Max Verstappen can win the Formula 1 Drivers’ Championship this weekend and become one of the first title winners.
Red Bull star Verstappen can claim the trophy with five races to go on Sunday, becoming the first winner since Michael Schumacher 20 years ago.
However, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton “feels for the fans” after the Dutchman’s 11 wins from 16 races so far this season.
The Mercedes driver has looked back on previous years and believes having the title decided so soon is not good for the sport.
Speaking ahead of the race weekend in Singapore, Hamilton showed some sympathy for the fans when he addressed Verstappen’s title chances.
He said: “Certainly I feel for the fans.
“For everyone and even for us last year it was intense for everyone and so it’s never great when the season ends early.”
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The Briton looked back on his own Championship wins and revealed he believed having an early winner was bad for the sport.
“When I had the experience of finishing early in places like Mexico – for you as an individual it’s great, but for real sport it’s not spectacular,” added Hamilton.
“So I’m really grateful to have had 2008 down to the last 18 seconds, and obviously last year pretty much the same.
“So let’s hope for the future it’s a bit better.”
Verstappen could become F1’s second first champion
To claim the title in Singapore, Verstappen must win his sixth straight race and edge Charles Leclerc by 22 points, Sergio Perez by nine and George Russell by six.
If that happens, the Red Bull driver will become the second-fastest winner ever, alongside legend Nigel Mansell.
Mansell won the title with five races remaining in 1992 and Verstappen can do the same this weekend.
Schumacher is the record holder for the first victory after winning the trophy with six races to go in 2002.
First F1 titles won
6 races remaining – Michael Schumacher: 2002
5 races remaining – Nigel Mansell: 1992
4 races remaining – Michael Schumacher: 2001
4 races remaining – Michael Schumacher: 2004
4 races remaining – Sebastian Vettel: 2011
3 races remaining – Jim Clark: 1963
3 races remaining – Jackie Stewart: 1969
3 races remaining – Jackie Stewart: 1971
3 races remaining – Sebastian Vettel: 2013
3 races remaining – Lewis Hamilton: 2015
3 races remaining – Lewis Hamilton: 2020
The German’s dominance led to early title wins also in 2001 and 2004 with four races to go, a feat matched by Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
As Hamilton mentioned, he became champion in Mexico two years ago with three races to go as he joined Vettel, Jim Clark and Jackie Stewart who achieved the same.
Although Verstappen may not have the backing of his rivals, he can join some legendary names in winning the title in Singapore on Sunday.