Lando Norris is lost in admiration for Max Verstappen, whom he expects to “win a few more” titles when he has wrapped up this year’s.
Verstappen and Norris are good friends, with the McLaren driver reported to have attended his Red Bull rival’s early party to celebrate his 25th birthday which falls on free practice day for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite their friendship, the Briton would love to beat Verstappen on track whenever he can – but is aware that is rarely possible in their respective current machinery.
With a lead of 116 points in the World Championship, Verstappen can clinch a second successive title in Singapore if results go his way, whereas Norris is still seeking a second podium finish of the campaign.
And from what Norris has seen, championship number two could be followed by several others in the coming years given Verstappen’s extraordinary talent.
Asked during an interview with Sky F1 what he had made of Verstappen’s season so far, Norris replied: “Quite easy! He’s done a pretty good job. His season has been easy.
“He should maybe have a go in our car and see what it’s like! So he’s done amazing. Very impressive.
“Of course, similar to Lewis [Hamilton] in previous years, when you’ve got a car that can deliver and you can win races he’s the one taking those opportunities, when he’s beating his team-mate every time.
“It’s impressive to see day in day out, even like FP1, FP2, FP3, he’s never under the limit. He’s always pushing the limits.
“Even like FP1 first lap after the holiday, his lap times are normally quicker than what we ever do in qualifying sometimes.
“He’s one of the most talented drivers ever to come into Formula 1, one of the fastest, so no doubt he’s going to win his second [title] this year. And most likely go on to win a few more in the future.”
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) September 26, 2022
How can Max Verstappen clinch the title in Singapore?
There are actually still four drivers in with a mathematical chance of becoming the 2022 World Champion – Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez and George Russell.
Obviously Russell, who trails by 132 points, would have to go on the most remarkable sequence of all time to capitalise on his miniscule opportunity, and let’s not forget he has yet to win a grand prix.
Even Leclerc and Perez, Verstappen’s team-mate, must realise it is all over bar the shouting.
But here’s the at-a-glance scenario for Singapore that would resolve the Drivers’ title picture once and for all, even before round 18 of 22 takes place in Japan the following weekend.
Verstappen will be champion on the weekend of his 25th birthday if:
He wins in Singapore, sets the fastest lap, Leclerc finishes eighth or lower and Perez finishes fourth or lower
He wins in Singapore, does not set the fastest lap and Leclerc finishes ninth or lower and Perez finishes fourth or lower and does not set the fastest lap, or fifth even with the fastest lap.