Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: Q&A on F1 title run-in as Mercedes and Crimson Bull await remaining 2021 battles Max Verstappen is the championship chief, however is Lewis Hamilton the favorite? How have Mercedes edged forward of Crimson Bull? What races are left and who may they go well with? Key questions answered as thrilling System 1 2021 season reaches crunch run-in By Matt Morlidge
What is the present state of play within the championship?
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton have been buying and selling a slender title lead backwards and forwards for a lot of the season – there have been 5 lead modifications already – however proper now the Crimson Bull driver has the benefit.
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After out-scoring Hamilton on the Turkish GP, Verstappen is six factors forward with simply six races to go.
Within the constructors’ battle, Mercedes have a 36-point lead over Crimson Bull.
Max Verstappen needs he had a bit extra tempo total however felt it was an important outcome for the workforce in Turkey Max Verstappen needs he had a bit extra tempo total however felt it was an important outcome for the workforce in Turkey So Verstappen is the favorite in the mean time?
Not precisely. Verstappen has been the motive force to beat for many of this season – with seven wins to Hamilton’s 5 and eight poles to Hamilton’s three – however it’s the seven-time champion and Mercedes who’ve been in ominous type for the reason that summer season break.
Verstappen received in Belgium, on a closely disrupted and moist weekend, and Zandvoort, at a monitor which suited Crimson Bull, however Hamilton was considerably sooner than his rival on the final three races, in Italy, Russia and Turkey.
That simply is not mirrored within the factors.
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Hamilton and Verstappen had been each point-less at Monza because of their crash, whereas Verstappen managed a one-point swing over the subsequent two rounds regardless of the distinction in tempo, fairly happily limiting the harm of his engine penalty at Sochi, and capitalising on Hamilton’s in Istanbul.
This is not to say Hamilton is the overwhelming favorite by any means, however with such a small factors deficit and Mercedes on a run of type, the ever-changing 2021 momentum appears to be swinging his method considerably.
Mercedes are actually sooner than Crimson Bull, then?
It is exhausting to make a definitive judgement with the distinction between the groups typically track-specific, however Mercedes’ domination of Crimson Bull in Turkey actually pointed in the direction of that assertion.
At a circuit the place it was anticipated to be even between the 2 groups, maybe even barely favouring Crimson Bull, Mercedes convincingly out-paced the title challengers, with Valtteri Bottas a snug victor.
That additionally sealed Mercedes’ first back-to-back wins since rounds three and 4 of the marketing campaign.
The place have they discovered their tempo?
There are just a few theories for that one. Mercedes put it all the way down to a much better understanding of, and confidence in, a automotive that was troublesome to tame initially of the season, whereas the improve that was debuted again at Silverstone additionally now appears to be working its magic.
Crimson Bull, nevertheless, insist that the massive distinction between the groups now could be the straight-line velocity. Crimson Bull, having seemed sooner earlier this 12 months, are at present struggling to catch the Mercedes automotive on the straights, and Christian Horner stated the Silver Arrows have taken a “important step” with their engine.
Mercedes deny these claims, stating that the brand new Energy Items have solely been targeted on reliability and crediting their straight-line velocity with totally different wing ranges.
Both method, their automotive has been very quick in current races.
Are Crimson Bull involved? Can they combat again?
Max Verstappen’s temper actually appears to have modified lately, going from his fairly assured manner to phrases like “it is not going to alter the world for me if we end first or second on the finish of the 12 months”. He additionally stated in Turkey: “I do suppose we have to step it up a bit to be within the combat till the top of the season.”
Horner, although, insisted that whereas upgrades are all-but-impossible with the brand new technology of automobiles on their method, the workforce and Verstappen are “combating at it and we’re not giving up the whole lot” in 2021.
“To be at this stage of the championship main the drivers and nonetheless in contact with the constructors, that is phenomenal,” he stated. “We’re loving this combat, having fun with this scrap, and there is some tracks arising the place it may go both method.”
Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton ‘made a mistake’ by disagreeing together with his Mercedes workforce over technique on the Turkish Grand Prix Martin Brundle believes Lewis Hamilton ‘made a mistake’ by disagreeing together with his Mercedes workforce over technique on the Turkish Grand Prix What races are left and who may they go well with?
The season continues with the USA GP this weekend earlier than races in Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Austin’s Circuit of the Americas tends to be a Hamilton and Mercedes stronghold however Sky F1’s Martin Brundle stated of this 12 months’s battle: “I might count on it to be a bit nip and tuck between the 2 groups.”
F1 2021’s remaining six races October 24 United States GP Austin November 7 Mexican GP Mexico Metropolis November 14 Brazilian GP Interlagos November 21 Qatar GP Doha December 5 Saudi Arabian GP Jeddah December 12 Abu Dhabi GP Yas Marina
He added on the remaining tracks: “I feel after we get into the subsequent two circuits, Mexico and Brazil, at greater altitude we see that the Honda engine actually appears to work properly there and generate extra energy.
“So I might say Mexico and Brazil ought to favour Crimson Bull, possibly Abu Dhabi too. Max dominated there final 12 months.
“We do not learn about Qatar, that is a very new Grand Prix and so is Saudi Arabia, so these are nice unknowns. It is even-stevens I might say for the final six races.”
May reliability nonetheless play an element?
It may, though Verstappen and Hamilton each have recent fourth engines now and each groups are assured that they may final till the top of the season. Toto Wolff did not rule out taking a recent Energy Unit and engine penalty at some stage, although if that occurs it could seemingly be tactical, fairly than enforced.