The duo of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton need to move beyond the controversy that occurred at the Saudi Grand Prix, which was held on Sunday, and focus on the final race of the current season of Formula One racing, which takes place next Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
The two drivers are equal in the number of points, but Verstappen leads the drivers’ category with a race difference over Hamilton.
It will be the 30th time the title has been won in the final race, but only the second time that two drivers have been tied before the final race of the season – and the first was in 1974 when McLaren’s Emerson Fittipaldi won the title, beating Ferrari’s Clay Rigazzoni.
Hamilton is seeking to crown his eighth title, to hold the record for the number of title wins, as he is currently equal with Michael Schumacher, the Ferrari legend, at the Abu Dhabi track, who witnessed Hamilton’s victory five previous times.
Verstappen, a Red Bull driver, is seeking his first world title at the Yas Marina track.
Verstappen was able to win the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi 12 months ago, as Hamilton had won the seventh title before this race.
And if the drivers continue to be equal in the number of points, Verstappen will win the title, because he won nine races, while Hamilton won eight.
This scenario could only happen if they collide – which the two teams don’t want, especially after the massive chaos that occurred at the Saudi Grand Prix.
“I hope that the consequences of today’s race will be enough for everyone to learn from it, and to adapt before the final race in Abu Dhabi,” Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said after yesterday’s race.
“The fast car, with the fastest driver, should win the championship, but not by keeping each other away,” he added.
“We want to win the title on the track, not in the race control room,” said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. “I hope it’s a fair and clean race in Abu Dhabi.”
Hamilton confirmed that Verstappen “crossed the line” again and accused his Dutch counterpart of testing his brakes when he hit the back of Verstappen’s car.
However, after losing the world title by one point to Kimi Raikkonen in his inaugural 2007 season, and winning the world title the following year in the final race in Brazil by one point, Hamilton said he was ready for the Grand Final.
Hamilton eliminated the points difference with Verstappen by winning the last three races of the season, ahead of the Dutch rider, who confirmed that he reduced his speed to allow Hamilton to cross after he was told to do so.
Looking to the future, he described the Grand Final as “an exciting race for the championship and Formula 1 in general”.
“Hopefully it will be a good race, so let’s see what happens,” Verstappen said.
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