Max Verstappen having a laugh. Canada June 2022

“Max Verstappen will definitely become world champion this year”

Max Verstappen should start making room on his mantle for the 2022 Drivers’ Trophy as he will “definitely” win it, according to Sebastiaan Bleekemolen.

Although Charles Leclerc and Ferrari looked like the ones to beat at the start of the season, the Monegasque driver took a 34-point lead after the Australian GP, ​​once Red Bull sorted out his reliability issues he went wild with six wins. the trot.

With Verstappen by winning five of them, the reigning world champion built up a 46-point lead over teammate Sergio Perez, with Leclerc dropping 49 points.

His efforts to close that gap were not helped by Ferrari insisting they had no number one driver, with Carlos Sainz taking victory at the British Grand Prix which some at Ferrari believe would have must have been that of Leclerc.

There was more Ferrari drama at the very next race, in Austria, where Sainz challenged his teammate for second place in the sprint qualifying race. This gave Verstappen a bye in the opening laps, with the driver putting enough distance between himself and Leclerc that the latter was unable to close the gap.

Leclerc pulled one back 24 hours later, winning the Austrian Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen, although once again Ferrari did themselves a disservice when Sainz’s engine blew while chasing the Red Bull driver for a possible 1-2 Ferrari.

Bleekemolen believes that at this rate, the title is indeed that of Verstappen.

“If Ferrari continues to do like them and Red Bull like them, it will be difficult for them to close the gap quickly,” said the Dutch driver.

“Once in a while they will get closer to a point, but Verstappen will also get a point every now and then. So I think Verstappen is in very good shape.

“You don’t know how it’s going to be, eleven races is still a lot.

“But even if Ferrari improves a bit and Red Bull keeps doing what they are doing, they can get closer, but Verstappen will definitely become world champion this year.

“Verstappen is doing everything right in that regard, he is strong in all races. He hardly makes any driving mistakes, the Red Bull is quite reliable and the pace is there.

“It should not be missed that Max scores points in every race, every time a podium is the minimum achievable for him.”

As such, Bleekemolen believes that not only the Red Bull pilot wins the title, he will do so well before this season’s finale in Abu Dhabi, and it’s a shame after the last round of last year’s season.

“It’s kind of a shame,” he said. “Of course you secretly hope so.” But 38 points is really a big difference.

“Ferrari can only make big progress if Leclerc keeps winning and Max finishes third, fourth or fifth, or retires once. Well, that may happen one day, but that also applies to Ferrari of course.

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