F1 title a ‘long shot’ for Verstappen in Singapore
By Mat Coch
Friday 30th September, 2022 - 8:16pm
Max Verstappen says he is not thinking about sealing his second world drivers’ championship at this weekend’s Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix.
The Dutchman could mathematically move the title out of reach depending on the outcome of Sunday’s race.
He currently holds a 116-point advantage over Charles Leclerc, his nearest rival for the championship. Should Verstappen win in Marina Bay, and Leclerc finish eighth or worse, the Red Bull driver would become champion.
There are other permutations but, in essence, Leclerc poses the most significant threat.
“I don’t really think about it,” Verstappen said on Thursday in Singapore when asked about securing his second crown this weekend.
“It’s quite a long shot, and I just want to enjoy the weekend and, of course, try to win it.
“I think Japan is nicer,” he added when pressed if it’d be good to get it locked away this weekend.
“I need a lot of luck for it to happen here, and so I don’t really count on it.”
Should the championship not be resolved this weekend, it is likely Verstappen will secure the title at the Japanese Grand Prix next weekend.
That is, commercially, a more ideal scenario given Red Bull continues to use Honda power units, even if they are rebadged in the Austrian company’s own name.
There are also suggestions that partnership could become more formalised for the next generation of Formula 1 engine regulations, which come into play from 2026.
Verstappen has been in strong form this season. He has won the last five grands prix in a row and secured 11 race wins already in 2022.
It’s left him comfortably clear at the top of the standings, in stark contrast to his maiden championship-winning campaign which went to the wire last season.
“Last year, around this time, we just didn’t have a car really capable of challenging anymore for, like, proper wins,” he recalled.
“We might have done a few on strategy, but I do think that at the moment, we have a stronger car – especially in race trim compared to what we had last year.
“So it’s also a bit different from that side, and from my side, I of course strive to be better than the year before.
“But I don’t think what I was doing last year at the end to what I’m doing now is very different.”
Track action for the Singapore Grand Prix begins today with opening practice at 18:00 local time (20:00 AEST/03:00 BST/22:00 ET).