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Verstappen revelling in 'calmer' title charge after bitter Hamilton battle
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Verstappen revelling in 'calmer' title charge after bitter Hamilton battle

Verstappen revelling in 'calmer' title charge after bitter Hamilton battle

Verstappen revelling in 'calmer' title charge after bitter Hamilton battle

Verstappen revelling in 'calmer' title charge after bitter Hamilton battle
Ewan Gale & Sam Hall

Max Verstappen has conceded to revelling in what has become a calmer F1 title charge this year compared to his bitter battle with Lewis Hamilton last season.

Less than 10 months on from Verstappen's controversial championship triumph on the final lap of the last grand prix of the year in Abu Dhabi, the Red Bull driver has the chance to win back-to-back titles with five races to spare.

Verstappen is 116 points clear of nearest rival Charles Leclerc, leading to the possibility he could be crowned a double champion at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

Despite his dominance, with five grand prix wins in succession, in particular, Verstappen started the year with two retirements from the first three races, leaving him 46 points behind then-leader Charles Leclerc.

But as the season has progressed, reliability and strategic errors from Ferrari and personal mistakes from Leclerc have combined to relegate the Monégasque to a distant second.

Given last year's experience with Hamilton, Verstappen concedes there are "two sides" on whether he would have preferred a closer battle with Leclerc.

"Yes, in one way I would have liked them to still be in the fight," said Verstappen.

"From my side, of course, it is also nice to win it in a more calm way.

“But what is good to see is that they [Ferrari] are very competitive this year compared to the last three years and that is what F1 needed.”

Verstappen has declared his chances of clinching his second title in Singapore to be "a long shot" and with "luck" required.

Asked if he was aware of the scenario that would secure him another crown, he replied: "I need to win, Checo [team-mate Sergio Perez] needs to finish fourth or lower and Charles eighth or lower."

But despite this knowledge, the Dutchman added: "It’s a bit unrealistic for it to happen, so I don’t really think about it.

"It is quite a long shot and I just want to enjoy the weekend and try to win it."

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