How Max Verstappen can win maiden F1 title in Saudi Arabia

How Max Verstappen can win maiden F1 title in Saudi Arabia
© Clive Mason/Getty Images Sport F1 Grand Prix of Qatar

The 2021 Formula 1 world championship has been one of the most enthralling seasons in living memory, but the title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton could be settled this weekend.

Two races stand between Verstappen clinching a first F1 crown, or Hamilton creating history by securing a record-breaking eighth drivers’ title.

But heading into the inaugural Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, Verstappen is the only driver that has the possibility to win the championship in Jeddah.

After 20 rounds, Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton following the Mercedes driver’s back-to-back wins in Brazil and Qatar.

The Dutch driver has nine victories to Hamilton’s seven, and more than double the pole positions of his rival, but hasn’t been able to pull out a substantial cushion with Mercedes’ pace advantage over Red Bull at recent events.

Verstappen had been as much as 32 points in front of Hamilton back in July, only to see hIs lead wiped out after the pair collided on the opening lap at Silverstone.

It marked the first of two collisions between the title protagonists, with a further coming together at the Italian Grand Prix – in which both were forced to retire.

In the closest title fight for nearly a decade, here’s how Verstappen could seal a maiden F1 title this weekend.

  • Verstappen is first and secures point for the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes sixth or lower
  • Verstappen wins and Hamilton finishes seventh or lower
  • Verstappen finishes second along with point for fastest lap and Hamilton is 10th or lower
  • Verstappen is second and Hamilton finishes outside the top 10

Should Verstappen be crowned champion in Saudi, he would become only the 34th driver to win an F1 world championship and, at 24 years and 66 days old, would be the third-youngest title winner behind Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.

Verstappen would also be the first non-Mercedes driver to win a title in the V6 hybrid era, and Red Bull’s first drivers’ champion since 2013.

The constructors’ championship could also be wrapped up in Jeddah with just five points separating Mercedes and Red Bull and 88 left up for grabs.

Mercedes holds the slender advantage, but would only secure a record eighth world title on the trot if Red Bull don’t score more than five points in Sunday’s grand prix.

Should Hamilton finish ahead of Verstappen, regardless of where the Red Bull driver finishes, the title will go down to the final round in Abu Dhabi on December 5.

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