Verstappen will have first shot at F1 title in Saudi Arabia

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With the two races remaining, the prospect of a winner-take-all shootout in the final round at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi is very lively.

Max Verstappen will get his first chance at a Formula 1 title in Saudi Arabia in two weeks, but the Red Bull championship leader may also see his lead fade away altogether.

The 2021 title battle remains too close to be called with Mercedes seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton narrowing the gap to eight points with another dominant victory in Qatar November 21.

With the two races remaining, the prospect of a winner-take-all shootout in the final round at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi is very lively.

For Verstappen to win the title at the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah on December 5, he must finish at least second.

But if Hamilton wins that race with the fastest lap bonus and Verstappen comes in second, the pair will drop out of the tier on points and the Red Bull driver will be ahead 9-8 in race wins.

In this scenario, the title will be won by whoever finishes ahead of the other in the final race, unless they knock each other out.

If Hamilton wins in Jeddah and Verstappen finishes below second, it will be the Mercedes driver leading the final race.

Other current title permutations include Verstappen, who finishes second in Jeddah, with or without fastest lap, but Hamilton cannot win.

The retirement of the Brit would still require Verstappen to score 18 points, finishing second to complete the competition.

If Hamilton is 10th, Verstappen will have to be second with fastest lap.

If Verstappen wins with the fastest lap, it will be over if Hamilton is no higher than sixth. Without the fastest lap, Hamilton would have to be seventh or below.

There have been many ups and downs this roller coaster season, but the most likely outcome – judging by current form – is that the race for the title will fizzle out.

Hamilton has so far failed to score in two of the 20 races in Azerbaijan and Italy, but Verstappen has also drawn both in Italy after they collided.

Verstappen finished second seven times, defeating Hamilton six times.

The exception was Turkey, where Verstappen was second and Hamilton was fifth.

In Monaco, Verstappen won 7th with Hamilton, but the Briton took care of the fastest lap. On two occasions when Verstappen won with the fastest lap, Hamilton finished second and fourth.

“It will be a tough battle to the end,” said Verstappen, second on Sunday.



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