Verstappen not focusing on Singapore title-clinch

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Verstappen not focusing on Singapore title-clinch

Formula 1

Verstappen not focusing on Singapore title-clinch

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Max Verstappen says he isn’t thinking about securing the drivers’ championship at this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix as he feels it’s a long shot.

The Dutchman can win his second straight title on Sunday if he wins the race and sets the fastest lap, with Charles Leclerc finishing lower than seventh and Sergio Perez outside the top three. Should Verstappen not set the fastest lap then he needs his main rivals to be classified even lower, while anything other than victory will keep the title on ice for another week.

“I don’t really think about it,” Verstappen said. “It’s quite a long shot. And I just want to enjoy the weekend. And of course, try to win it … I think Japan is nicer (to win the title at). But also, I need a lot of luck for it to happen here. So I don’t really count out on it.

“I’m really excited to go back (to Japan) — it’s been a while. It’s an amazing track. And for me anyway, it has quite special memories. The first time I drove an F1 car there in FP1, I will always remember. And besides that it is kind of a home GP with Honda. And also, I think my first proper opportunity to win the title. Of course, I’m looking forward to Singapore right now, but I’m also very excited for next weekend.”

While Verstappen looks set to win the title with a number of races to spare, he actually feels it would have been more enjoyable to have Ferrari still in the frame.

“Yes, in one way, I would have liked them to still be in the fight. From my side of course it’s also nice to win it in a more calm way. But I think what is good to see is already that they are very competitive this year compared to the last few years and I think that’s what F1 needed.”

Reflecting on the lack of a title battle this season compared to last year’s intense fight with Lewis Hamilton, Verstappen says he believes he has improved his own approach but that he has an easier time of it given how strong the Red Bull package is.

“I think last year, around this time, we just didn’t have a car really capable of challenging anymore for like, proper wins. We might have done a few on strategy. But I do think that at the moment, we have a stronger car, especially in race trim, compared to what we had last year. So it’s also a bit different from that side.

“And from my side, I of course always strive to be better than the year before. But I don’t think what I was doing last year at the end, to what I’m doing now, is very different.”

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