F1 Title Permutations: How can Verstappen win the title at Suzuka?

Max Verstappen has another chance at winning his second title at the Japanese Grand Prix. A maximum score for Verstappen in Suzuka will secure him the 2022 crown, but there are a number of other scenarios which will see him take the title should he finish in the top six. Here are the F1 title permutations ahead of the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix!

Max Verstappen had a slim chance of securing his second title at the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. However, when he needed a flawless weekend, he had a less than ideal weekend in tricky conditions and finished the Marina Bay race only seventh. Nevertheless, Verstappen’s efforts so far this season put him in a good position title-wise and he has a realistic chance of taking his second title this weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix.

The Singapore Grand Prix put both Carlos Sainz and George Russell out of title contention, meaning that Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez are now the only drivers with a mathematical possibility of beating Verstappen to the title.

How can Verstappen win the title at Suzuka?

If Max Verstappen wins the Japanese Grand Prix and sets the fastest lap of the race, he will win the title regardless of where Charles Leclerc or Sergio Perez finish. After the Japanese Grand Prix, there will be 112 points left on offer over the four remaining rounds. Verstappen’s 367 point tally, should he win and set fastest lap, would be unassailable by either Leclerc or Perez.

If Verstappen wins the race without setting the fastest lap, Leclerc must still finish second and take the fastest lap to prevent the Dutchman winning his second title in Japan. A victory for Verstappen would automatically knock his team-mate Perez out of title contention, while Leclerc’s remaining chances of winning the title in 2022 would rely on him scoring maximum points across every remaining race and Verstappen failing to score at any – a highly improbable scenario.

Verstappen can finish as low as sixth in the Japanese Grand Prix and still have a mathematical chance of sealing the 2022 Drivers’ Championship. If Verstappen finishes sixth, he would win the title if Leclerc fails to score and Perez picks up no more than two points. See the full title permutations in the table below:

FOR VERSTAPPEN TO BE CROWNED CHAMPION AT SUZUKA:

If Verstappen finishes…Leclerc must finish…Perez must finish…
1ST + FASTEST LAPVerstappen is championVerstappen is champion
1ST3rd or lowerPerez is out of contention
2ND + FASTEST LAP5th or lower4th or lower
2ND5th, without the fastest lap, or lower4th, without the fastest lap, or lower
3RD + FASTEST LAP6th or lower5th or lower
3RD7th, with the fastest lap, or lower6th, with the fastest lap, or lower
4TH + FASTEST LAP8th or lower7th or lower
4TH8th, without the fastest lap, or lower7th, without the fastest lap, or lower
5TH + FASTEST LAP9th or lower8th or lower
5TH9th, without the fastest lap, or lower8th, without the fastest lap, or lower
6TH + FASTEST LAP10th or lower9th or lower
6TH11th or lower9th, without the fastest lap, or lower

Suzuka’s 12th title decider?

Suzuka is the scene of many memorable title deciders. The circuit has hosted 11 title-deciding races since joining the F1 calendar in 1987, a record shared with Monza. Suzuka could become the first circuit to host 12 title-deciding races this weekend, taking the record for most title deciders which has been held by Monza since the early 1960s.

Japan has hosted the most title-deciding races of any country, having hosted 14 title deciders in total – at Fuji Speedway, Suzuka and Aida. Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull’s only title winner other than Verstappen, is the last driver to win the title in Japan. He claimed his second title at Suzuka in 2011, just as Verstappen is attempting to do in 2022.

If Verstappen does secure the crown in Suzuka, he would become the eighth driver to win the title at the venue. He’d also become only the fourth driver to win the title with four races of the season remaining. Nigel Mansell, Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel are the only other drivers to have done so.

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