Meet the man who has an even better chance of winning the Formula One championship this year than Lewis Hamilton

LE CASTELLET, France — Formula One world champion Max Verstappen, 20, ended up with a quintet of sport’s biggest prizes on Sunday with his dominant win at the French Grand Prix and now has a free hand to pursue even more glory.

The Dutch teenager, who starts on pole position for the British Grand Prix on July 15, and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton both have seven victories this season and they remain separated by 93 points.

Verstappen has 38 wins to Hamilton’s 45, but with four more races and a maximum of 20 points to come to play for, the gap could and probably will be wiped out.

Hamilton said there were “all kinds of scenarios” that could change the situation.

“I think the bonus points are working in our favor,” he told Sky Sports. “You never know where the future points are going to come from. The championship for me is going to go to the last lap and you will never know what is going to happen.”

Verstappen accepted his opportunity and seized it, showing superb maturity to drive with all the authority on an unpredictable road to victory after three earlier retirements and the subsequent revelations of his baby brother, who has Down Syndrome.

“I really hope Sebastian (Vettel) and Lewis remember this race and what a great kid he is and to stay in Formula One for a long time,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters.

“He’s going to be a world champion for a long time.”

Verstappen’s final race — though Hamilton remains unbeaten in the championship and still very much in the mix — is now the all-German battle at the Nuerburgring with Vettel, three times a winner in Germany but now 15 points adrift of his team mate.

Vettel admitted that he had messed up for the Austrian Grand Prix in May, when he pushed Verstappen off the track as they fought for victory at Spielberg, gifting victory to the younger driver and the then-leader.

He said he would not gamble with the Australian’s feelings of security this time.

“I made a mistake in Austria,” he told reporters. “He knows I know it. I’m not interested in making a mistake like that again. That’s it. You cannot do it again.”

Vettel was starting on pole when the race was red-flagged when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was hit by Williams driver Lance Stroll and the safety car took the Finn out and put him in the gravel.

When the race resumed, Verstappen did not stand still — even though after the Belgian Grand Prix he had his feet up in the garage after the side of his car was seriously damaged when a Renault tyre collided with his rear right.

He had every reason to be relaxed with triple champion Hamilton still within striking distance of his own tally.

Unlike Raikkonen, who was penalized at Spa for a piece of team radio chat he made during the race, Verstappen had no ill-feelings.

“A massive race for me,” he said later. “I love the comeback part of the race. You have to come from the back.”

Verstappen closed up the 44-second gap he had opened up on Hamilton when the Briton retired with seven laps remaining, taking first place with a daring overtaking move.

Ferrari and Red Bull worked together to create a one-two finish while Force India’s Sergio Perez took third from Nico Hulkenberg of Renault. Toro Rosso’s Brendon Hartley completed the podium.

Stroll was fourth after suffering electrical problems and frustration in hot conditions but the driver’s night could have been made even worse when some television footage appeared to show the temporary FIA red flag had actually been a red carpet.

Not so, according to the governing FIA, who said it was in fact ‘run-off area safety equipment.’

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