Lewis Hamilton may be helped by ‘interesting' Saudi GP track in Max Verstappen title fight

Lewis Hamilton will be looking to register his third successive Grand Prix victory by taking the chequered flag ahead of Max Verstappen in Saudi Arabia next weekend. The Mercedes man currently trails his Red Bull rival by eight points in the Drivers’ Championship standings with just two races left to decide this year’s battle for glory.

Hamilton has played second fiddle to Verstappen for a large part of the campaign, with Red Bull having finally produced a fiercely competitive car for the first time in a number of years.

However, the seven-time world champion is still within touching distance of an unprecedented eighth title ahead of the next outing in Saudi Arabia.

If Hamilton wins with the fastest lap in Jeddah and Verstappen takes second place, they will be level on points going into the season finale in Abu Dhabi next month.

It will be a step into the unknown for both drivers when they travel to Saudi Arabia, with a brand new circuit poised to host the penultimate round of this year’s fight for supremacy.

Hamilton could be set to benefit from the fast-flowing nature of the track as he looks to make the most of his new engine by pipping Verstappen to victory.

JUST IN: Hamilton’s forecast for Verstappen future as F1 rivalry comes to head

Lewis Hamilton may be helped by ‘interesting' Saudi GP track in Max Verstappen title fight
© GETTY Hamiton will be aiming for another crucial victory in Saudi Arabia

Mercedes have already confirmed that the 36-year-old’s car will be fitted with the power unit that carried him to victory in Brazil earlier this month.

He enjoyed a considerable pace advantage over Verstappen in Sao Paulo, quickly closing up to the Dutchman with DRS assistance before passing for the lead during the closing stages of the race.

It seems as though Hamilton could be in for another successful weekend in Saudi Arabia, with the circuit expected to include a trio of DRS zones in quick succession, according to designer Carsten Tilke.

“What will be interesting is that there are three possible DRS zones directly behind each other,” Tilke told talkSPORT.

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“So it’s three DRS zones and every time different corners after that, which can be really interesting.

“It’s not just straights, it’s a DRS zone but you have to be really concentrating because there are walls directly next to it, you have to steer.”

Tilke added that he was unable to predict whether Mercedes or Red Bull will have the upper hand in Jeddah, suggesting that a balanced setup could be the recipe for success.

“It could go either way,” he explained. “On the one hand, it’s very fast, so the engine is important, but on the other hand, it’s a lot of corners.

“This is also important, so to be honest I’m not sure, we will see. At the moment the momentum is with Mercedes again. They are so strong, and it will be difficult to beat them, but you never know what will happen.


Lewis Hamilton may be helped by ‘interesting' Saudi GP track in Max Verstappen title fight
© EXPRESS This year’s title fight looks poised to go down to the wire

“Verstappen is in front and we have a street circuit where you can touch the walls easily, and if something happens Verstappen will be there, it’s really, really close and can go both ways.

“I think it’s impossible [to say]. We don’t know, we will see who will manage to cope with the new track, it will be challenging for them.”

Verstappen will clinch the Drivers’ Championship title in Saudi Arabia if he wins and Hamilton finishes in seventh place or lower.

He can also claim the honours if he takes second place and his Mercedes rival fails to score a point.

However, the latter will come out on top if he wins both remaining Grands Prix regardless of what Verstappen does.

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