Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: F1’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP explainer with champion to be topped

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen's thrilling championship battle finishes with a winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi GP. Watch live on Sky Sports on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s thrilling championship battle finishes with a winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi GP. Watch reside on Sky Sports activities on Sunday.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s thrilling championship battle finishes with a winner-takes-all Abu Dhabi GP. Watch reside on Sky Sports activities on Sunday.

How does it stand within the championship?

After 21 of this season’s 22 races, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are tied on 369.5 factors on the prime of the drivers’ standings.

Verstappen formally holds the lead, nonetheless, on System 1’s countback rule.

The Pink Bull driver has received 9 races to the Mercedes man’s eight.

Who begins the place for Sunday’s race?

In opposition to pre-qualifying expectations it was Pink Bull’s Verstappen and never Mercedes’ Hamilton who claimed the season’s closing pole place with a Q3 efficiency described as a mark of “greatness” by Sky F1 pundit and former world champion Nico Rosberg.

Verstappen subsequently begins on the head of a Sunday grid for the tenth time this season, with Hamilton eight metres behind in second place. Will probably be the eighth time they’ve began collectively on the entrance row this yr; Verstappen has received 4 of these earlier races to Hamilton’s three.

Abu Dhabi GP: Beginning prime 10 grid and tyre selections

Driver Crew Beginning tyre
1) Max Verstappen Pink Bull Softs
2) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mediums
3) Lando Norris McLaren Softs
4) Sergio Perez Pink Bull Softs
5) Carlos Sainz Ferrari Softs
6) Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mediums
7) Charles Leclerc Ferrari Softs
8) Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri Mediums
9) Esteban Ocon Alpine Softs
10) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren Softs

One probably essential distinction this time is that the contenders will begin the race on totally different tyres.

Verstappen might be on the grippier however much less sturdy softs, Hamilton on the marginally slower however extra sturdy mediums. Whereas that ought to theoretically give the Dutchman a grip benefit off the road, the Briton ought to then be capable of run longer and pit later within the first stint ought to Mercedes select.

When does Sky reside protection begin and when’s the race?

All of the build-up and the massive 58-lap race itself is reside on Sky Sports activities F1, Sky Sports activities Fundamental Occasion and Sky Showcase.

Protection on Sunday begins at 11.30am forward of a 1pm race begin.

What’s at stake for every driver?

Verstappen, the 24-year-old in his seventh season on the grid, is aiming for his first F1 title. He could be the primary Dutchman to grow to be champion and simply the second Pink Bull driver after Sebastian Vettel.

For Hamilton, essentially the most important achievement within the sport’s historical past is up for grabs. An eighth world title would set a brand new all-time outright document for drivers’ championships, another than Michael Schumacher.

One to go: The way it stands within the title chases

Drivers’ Factors
1) Max Verstappen 369.5
2) Lewis Hamilton 369.5
Constructors’
1) Mercedes 587.5
2) Pink Bull 559.5

Have drivers been tied on factors going right into a closing race earlier than?

Solely as soon as earlier than within the 71 earlier seasons of the world championship.

That was again in 1974 when Brazil’s Emerson Fittipaldi and Switzerland’s Clay Regazzoni have been tied heading into that season’s closing spherical within the USA.

However that was in a marketing campaign of solely 15 races, making the actual fact Verstappen and Hamilton are stage after 21 rounds all of the extra exceptional.

How can Verstappen or Hamilton win the title?

To place it most easily, whichever one wins the race is world champion (they’ve received 17 of the season’s 21 races between them thus far).

To place it barely much less merely, whichever one finishes forward within the prime eight positions can be world champion.

Sunday’s reside Sky F1 occasions

Construct-up Race begin
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 11.30am 1pm

Can they end stage on factors – and what occurs then?

Sure, and in such a state of affairs Verstappen would take the title.

However beneath the game’s factors system for a race’s top-10 finishers (25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1) there are solely two methods the place a factors tie can now occur.

The primary is that if each drivers end exterior of these points-scoring positions totally, which means eleventh or decrease (together with race retirement).

As much as 2021, this had by no means truly occurred in races that each Hamilton and Verstappen had competed in but has occurred twice this season.

The primary time was in Azerbaijan in June, when Verstappen suffered a tyre blow-out whereas main and Hamilton completed fifteenth after plummeting down the order, as soon as knocking the unsuitable steering wheel button on the race’s late restart. Then, after all, there was the excessive drama of the Italian GP in September when the rivals ended up beached within the gravel entice after colliding whereas battling over place.

However there may be one different means they may end stage on factors too.

If one have been to complete Sunday’s race ninth (two factors) and the opposite tenth with the quickest lap bonus (1+1) then they might be tied on 371.5 factors. Once more, as a consequence of countback, Verstappen could be champion.

