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News ID: 107508
Publish Date : 07 October 2022 - 22:11
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SUZUKA, Japan (AP) — Red Bulls’ Max Verstappen is set to win his second straight drivers’ title, and it’s likely to come on Sunday with rain predicted for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.
Friday’s two practice sessions were run in steady drizzle, although Saturday’s qualifying is expected to be dry on the classic figure-eight circuit in central Japan.
“I think realistically Max is going to be a champion, if it’s not this weekend it’s going to be very, very soon,” said Leclerc, who trails Verstappen by 104 points with five races to go — including Suzuka. Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez is 106 behind.
If Verstappen wins on Sunday, and also picks up the bonus point for the fastest lap, that would give him 26 points (25 for the win, 1 for the quickest lap) and he’s the champion.
He could also win the season title with a lesser result, depending on how others finish.
If not, it’s sure to be settled in two weeks at the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas.
“It would be very nice if it happens here but if it doesn’t happen here — I will be even more in favor the next race,” Verstappen said, sounding unmoved by the speculation.
“To be honest, I’m not really thinking about it too much.”
Verstappen has been dominant all season with 11 victories in 17 races. The Singapore GP a week ago was the exception, where Verstappen finished seventh. He called it a “very messy weekend” on the street circuit.
“We all know that it was a bad weekend, but we also have shown this year that we’ve had a lot of very good weekends. So we know how to do it.”
Winning at Suzuka would be special. The track is operated by car manufacturer Honda. Red Bull and sister team AlphaTaura run on Honda designed engines, and the race if officially called the “Honda Japanese Grand Prix.”
Honda formally quit F1 after last season, but still supports the two teams. In addition, Honda’s name will appear on the Red Bull livery this weekend. It could indicate a return to F1 though there’s nothing official.

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