What does Max Verstappen need to do to win the title in the next race?

It's that time of the year again, when we get to the races where the championship could be decided. History awaits as Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by just 8 points as we enter the last two races of the season.

Verstappen is on track to win his first drivers' championship, whilst Hamilton is looking for a record-breaking 8th title. The Dutchman leads by just eight points going into the penultimate race of the season, which will take place in Saudi Arabia on December 5th.

There are four scenarios that would result in Verstappen winning the WDC. Here's what needs to happen for Verstappen to come out on top and for Michael Schumacher's 7 championships record to be protected for another year:

  • Verstappen finishes first with Fastest Lap and Hamilton finishes sixth or lower
  • Verstappen finishes first and Hamilton finishes seventh or lower
  • Verstappen finishes second with Fastest Lap and Hamilton finishes 10th or lower
  • Verstappen finishes second and Hamilton doesn't score

How likely are these scenarios? 

Well, nobody knows. But we do know that Mercedes has put the engine from the Brazil race back into Hamilton's car. In Brazil, Hamilton finished an impressive 10.496 seconds in front of Max. 

Red Bull Racing is still looking for Mercedes to be penalised for their rear wing, which they don't think complies with the strict regulations set out by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, English: International Automobile Federation). If successful, Hamilton could have points deducted from the races in which the rear wing in question was used. Although the rear wing drama looks to have died down.

We can expect to see the drivers get their elbows out as well. Especially after the Brazil drama which saw Max run Lewis wide and, off the track. Surprisingly, Max got away with it. Days after the incident Mercedes requested that the FIA review the incident again. To everyone's surprise, the FIA declined.

With this being the closest season for some time, we cannot rule out an incident similar to what we saw at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix in which Ayrton Senna collided with Alain Prost on the first corner. The high-speed incident eliminated both drivers and resulted in Senna winning the championship. One year later, Senna confessed that he crashed on purpose.