Verstappen wins the race without the fastest lap
Leclerc and Perez will be made aware of the importance of denying Verstappen the fastest lap providing they are running in the top 10 as it could make all the difference between preventing Verstappen from clinching the title.
Even if Verstappen takes the checkered flag on Sunday, Leclerc only needs to lock down a top-eight finish to take the fight to Suzuka. And if the Ferrari driver falters during the race, he can still be stopped by Perez, who can deny him by finishing on the podium or taking fourth and the fastest lap.
If Leclerc comes home in P9 and Perez does not manage to get the required 11 points, Verstappen will become the 17th driver in F1 history to have won two Drivers’ titles and the 11th to triumph in consecutive seasons.