Max Verstappen has a mathematical chance of winning the title at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix but will need luck to be on his side to do so. Here are the title permutations ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix!
With 16 races run in 2022 and six left to go, Max Verstappen holds a mighty 116-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Only four drivers have a mathematical chance of stopping Verstappen winning this year’s title: Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, George Russell and Carlos Sainz.
Having won all of the last five races, Verstappen is in search of a sixth successive win at the Singapore Grand Prix. Should he finish on the top step of the podium at the Marina Bay Street Circuit, the Dutchman can win the title – depending on where Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez finish.
HOW VERSTAPPEN CAN WIN THE TITLE IN SINGAPORE
To win the title at the Singapore Grand Prix, Verstappen would need to hold a 138-point lead in the standings at the end of the race. There will be a maximum of 138 points left on offer after the Marina Bay race: 130 points across five Grands Prix, plus a Sprint race offering 8 points at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Verstappen’s tally of wins so far this year means that in the event of a tie on points, he has already done enough to secure the title as no one can eclipse his tally of 11 victories.
So, with 138 points left on offer after the next race and Verstappen currently holding a 116-point lead, the first thing he needs to do is out-score nearest title rival Charles Leclerc by 22 points in Singapore to secure the title. As no position below first offers 22 points, Verstappen must win the Singapore Grand Prix to be in with a chance of securing the title there.
If Verstappen wins and sets the fastest lap, Leclerc must finish above 8th in order to keep his title hopes alive. If Verstappen wins without the fastest lap, Leclerc must finish at least 8th to remain in title contention. If Leclerc finishes in any position higher than 8th, regardless of where Verstappen finishes, Verstappen will have to wait until at least the Japanese Grand Prix to be crowned champion.
TEAM-MATE PEREZ CAN SPOIL VERSTAPPEN’S PARTY
Verstappen’s title winning chances are not just dependent on Leclerc finishing lower than 8th. Team-mate Sergio Perez’s result will be decisive in whether or not Verstappen claims his second title in Singapore.
Third in the standings, Perez currently sits 125 points behind Verstappen. A podium finish for Perez will ensure Verstappen does not win the title in Singapore. If Verstappen wins the Singapore Grand Prix, Perez has to finish at least third, or fourth with the fastest lap, to remain in title contention. If Verstappen wins and sets the fastest lap, Perez must finish on the podium to keep his slim title hopes alive.
WHAT ABOUT RUSSELL AND SAINZ?
George Russell is the sole Mercedes driver remaining in the title hunt, with Lewis Hamilton having been eliminated after the Italian Grand Prix. However, if Verstappen wins in Singapore, Russell will be out of title contention.
Currently fifth in the standings, Carlos Sainz’s title chances in 2022 are already extremely small. Even if Sainz wins every remaining Grand Prix and the Sprint in Sao Paulo, Verstappen must not score any more than 14 points across the rest of the season for Sainz to be ahead of his former team-mate in the end of year standings. Sainz will only remain in title contention after the Singapore Grand Prix if he out-scores Verstappen by 11 points.
THE TITLE PERMUTATIONS
Simply put, to be able to win the title in Singapore, Verstappen MUST win the race. If he does so, Russell and Sainz will automatically be out of title contention. Supposing Verstappen sets the fastest lap with his win, Leclerc must score at least five points to stay in contention (7th or higher) and Perez must score 14 (3rd or higher). If Verstappen wins and does not secure the fastest lap then Leclerc must score at least four points to stay in contention (8th or higher) and Perez must score at least 13 points (3rd or higher, or 4th with the fastest lap).
To recap, if Verstappen wins the Singapore Grand Prix, he will be champion if Leclerc finishes 9th or lower and Perez finishes no higher than 4th without the fastest lap or 5th with the fastest lap. If Verstappen wins and sets the fastest lap, Leclerc must finish 8th or lower and Perez must finish 4th or lower.
If he were to do it, Verstappen would become the first driver to win the title at the Singapore Grand Prix, with Marina Bay becoming the 31st different circuit to crown a champion in Formula 1 history. Only two drivers have previously won the title with five or more races remaining in the season. Nigel Mansell claimed the 1992 crown with five races left to run, while Michael Schumacher won the title with six races to spare in 2002.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.