Verstappen on the Last Straight to the Title in the Japanese Grand Prix

Verstappen on the Last Straight to the Title in the Japanese Grand Prix

With a large 104-point lead over second-placed Charles Leclerc, Max Verstappen appears to have all but confirmed his second consecutive Formula One title heading into the Japanese Grand Prix.

He can only be stopped by a catastrophic mechanical failure now. Read on for a preview of the 18th event of the year!

Pole position

The fact that Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t be as dominant as they’d been for the better part of the previous five years was obvious from the start of the season, but few would have guessed it would be this obvious.

After his first victory of the season in the second race in Saudi Arabia, Max Verstappen has won 10 more races, been on the podium thirteen times, and is well on his way to a second drivers’ championship.

Although he finished ninth in the most recent race at the Singapore Grand Prix, Max Verstappen had won the previous five races in a row to build a commanding lead over Charles Leclerc. At the beginning of the year, Leclerc was right there with him. However, throughout the season’s middle portion, the Dutch driver proved his superiority, passing Leclerc and eventually opening up a 104-point lead with only five races left.

After a lackluster showing in his previous race, he will start as the 8/15 favorite at the Suzuka Circuit.

Are the rest in with a chance?

We were all set for an intriguing two-horse contest between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc after the former finished second in the first five races of the season and was widely regarded as the main threat to the Red Bull driver’s championship hopes.

Unfortunately for Leclerc, Verstappen found his form and proved to be more consistent than the Ferrari driver, who had numerous DNFs due to power unit issues at a time in the season when he needed to be achieving podium finishes in order to have a chance of matching the Red Bull driver’s points tally at the end of the year.

After rediscovering his form to finish on the podium in three consecutive races, Leclerc has a decent chance (4/1) in Japan, but he won’t be able to keep up with a hot Verstappen.

After years of being in close competition with Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton has had a forgettable season. He is currently sixth in the drivers’ standings since he cannot force a victory from his lesser car.

Although demonstrating that his abilities are still keen with a number of solid runs, the title contenders’ faster cars have easily overtaken the seven-time world champion on every occasion. The Englishman is never out of the running, so he shouldn’t be discounted entirely, but at 17/2, it’s hard to imagine him winning his first Grand Prix since Saudi Arabia in 2021. At 5/6, Hamilton’s chances of finishing on the podium for the eighth time this year are above average.

Sergio Perez, who won the previous race in Singapore, and Carlos Sainz, who has consistently turned in strong performances for Red Bull and Ferrari, are 11/1 and 18/1, respectively, to win the race. For motor racing betting, George Russell of Great Britain is currently 14/1 to win his first race of the year and 6/4 to place in the top three.