the keys to the Hamilton-Verstappen final at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Both drivers have the same number of points before the start of the last Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season.

For only the second time after 1974, the Formula 1 World Championship will be played between two drivers tied on points, Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), in the final round in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

Several elements can decide between them:


Both have 369.5 units on their counter, but Verstappen has an advantage: his nine Grand Prix wins this year against Hamilton’s eight. If one scores more points than the other on Sunday, he will be champion. But if they finish tied (if neither of them is in the Top 10, if they retire or if one finishes 9th and the other 10th with the best lap, i.e. 2 points each), the Dutchman will be crowned thanks to its total of victories.

The experience

On the one hand Hamilton, 36, sees an eighth F1 title, which would be an absolute record, one more than Michael Schumacher. « There are some things that are different (in this championship), he admits. Firstly because the two teams are incredibly close. Secondly because we are in uncharted waters: no one has ever won eight. titles with drivers or manufacturers (what Mercedes can do, editor’s note). But on the other hand, I’m more relaxed than ever, he continues. It’s not the first time (…), I am more confident and involved more than ever. « 

Opposite, Verstappen, 24, is aiming for a first coronation. But, despite his age, he wants to believe that his seven seasons in the category have taught him a thing or two. What Hamilton says, « It’s normal, he sweeps. I, too, feel a lot better prepared and more experienced than when I started out in F1. And no, I don’t think that makes a big deal. difference. Otherwise, it would have already been seen during the season. « 

The dynamic

When the Red Bull rider won the US and Mexico GPs in late October and early November, it looked like Hamilton was all over. But the Briton, who has notched three wins in the last three sets, has turned the tide. However, if he won a masterful GP in Brazil despite an avalanche of penalties on the grid, if he dominated with a head and shoulders in Qatar, Saudi Arabia last Sunday was much more complicated and the Mercedes driver It also owes its victory to Verstappen’s mistakes in qualifying and in the race. “Who will emerge victorious next weekend? I don’t know, commented Red Bull boss Christian Horner. Form is on Mercedes’ side but Max fought like a lion this weekend. He gave everything. « 


When we look back on their clashes this season, the youngest made more mistakes. If Hamilton is responsible for their collision in Great Britain, Verstappen is responsible for that in Italy. And he defended to the limit, even beyond, in Brazil and then in Saudi Arabia, where he ended up being sanctioned. His aggressiveness has been both the strength and the Achilles heel of the Red Bull rider since his debut. The way it is managed in the + money time + can make the difference.

The circuit

Finally, the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi has been a « Mercedes circuit » since the introduction of hybrid engines in 2014, with 6 wins and 6 pole positions for the Silver Arrows. But, last year, Verstappen created a surprise by winning pole and success against a Hamilton diminished by the Covid. An element of uncertainty has also been added this year: for the first time, the route has been changed. The track is now faster, which on paper should enhance the top speed of the Mercedes. But it’s also supposed to be more prone to overtaking, which would make qualifying less crucial and do Red Bull’s business.

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