Max Verstappen can score his third drivers’ championship victory before the Qatar Grand Prix.Losail International Circuit in two weeks’ time.
While Verstappen romped to victory from pole position his only remaining championship rival, team mate Sergio Perez, suffered a terrible race. Already on the back foot after breaking his front wing in a first-lap collision with Lewis Hamilton, Perez then crashed into Kevin Magnussen, damaging his front wing again, and subsequently retired from the race.
Verstappen therefore leads the drivers’ championship by 177 points with 180 available over the remaining six rounds. Three of those rounds include sprint races and therefore offer an extra eight points on top of the 25 for a grand prix win and bonus point for fastest lap.
As Verstappen has already ensured he will win more races than any driver this year, he would win the championship if the pair ended the season tied at the top of the standings. Therefore he only needs to ensure Perez does not out-score him by more than five points in the sprint race to secure the title.
If Perez does not finish at least third in the sprint race, Verstappen will be champion. If he does finish in the top three, Verstappen will still be champion if he finishes no more than five places behind his team mate.
No driver has previously clinched the world championship in a sprint race. The format was introduced in 2021 when three sprint races were held, each awarding just three points to the winner. Their value was increased to eight points last year, with each subsequent position awarding one point less, down to a single point for eighth place.
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