POINTS PERMUTATIONS: How Verstappen can become the 2023 F1 world champion in Qatar
Red Bull secured back-to-back constructors’ championships with a dominant victory at the Japanese Grand Prix that also puts Max Verstappen on the brink of securing the 2023 drivers’ title. With the Dutchman’s first chance coming at the Qatar Grand Prix, we’re here with the points permutations to explain all…
A maximum 26-point haul for Verstappen at Suzuka – including the bonus for fastest lap – and team mate Sergio Perez’s retirement means the drivers’ championship can be settled as early as the Sprint race at the Lusail International Circuit.
Verstappen’s 13th win of the season has left him on 400 points, while Perez holds little more than half of that tally on 223, a whopping 177 points adrift with only 180 up for grabs across the final six rounds of the season – a run that includes three Sprints.
Drivers’ standings ahead of the Japanese GP
|1 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing||374|
|2 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing||223|
|3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes||180|
|4 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin||170|
|5 Carlos Sainz Ferrari||142|
|6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari||123|
Given that Qatar is one of those Sprint rounds, 34 points are on offer over the course of the weekend, from the eight that go to the winner in the 100-kilometre dash to 25 for victory in the main event and one for setting the fastest lap.
Put simply, Verstappen will be crowned champion in Qatar for a third successive season if he leaves Qatar with a lead of 146 points or more over Perez.
Even if Perez wins the Sprint race, Verstappen will secure the title by finishing sixth or higher. Indeed, Perez needs to finish at least third – with Verstappen also encountering drama – to mathematically remain in contention.
Verstappen’s points permutations
|Grand Prix||Lead required afterwards|
Taking the two extremes of Perez winning the Sprint and Verstappen failing to score, Verstappen would still only need an eighth-place finish in the Grand Prix itself – regardless of Perez’s result – to be crowned champion once again.
The only way Perez can stay in the hunt beyond Qatar is to win the race and reduce Verstappen’s championship advantage to 145 points. If the pair end up tied on 146, Verstappen would seal the deal thanks to his far superior number of race wins.