Max Verstappen believes a lot needs to happen in his favour this weekend for him to be crowned Formula 1 drivers’ champion for the second year in a row.
The Dutchman just needs eight points more than Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc and six points more than Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez at Suzuka to secure an early title this year – marking his second season win after he sealed his first in controversial circumstances in the closing race of 2021.
The Red Bull star could well take the title this weekend with four races left on the current season’s calendar, however the 25-year-old is not letting thoughts of victory cloud his concentration ahead of this weekend’s battle after a disappointing P7 finish in Singapore.
Speaking to reporters in Japan, Verstappen said: “It would be very nice if it happens here.
“But if it doesn’t happen here, I will be more in favour [to win the title] the next race [the United States Grand Prix on October 23].
“It doesn’t really change anything. You just want to have a good weekend and try to maximise everything you can.
“I need a perfect weekend to clinch the title here, but to be honest, I’m not really thinking about it too much.
“It’s a shame we couldn’t be here last year in a title fight, so that’s why we are looking forward to being back here, then we’ll see what happens. We need a perfect weekend, for sure.”