Dutch Red Bull driver Max Verstappen has another chance to become F1 world champion for the second year in a row when he takes part in the 18th round of the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Sunday.

The race is held in Japan for the first time after a three-year absence due to the effects of the Corona virus, and the latest winner at this circuit was Finn Valtteri Bottas when he defended the colors of Mercedes in 2019.

Verstappen, who has won 11 races this season, missed his first chance last Sunday in Singapore by finishing seventh, but he can make up for it if he wins at Suzuka (25 points) and Monaco’s direct competitor Charles Leclerc takes a lower position. than the second, which gives 18 points. Verstappen can also win the race if he wins the race and the fastest lap in it to score an extra point, even if Leclerc comes second.

Verstappen is 104 points ahead of Leclerc and 106 points ahead of his Mexican teammate Sergio Pérez.

He needs to be 112 points ahead of Leclerc at the end of the Japanese race to become champion and thus become the third driver to win the title four races before the end of the World Championship, after Germany’s Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel. To do this, he must score eight points more than Leclerc and six more than his teammate Pérez.

In addition, if he is destined to win in Japan, he will become the 17th driver to win the world title at least twice in the history of the world championships since it was first held in 1950.

History is behind Verstappen, who is 25 years old because 12 riders have become world champions at the Suzuka circuit.

Verstappen won his first title last year after a thrilling race at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, where he edged out his British rival Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) in the final meters to take the lead in a controversial race.

Ironically, Feuerstein never took first place in a Japanese race, but praised the track, saying, “Nothing beats Suzuka because the track is old school by nature.”

– Rain again?

As in Singapore, where the race was held in rainy weather, the scenario could repeat itself at the Japanese track, as the forecaster predicts. The start of the Singapore Grand Prix was delayed by about an hour due to heavy rain.

Verstappen commented on the matter, saying: “We have to wait for what the weather has in store for us. It feels like we’re having a date with the rain, and that can add to the tension and excitement.”

He added: “We are looking forward to racing at Suzuka because our team is in top form and we have had many wins in a row lately and we want to keep this model.”

Paul’s team is almost in total control of the races, as evidenced by his last six wins, including five by Verstein and one by Perez, who was on a wet track in Singapore a few days ago.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull (576 points) can’t decide Sunday’s title against Ferrari (439) and we’ll have to wait to see who takes over from Mercedes, who have dominated the Constructors’ Championship for the past eight years.

Two teams have dominated the races this year, with Red Bull winning 13 races and Ferrari winning four, most recently at the Austrian Grand Prix last July thanks to Leclerc.