in Singapore in mid-September, but rivals Ferrari, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin will be keen to make life difficult.

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