Formula One’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be a showdown between two of the sport’s biggest stars, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The battle for the title has been going on all season long, with both drivers leading their teams at different points in time.
Lewis Hamilton is set to face Max Verstappen in the final race of the season at Abu Dhabi. The two drivers have been battling for the title all year, and this will be their last chance to prove who deserves it.
At 13:00 GMT on Sunday, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be broadcast live on 5 Live and the Sport website.
In what is perhaps the most dramatic championship decider in the sport’s history, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will compete for the 2021 Formula One World Championship in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
And if it isn’t the most intense – Ayrton Senna vs. Alain Prost in 1989 and 1990, both of which culminated in crashes amongst the drivers – it is surely among the most intense.
It’s the first time since 1974 that two drivers are tied in points heading into the final race of the season. It’s the first time since 2012 that two drivers from different teams have competed in the final race. It also comes at the conclusion of a season marked by animosity and rivalry between two teams and drivers who pushed one other to the edge – and sometimes beyond.
Verstappen and Hamilton have clashed three times on the track this season, and they have raced ultra-hard in several of the Grands Prix.
For the most of the year, the squabbles between the two teams’ heads, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff and Red Bull’s Christian Horner, were largely restricted to a battle of words and behind-the-scenes antics over the regulations.
However, in Saudi Arabia last weekend, Hamilton and Verstappen’s heated rivalry finally exploded in a race rife with controversy and incident.
Hamilton referred to Verstappen as “mad” throughout the race. He went on to say that the Dutchman drove as if the regulations didn’t apply to him after that.
Verstappen was penalized twice: first for gaining an advantage by straying off the track, and again for risky driving when he was deemed to have braked hard with Hamilton directly behind him, causing the two cars to collide.
Despite all of this, Hamilton rallied from behind to overtake Verstappen and win his third race in a row, his second in three races. After Verstappen’s triumph in Mexico last month, he has whittled down a 19-point gap to nil. And now, in a winner-take-all finale, one of them will be crowned champion.
The subtitle is “mathematics – and peril.”
The audio story of Lewis Hamilton vs. Max Verstappen
On points, Verstappen and Hamilton are tied. If both drivers complete the race, the world champion will be the first to cross the finish line.
If Hamilton wins, it would be his eighth drivers’ championship, a new record, putting him one ahead of Michael Schumacher, who he is presently tied with. If it’s Verstappen, it’ll be the end of Mercedes’ seven-year reign of terror.
However, it is not quite as simple as that.
Despite the fact that they are tied on points, Verstappen is still the championship leader since he has nine victories to Hamilton’s eight. That implies that if they collide and none of them completes the race, Verstappen will be the winner.
The possibility of a crash determining the title has been a hot topic in F1 for some time, particularly considering Verstappen’s ruthlessness.
In other words, he will never yield, even though other drivers would concede that the corner has been lost. If he’s racing with someone, he’ll turn in on them if they’re on the outside; if they’re on the inside, he’ll push them wide.
He believes that if both drivers run off the track during an overtaking maneuver, there will be no penalty. The stewards in Jeddah disagreed, blaming Verstappen for bringing the issue to this point. Many drivers felt that the same judgment should have been taken in a similar circumstance two races before at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, which was not penalized.
The incident in Jeddah, in which Hamilton collided with the back of Verstappen after the Red Bull driver was adjudged to have braked with 69 bar of pressure, causing a deceleration force of 2.4g, about half of what an F1 car can achieve at maximum braking capability, when the Mercedes was right behind him, has now added to the danger.
This was dubbed “a brake test” by Hamilton, a charge leveled at other drivers when they believe the vehicle in front of them has purposefully intended to collide with them, or at the very least give them a scare. After stopping Hamilton from overtaking him by driving him wide, Verstappen labeled it a “misunderstanding” and stated he was only attempting to allow him by after being asked to do so by race management.
Many people are wondering what strategy Verstappen would adopt in Abu Dhabi.
He got away with driving Hamilton off the track in Brazil last month to preserve his position.
He did not do so in Jeddah, and now he knows that if he does so again, he will very likely be punished.
There’s also the possibility of a collision. In both 1994 and 1997, Schumacher famously crashed with his championship opponent in the last race of the season, knowing that if no vehicle completed, he would be crowned champion.
In their 1994 championship fight, Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill collided in the season-ending Australian Grand Prix.
It worked in Adelaide in 1994. Schumacher’s Benetton was out of the race when he turned in on Damon Hill’s Williams, but Hill was out of the race as well, due to a damaged front suspension, and the German won his maiden world championship.
It didn’t work in Jerez in 1997. Schumacher’s Ferrari crashed out of the race after turning in on Jacques Villleneuve’s Williams. Villeneuve finished third, despite being hampered, and was crowned champion.
Schumacher’s image has been irrevocably tarnished as a result of both instances.
