Lewis Hamilton won the Qatar Grand Prix, but Max Verstappen was able to limit his losses by finishing second and securing the bonus point for fastest lap.
That means Verstappen still has a lead of eight points heading into the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on December 5th. As it’s the penultimate round of the championship, the 24-year-old could clinch his first Formula 1 world championship with one race remaining, but he will need a big result to do it.
If Verstappen wins the race, he would clinch the championship if Hamilton finishes seventh or lower. The odds improve slightly for Verstappen if he wins and finishes with the fastest lap, where he would clinch the title if Hamilton finishes sixth or lower.
Verstappen can clinch the title with a second-place finish, plus the fastest lap, and Hamilton finishing 10th or lower. If Verstappen finishes second but does not secure the fastest lap, he will still clinch the title if Hamilton fails to score.
In each of these scenarios, Verstappen will be guaranteed of the championship if he leads by at least 26 points going into the season finale in Abu Dhabi. If the pair end the season tied on points, the number of wins will first be used to decide who takes the championship. However in any scenario where that happens, Verstappen will be the champion.
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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix points permutations
The tables below show every possible finishing position combination for the championship contenders and want Verstappen’s points lead over Hamilton would be in those scenarios.
Finishing positions in which Verstappen will win the title in Saudi Arabia are highlighted in blue. Hamilton cannot win the title at the next race.