By D. Rosset
20 races in and 2 left to go. With a close margin of 8 points, Max Verstappen leads the championship ahead of 7-time world champion - Lewis Hamilton. Whilst Verstappen may be leading now, we shall never underestimate Hamilton with a Mercedes.
This rivalry has been ongoing since the beginning of the championship. After a long streak, the sport felt that Lewis would finally beat the infamous record that Michael Schumacher held, however, Red Bull finally showed a title contending car which reminisced their early days with Sebastian Vettel in 2010. The battle for the World Driver’s Championship has changed lead 4 times between Max and Lewis, with that, caused many controversial moments.
Up until the Silverstone Grand Prix, these two rivals hadn’t fought aggressively against each other. After an exhilarating start, the two drivers went wheel to wheel for the entire lap and, after losing the lead, Max aggressively tried to overtake Hamilton, in his home race, from the outside, but ended up in the wall of Turn 9. This incident completely changed the face of the polite yet distant relationship the two shared. The championship had finally turned into a proper fight.
Hamilton and Verstappen kept it clean and civilized for another 3 races. Little did they know that the two would be involved in the most bizarre incident that happened in the last few years. The Monza Grand Prix began with the Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo taking the lead and Max following closely in second place. The race went on for 26 laps when, as Hamilton was exiting the pit lane, he encountered a Red Bull beside him. The two fought side by side in the corner when the Dutch driver hit the curb and found himself with his car over Hamilton’s Mercedes. These moments we thank the notorious invention of the halo, which probably saved the champion’s life. The Italian GP was so eventful that we saw McLaren take the first and only 1-2 finish of the season; a result never seen by the team since 2010.
This last triple header – three races in a row – saw Verstappen take the win in Mexico and Hamilton perform an emotional and mind-boggling race in São Paulo. The brit’s car was reminiscent of a rocket ship. He kept his engine aside in Qatar, where he managed to win the race by a mile, and team principal Toto Wolff claims he will use it for the inaugural race in Saudi Arabia. Does this mean that mean that Verstappen’s chance of the becoming the youngest World Champion at the age of 24 is gone?
A simple calculation can be done so that Max can win the title with one race to spare. If he wins the race with the fastest lap (1 bonus point) and Lewis finishes 6th or lower, he wins the 2021 title. Other than that, there is a possibility that the two can equal their points and go to Abu Dhabi in what we can expect to be the most exciting race of the year. So, who will win the World Driver’s Championship? Will Lewis become the first driver ever to reach 8 titles or will Verstappen finally break the streak?