The dominant driver of Red Bull, Dutch Max Verstappen, will be able to win his second title in a row in the Formula 1 World Championship, with the Singapore Grand Prix returning to the “calendar”, after three years of absence due to the Corona pandemic.
The Dutchman, who is at the top of the championship standings, has a mathematical chance to win the title under the lights surrounding the amazing and challenging Marina Bay circuit.
To achieve that, the 25-year-old Dutchman must win the 17th round title, something he hasn’t done before in Singapore, and he also needs to stumble across his nearest rival in a big way.
Otherwise, the championship battle will move to the Japanese Grand Prix a week later, which looks closer to getting.
“You need a little luck for that too, I don’t think about that,” Verstappen told Sky Sports about his title in Singapore.
Verstappen is 116 points clear of his closest rival, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc of Monaco, after winning the Italian Grand Prix (335 to 219), and 125 points ahead of his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez.
The Dutchman needs to increase his lead by 138 points by the end of Sunday’s race, with five races remaining, to claim the fastest title since German legend Michael Schumacher in 2002 six races ago.
The victory at the Italian circuit of Montsa was Verstappen’s eleventh victory in 16 races of a season in which he is likely to break records, as “Mad Max” needs two additional wins to equal the record number of victories in one season (13 races), which is registered in my name Schumacher (2004). And his compatriot Sebastian Vettel (2013).
“I want to go to Singapore and try to win the race too,” Verstappen said. “We’re having a great season, so we have to try, appreciate and enjoy the moment.”
To win the title this weekend, the Dutchman must take first place in the race, provided that Leclerc does not finish it more than eighth or ninth, and depending on the point of the fastest “lap”, and that Pires is not on the podium.
Saturday night’s qualifying is crucial to the next day’s race, which has been won by the pole position seven times in the last 11 races.
The night race on the tight track provides rare overtaking opportunities, and the stifling heat and humidity pose a tough test for drivers, their ability to drive and an important factor in the reliability of the cars.
Singapore’s climate always carries a threat of rain chaos, as in 2017, when Vettel and Verstappen spun from the front row before colliding at the first corner.
Red Bull, the constructors’ leader with 545 points, is also certain to win the title and end Mercedes’ dominance since 2014, although that will not happen in Singapore, but the race for second place is still alive with the German yard betting on a late-season recovery to beat the Ferrari.
But the “Silver Arrows” team is pressing hard and is 35 points behind Ferrari, which suffered from reliability problems and made strategic mistakes (406 to 371).
On the other hand, Britain’s George Russell, who is in fourth place with 203 points, is still mathematically consistent in his rivalry for the drivers’ title in his first season with Mercedes, but one victory for Verstappen would end his hopes.
Russell was cautious about his chances with compatriot Lewis Hamilton, the seven-times world champion, to end the team’s drought in 2022, even though “Sir” has been crowned four times in Singapore, most recently in 2018.
“Singapore could be interesting,” Russell said. But historically it is a circuit where Mercedes has struggled a bit.”
As for the Ferrari team, they are in the Singapore race, enjoying the second place that Leclerc won on Italian soil two weeks ago, and they can compete with more confidence.
“I think we are one step closer,” said team principal Mattia Binotto.
The second Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz, finished fourth in Italy, after he was close to securing a place on the podium had it not been for the safety car’s intervention at the last minute.
“It’s also clear that if you look at the other cars behind us, we’ve taken a step forward,” Binotto added.
This will be the first grand prix in Singapore since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, and while the authorities have not announced exact numbers, they have confirmed that ticket sales have exceeded those recorded in 2019.
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