Drivers have by no means completed a season tied on factors on the prime of the championship; the closest-ever end was 0.5 factors between Niki Lauda and Alain Prost in 1984.

If a driver finishes exterior the highest 10, they can’t rating some extent even when they maintain the race’s quickest lap.

Might the season be determined by a collision?

Lewis Hamilton says: 'it's great that it's clear everyone knows what the rules are' after race director Michael Masi stated points deductions will be enforced at the F1 season showdown with Max Verstappen at the Abu Dhabi GP.

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Lewis Hamilton says: ‘it is nice that it is clear everybody is aware of what the principles are’ after race director Michael Masi said factors deductions might be enforced on the F1 season showdown with Max Verstappen on the Abu Dhabi GP.

Lewis Hamilton says: ‘it is nice that it is clear everybody is aware of what the principles are’ after race director Michael Masi said factors deductions might be enforced on the F1 season showdown with Max Verstappen on the Abu Dhabi GP.

The query that has inevitably cropped up in dialog and conjecture all week, given what has been the more and more combative nature of Verstappen and Hamilton’s rivalry, making some form of collision a not totally fictitious prospect.

In spite of everything, the duelling pair have collided to race-ending impact for at the very least one automotive on two events this season – and really practically with the same consequence in Saudi Arabia final weekend. There have additionally been quite a few wheel-touching and off-track moments as they’ve fought over positions.

Championship-deciding crashes have been seen in F1 earlier than, though not particularly just lately.

Each the 1989 and 1990 title fights between Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna have been settled on this means on the respective marketing campaign’s penultimate rounds, whereas Michael Schumacher got here collectively in final-round deciders with Damon Hill in 1994 and Jacques Villeneuve in 1997.

Making an attempt to attract a line beneath such techniques, the FIA took Schumacher’s season’s factors away from him after the controversial conclusion to the latter marketing campaign and all final-race showdowns have since handed with out such contentious incident. F1’s rulebook on driver conduct is quite extra complete these days.

Certainly, FIA race director Michael Masi reminded all opponents in his ordinary pre-event notes on Thursday about these laws and the sporting penalties, akin to factors deductions, allowed for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Talking to Sky F1 on Saturday, Masi stated: “As a driver deep down you’ve got an excellent moral sense, and between the title protagonists I believe there’s a fairly clear understanding of the place the road is.

“It isn’t my resolution for it to be determined within the stewards’ room. There’s two individuals straight concerned from a championship perspective, being Max and Lewis, and it is as much as them. Everybody has stated, me included, the stewards included, that the very last thing any of us need is for this to be determined within the stewards’ room or weeks to come back within the court docket of attraction.

“However I am fairly hopeful between all of them, Mercedes and Pink Bull, Max and Lewis, they need to type it out on monitor with an thrilling race to finish what has been an thrilling 2021 world championship.”

What is the Abu Dhabi monitor like? And what has modified there?

Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill analyse the changes made to the Yas Marina Circuit for the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi.

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Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill analyse the modifications made to the Yas Marina Circuit for the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi.

Karun Chandhok and Damon Hill analyse the modifications made to the Yas Marina Circuit for the 2021 finale in Abu Dhabi.

The Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi within the United Arab Emirates joined the calendar in 2009 and has had the honour of internet hosting the ultimate race of the season in yearly since 2014.

Will probably be the fourth time in these 12 years that it has staged a title decider.

Whereas arguably nonetheless the game’s most spectacular-looking venue, with a 499-room lodge that straddles the circuit its distinctive function, the structure has typically not produced thrilling racing.

The monitor gained infamy on the closing spherical of 2010 when pre-event title chief Fernando Alonso spent a lot of the race trapped behind a significantly-slower Renault of Vitaly Petrov, which allowed Sebastian Vettel to money in and declare his maiden title.

The arrival of DRS the next season helped enhance issues and there have been some extra thrilling races within the years since, though final yr’s Verstappen-dominated occasion proved significantly soporific.

Conscious of that fame, the circuit has this yr been remodelled in three locations of the lap to assist create extra overtaking and the likelihood for wheel-to-wheel racing. The drivers have largely given it constructive critiques since Friday.

The chicane earlier than what was Flip Seven has been eliminated and the hairpin at what’s now Flip 5 widened. On the finish of the second DRS zone additional across the lap, 4 corners have been taken out with one quick banked flip now instead (Flip 9). 4 corners across the lodge part have additionally been altered to enhance racing.

All in all, the lap size has been shortened to five.2km from 5.5km with lap occasions 13s quicker than earlier than. Verstappen’s pole time from Saturday of 1:22.109 in contrast together with his 1:35.246 to move the grid in 2020.

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