Max Verstappen told how many races of last five he must win to take Lewis Hamilton’s title

F1: Verstappen and Hamilton verbally spar

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Red Bull star Max Verstappen has been told how many races he needs to win to clinch the Formula One title ahead of Lewis Hamilton, with just five races remaining in the campaign.

Verstappen consolidated his place at the top of the driver standings on Sunday, after he saw off title rival Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix in Texas for his eighth win of the season.

Following his victory in Austin the Dutchman has now been told how many more wins he needs to become world champion, as Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko insists he needs two more triumphs to claim the title.

Ahead of the US Grand Prix Marko had indicated that his team’s driver needed at least two wins to become champion, however after picking up the first of those two in Austin he now feels the 24-year-old will need to reach 10 wins for the season.

After Sunday’s win the 78-year-old said: “Ten wins are necessary for the title.

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“We feared that we would be behind in Russia, Turkey and the USA. So this gives us strength.”

Marko’s prediction means Verstappen could well wrap up his maiden world title as early as mid November, as the drivers will take a two-week break before heading into Mexico in just under two weeks’ time, followed by a trip to Brazil the week later.

And it would be no surprise to many to see the Dutchman rule victorious in his next two outings, no more so than rival Hamilton who feels the tracks in Mexico and Brazil suit the Red Bull car.

Hamilton said: “The next few tracks are very strong for Red Bull. It will be tough. Definitely.”

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Sunday’s epic race in Texas was yet another example that this season’s title race is one of the most hotly contested in recent years. 

Many have regarded both Hamilton and Verstappen as arguably two of the greatest drivers of the sport’s modern era, despite the latter being just 24-years-old, 12 years younger than his title rival.

Despite his young age, the Dutchman has raced like a driver that has been in and around Formula One for many years, and his performance in the United States was another prime example of that.

Speaking about his victory in Austin, Verstappen said: “The whole race the pressure was on because of not knowing how quick Lewis was going to get you. 

“We went very aggressive on the first stop after losing the lead at the start. Then again during the middle stint, Lewis was within that undercut range so we had to respond. We had to go early again.

“And the last stint was very long, in this heat especially. We managed to hang on at the end with just enough in the tyres to push.”

Whilst his victory in America may well have been one of his most hard-fought of the season, the Red Bull driver revealed that this made it all the more exciting. 

He added: “I just tried to do the best I could and tried to be consistent, trying to find the grip within the tyre without damaging too much. It wasn’t easy, but I think at the end of the day that made it really exciting.”

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