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POINTS PERMUTATIONS: What Verstappen needs to do to win his second drivers’ crown in Japan

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Max Verstappen didn’t manage to wrap up the drivers’ title in Singapore, but he could well do so in Japan this weekend. The Red Bull man needed other results to go his way at Marina Bay, but the good news for him and his team is that now, his future is in his own hands.

He sits at the top of the standings with 341 points and 11 wins to his name, leading Charles Leclerc by 104 points heading into the 18th round of the season at Suzuka. Sergio Perez lies third, two points behind Leclerc.

READ MORE: Verstappen explains botched start as he endures ‘very frustrating’ run to P7 at Marina Bay

Verstappen needs to finish the Japanese Grand Prix weekend with a lead of 112 points to take the title this weekend.

So if he wins in Japan with the bonus point for fastest lap, he will be crowned champion for a second straight year. That’s because even if Leclerc finished second and then won every other race with the bonus point for fastest lap, and won the Sprint in Brazil, he could only tie the Dutchman’s points tally at best.

But Verstappen would still have a superior win record, with 12 victories to a potential maximum of seven for the Ferrari man.

SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA - JULY 09: Sprint winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

It's been a hard-fought title fight, but it may well be coming to a close

But if Verstappen wins with Leclerc coming home second and taking the fastest lap bonus point, the title fight will stay alive. If Leclerc wins, the title battle also stays alive until Austin two weeks’ later at least. Ditto if Perez wins, regardless of where Verstappen finishes.

But if the Dutchman came home second, to clinch the title he would need Leclerc to finish fifth or lower without the bonus point, and Perez fourth or lower without the bonus point.

READ MORE: Horner hails ‘world class’ Perez but says Verstappen was carrying a ‘big wound’ in Singapore

Under the current F1 points system (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 and a bonus point for fastest lap) it means there are various other permutations to consider ahead of Japan if Verstappen doesn’t manage to win or come home second on Honda’s home soil.

So Verstappen will take the title in Japan if...

VerstappenLeclercPerez
1st with FL bonus pointPosition irrelevantPosition irrelevant
1st3rd or lowerPosition irrelevant
2nd5th or lower without bonus point4th or lower without bonus point
2nd with bonus point5th or lower4th or lower
3rd7th or lower6th or lower
3rd with bonus point6th or lower5th or lower
4th8th or lower without bonus point7th or lower without bonus point
4th with bonus point8th or lower7th or lower
5th9th without bonus point or lower8th or lower without bonus point
5th with bonus point9th or lower8th or lower
6thOut of the points9th or lower without bonus point
6th with bonus point10th or lower9th or lower
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JUNE 19: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull

Verstappen is on the verge of his second drivers' crown

Heading into Singapore, it seemed unlikely Verstappen would finish down the order given his recent dominance but that is exactly what happened. As such, no possibilities in Suzuka can be ruled out, especially given that F1 hasn’t raced there since 2019.

But the Dutchman has spoken of his desire to wrap up the title at the home race of Honda, so you can be sure he'll be going all out for that win.

As for the constructors’, Red Bull have a 137-point advantage over Ferrari, with 235 points left on the table. Even if they were to win the race in Japan and score a one-two with the bonus point, the constructors’ fight would still go on to the USA thanks to Ferrari’s double podium in Singapore, regardless of where the Scuderia finish next weekend.

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