This could well be the weekend the 2022 Drivers’ Championship is won with Max Verstappen one win away from potentially being crowned the champion for a second year in a row.
Last year the Formula 1 Championship went right down to not just the final race but the very final lap and after a controversial decision from the then FIA race director, Michael Masi was crowned champion for the first time in his career.
This season has seen a slightly clearer outright winner although the fight is not yet officially over. Pre-season and the first few races had fans hoping the battle would emerge and remain contentious between Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
However, bizarre and at times catastrophic decisions from Ferrari have seen Leclerc’s chances gradually slip away.
While he is still theoretically in with a shot at the Championship, he and his team must work incredibly hard to win every single remaining race if that is to be the case.
Here is all you need to know ahead of Max Verstappen’s Championship chance...
What does Max Verstappen need to do in Japan?
Max Verstappen must win in Japan and secure the bonus point for fastest lap if he is to win the Drivers’ Championship.
If he wins without the bonus point and Charles Leclerc comes in second, there is still a chance the Monegasque driver can win as long as he wins every remaining race.
If Verstappen comes in second, Leclerc must finish fifth or lower without bonus point for Verstappen to win the title. Additionally, Red Bull colleague Sergio Perez would have to come fourth of lower.
If Verstappen comes in third, Leclerc must finish seventh or lower but if Verstappen finishes third with the bonus point the Monegasque has to finish seventh or lower.
What is the F1 drivers’ leaderboard ahead of Japanese Grand Prix?
- 1st: Max Verstappen - 341
- 2nd: Charles Leclerc - 237
- 3rd: Sergio Perez - 235
- 4th: George Russell - 203
- 5th: Carlos Sainz - 202
- 6th: Lewis Hamilton - 170
- 7th: Lando Norris - 100
- 8th: Esteban Ocon - 66
- 9th: Fernando Alonso - 59
- 10th: Valtteri Bottas - 46
- 11th: Daniel Ricciardo - 29
- 12th: Sebastian Vettel - 24
- 13th: Pierre Gasly - 23
- 14th: Kevin Magnussen - 22
- 15th: Lance Stroll - 13
- 16th: Mick Schumacher - 12
- 17th: Yuki Tsunoda - 11
- 18th: Zhou Guanyu - 6
- 19th: Alex Albon - 4
- 20th: Nyck De Vries - 2
- 21st: Nicholas Latifi - 0
Who is winning the constructor’s championship?
- 1st: Red Bull Racing - 576
- 2nd: Ferrari - 439
- 3rd: Mercedes - 373
- 4th McLaren - 129
- 5th: Alpine - 125
- 6th: Alfa Romeo 52
- 7th: Aston Martin - 37
- 8th: Haas - 34
- 9th: AlphaTauri - 34
- 10th: Williams - 6
After Ferrari’s double podium finish in Singapore, the fight for the Constructors’ Championship will go on until at least the USA Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, which will take place on Sunday 23 October.
When is the Japanese Grand Prix?
The Japanese Grand Prix will take place this Sunday 9 October 2022. The race is expected to start at 6am (BST) and will be available to watch on Sky Sports.
Subscriptions for Sky Sports start at £46/month while NowTV offer daily passes for £11.98/day.