Verstappen is well aware of this. Indeed, in an interview at the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, this writer addressed this topic with him.
The following is the transcript of the conversation:
“Like overtaking,” Verstappen said. “If I have to touch anything, I’ll touch it.” It’s not like everything has to be spotless all of the time. Let me put it this way: if I win five championships after my career but am not the most popular guy, it doesn’t matter to me because, at the end of the day, it’s all about winning.
“And it may come off as arrogant, but I don’t want to come across that way. To win, I’d do anything – or anything. I’ll do it if it’s just a little bit, not unclean, but in a difficult manner. I’m not here to be the most popular person in the room.”
And, I inquired, where do you draw the line between hard and filthy in your mind?
“Dirty implies that something is done on purpose… I’m referring to Schumacher’s transformation into Damon and Villeneuve. Those two, I believe, were crossing the line. Not a tough battle, a smidgeon of a touch [is OK] – but out-braking, being on the brink, of course. If the other vehicle overtakes me, I’ll just turn in and both of us will collide; that’s a different mindset.”
Red Bull is anxious to defeat Hamilton this weekend after last winning the championship in 2013 with Sebastian Vettel. But, according to Horner, how they win is equally important.
“”We want to win on the track, not in the stewards room, not in the gravel trap,” he explains. Throughout the year, it has been a difficult battle. There’s been some incredible racing. In Abu Dhabi, I’m hoping for a fair and clean race.”
The problem is that Hamilton and Verstappen, as well as Wolff and Horner, have differing definitions of “fair and clean.” That is why there is so much uncertainty around this weekend.
Gloves are exchanged between the teams.
Christian Horner of Red Bull and Toto Wolff of Mercedes have had a lot of verbal sparring in 2021.
There is also no love lost between the two sides.
Both openly, in a borderline pantomime-style battle of words, and behind the scenes, seeking to twist the rules to their advantage, Wolff and Horner have spent the season sniping at one other.
Mercedes protested to the FIA when they discovered Red Bull’s rear wing was bending rearward earlier in the season.
This is a tried-and-true technique for reducing drag on the straights. On the straights, the Red Bull wing, like those of numerous other teams, flexed, but it passed all of the stiffness tests in the pits.
The tests were subsequently toughened up, and Red Bull has slipped behind Mercedes in this area in the second part of the season, despite having a tiny edge on the straights in the first half of the season.
Meanwhile, Red Bull has been pointing a finger of suspicion at Mercedes.
They thought they observed proof of Mercedes’ wing bending – not in the same manner, but with the similar impact – during the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, and they tried to persuade the stewards at Interlagos to look into it.
Hamilton’s vehicle was later pulled out of qualifying in Brazil due to a fault with his rear wing, although a different one. A move that led to one of his best drives of his career, when he won the sprint qualifying event and the grand prix after making up 25 positions in one and a third race lengths.
At the next race in Qatar, Red Bull was successful in getting a new wing test implemented. Before next year, it was on a trial basis with no regulatory value. Nonetheless, the Mercedes wing – which was identical to the one used in Brazil – passed it.
Red Bull were “seeing ghosts,” according to the world champions, and their wing was never flexed. They’re also upset that they weren’t permitted to replace the wing that got Hamilton disqualified in Brazil, despite the fact that it failed the inspection because it was damaged rather than because of a design flaw.
What brought them here?
Take a step back for a moment and consider how close this season has been with the teams running the same vehicles as last year, when Hamilton and Mercedes dominated.
That’s due, at least in part, to an aerodynamic regulation change last winter that impacted their vehicle more than most of their competitors’.
Mercedes was experiencing a lot of problems with their vehicle at the start of the season. And they weren’t sure they’d be able to contend for the championship at all. Indeed, Hamilton has remarked about how difficult it has been to bring the vehicle back to a competitive state.
Meanwhile, Red Bull has been extolling the accomplishments of themselves and their engine partner Honda in finally catching up to Mercedes.
The competitive advantage has swung back and forth throughout the year, but there has been a definite trend in their favor, at least in terms of one-lap performance, since Mercedes released the last major update to their vehicle at the British Grand Prix.
And as Mercedes has tightened the screws and Hamilton has whittled away at Verstappen’s advantage, Red Bull has began to boast about how successful their season has been, win or lose on Sunday.
Horner remarked in a press conference after the race in Jeddah on Sunday, “We’re a team that goes for it.” “We’re heading to Abu Dhabi tied on points, but we’re ahead in terms of victories.”
“If you had told us at the start of the year that we had a chance to win the title if we finished the final race tied on points after 21 races of tough competition with Mercedes, we would have all chewed your arm off. And I believe you would have done the same.”
Watch This Video-
The “max verstappen net worth” is the title of a Formula One race that will be held between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. The race will take place in Abu Dhabi on November 27th, 2017.
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