With two races to go, Max Verstappen is eight points ahead of Lewis Hamilton. That offers the Dutchman his first match point to secure his first Formula 1 title in Saudi Arabia, although he will certainly not receive it as a gift..
The title race has become extremely exciting again in recent races. Verstappen had a 21-point lead in Brazil, but that was only fourteen after that race. After Hamilton’s victory in Qatar, the lead has shrunk further to eight points. So the momentum seems to be in Hamilton’s favour, although we have seen more often this season that the two teams hardly differ from each other.
Also read: Wolff: ‘Will use the spicy material again in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi’
Photo: Motorsport Images
Formula 1 will head to Saudi Arabia for the first time next week, a fast street circuit where Mercedes will again use its ‘spicy material’, team boss Toto Wolff said after the race in Qatar. Because, he indicated, they had secured that ‘rocket’, as Hamilton’s engine was called in Brazil, after that race and then only used it again for the last two races.
It is on the new, level playing field where Verstappen can also secure his first world title. However, the eight-point lead means that a lot has to be done to celebrate all there. He must be at least 26 points ahead entering the final race to become world champion in Saudi Arabia. That means he has to take eighteen points more than Hamilton.
The first way for Verstappen to already decide the title fight in the next race is to win the race and take the bonus point for the fastest lap. Then he must hope that Hamilton finishes lower than fifth place. Without the bonus point, but the victory, Verstappen can become champion if Hamilton finishes seventh or lower.
Also read: Marko: ‘Normally would have been champion, but now have to win one more race’
There are also chances for Verstappen to secure the title by finishing second. Even then he has two options: with the fastest lap and second place, he must hope that Hamilton will be tenth at most. Without the fastest lap of the race, the Mercedes driver should not score any points at all. If all this does not happen, the title fight will only be decided in Abu Dhabi.