What makes “magician” Verstappen so superior?

Max Verstappen’s second world title could be a reality on Sunday. What about that?

The Dutch driver at match point in Singapore. In the ideal situation, Verstappen wins the grand prix at the Marina Bay circuit and also sets the fastest lap. Then his total score is increased by 26 points to 361 points.

Charles Leclerc of Ferrari and Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate, are the Dutchman’s closest strikers. Not to make it too complicated: If Leclerc doesn’t finish in the top seven tomorrow and Perez doesn’t finish in the top four, Verstappen will get his second world title if he can win the race. If a gentleman reaches the finish line in better shape, the flags, balloons, bells and whistles will be flown to Japan, where the race is scheduled in a week.

What makes Verstappen good as a driver?

Ross Brawn, the sporting director of Formula 1, described in the German press the leader in the fight for the world title as “the magician who stands out among the other drivers”. “Like a super talent in football you should not look at the ball at his feet, but he is already working on the next step. Verstappen is now undoubtedly the benchmark in Formula 1.”

Helmut Marko, team advisor for Red Bull Racing, goes the extra mile when it comes to his driving skills and insight. “If Verstappen takes a corner at the limit, as far as possible, that is immediately a thing of the past for him. In his opinion it is a step forward, right into the next corner.”

Verstappen reacts more mature and calm than before in difficult situations. In addition, one of its most distinguishing characteristics is the protection of tires and brakes. A factor not to be underestimated in Formula 1: Every race can provide valuable stopping points and time. Verstappen keeps the car balanced at all times, preventing it from slipping and sliding.

What is the role of Red Bull leadership tactics?

Success naturally stands and falls with the driver. Look at the race at Spa-Francorchamps, the most attractive win of the season, in which Verstappen advanced within 12 laps of 14th place. But no driver wins the world title without a team. A good team in Formula 1 is like a good goalkeeper in football: they score points for you.

Red Bull, headed by Chris Horner, excels at tactical prowess when it comes to stopping stops and tire selection. The match in Hungary is a case in point. As is often the case, Red Bull outperformed Ferrari on a strategic level. While Leclerc started on the so-called middle tyres, Verstappen started very late on soft tyres by the team management, which means he needs one less stopping point. It also seemed that Ferrari’s racing engineers were asleep in Monaco and the UK.

How important is car quality?

It’s not small. According to seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who will play a supporting role this year, the role of the car is very big in his sport. “I look at other sports and hope only drivers can make a difference in Formula One,” Hamilton said in an interview with Racer magazine last week.

However, Red Bull has managed things better this year than Mercedes at Hamilton. Red Bull worked hard to develop the car according to the Dutchman’s wishes. With success, because in recent months he has had not only the fastest, but also the most reliable car. Verstappen has won ten of the last thirteen races.

Earlier this season, Verstappen complained about the heavier car compared to Ferrari. Because of the extra kilos from the chassis, he had trouble getting to a fast lap in qualifying. In racing, the drawback is gone, as a full tank reduces weight differentials.

Is the competition less this year?

This certainly applies to Lewis Hampton’s competition. After seven world titles, Verstappen’s longtime rival is no more than a supporting role. He hasn’t been in pole position yet this season and hasn’t won a race. In the fight for the world title, the British Mercedes banner took sixth place, behind his younger teammate George Russell.

When asked what’s wrong with Mercedes, the summary follows: Too heavy, little grip, poor balance, and hard-to-heat tires. The work backlog at the start has never recovered. According to informed sources, Ferrari has a car that can compete for the world title, but something so strategically wrong with the Italian racing stable that Verstappen has nothing to fear from them anymore.

I need a lot of luck

Max Verstappen himself considers the chance of winning his second Formula 1 world title on Sunday is slim. “I need a lot of luck, so I’m not counting on that,” said the Red Bull driver ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. “I know the scenarios. These are a bit unrealistic, so I don’t think about it any more. I’d rather just have fun and try to win of course.”

Verstappen, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Friday, has won the last five races and already has 11 wins this season. The Dutchman can attack the record-breaking Sebastian Vettel and Michael Schumacher, who won thirteen Grand Prixes in 2013 and 2004 respectively. “It would be great if I could understand that, but it’s not something that really matters to me.”

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