With just a handful of races to go, the end of the F1 season is in sight. While the Drivers Championship has usually been a formality for Lewis Hamilton to win in recent years, he has faced stiff competition this season in the form of Max Verstappen.
In fact, Red Bull’s Verstappen is currently in a points lead over the seven-time champion Hamilton. Yet after his stunning victory at the thrilling – and oftentimes controversial – Brazilian Grand Prix, where he rose from the tenth position to take the chequered flag, Mercedes’ Hamilton is right in contention to win a record-breaking eighth title.
It might be a two-horse race, but it has been many years since the F1 Drivers Championship has had such an exciting conclusion. The only question is: who will end up being the champion? According to current odds from Betway, it’s too close to call with three races remaining.
Verstappen still retains the lead
Crucially, Verstappen is the one who holds a small yet significant points advantage in the race to the title. With three races to go at the time of writing, he is currently 14 points ahead of Hamilton. This means the title is his to lose.
It also means that Hamilton has to keep chasing him down. With so few races left, even one slip-up could hand the title to Verstappen. Whereas if Verstappen were to suffer a DNF in one race, he could win the other two and still walk away with the championship.
Hamilton may have to win all remaining races
Out of the season’s 19 previous races, Verstappen and Hamilton have finished in the top two spots eleven times. If that trend continues for the last three races of the season, it means that Hamilton has to realistically win all three.
25 points are awarded to the race winner, 18 points to second place. An additional point is also supplied to those with the fastest lap. Putting aside the bonus point, if Hamilton were to win the next two races with Verstappen as runner-up, that would leave them level on points with one race to go. That means he’d also likely have to finish ahead of Verstappen again in the final race.
The experience is with Hamilton
There’s a serious argument to be made that Hamilton is the greatest F1 driver of all time. He has won six of the last seven Drivers Championships. In comparison, 24-year-old Verstappen, 12 years Hamilton’s junior, has yet to win his maiden title, finishing third in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
Experience is firmly in Hamilton’s corner, and this could prove the difference in this titanic battle between the two best drivers in F1 today. Add in the fact that Hamilton is benefiting from a fresh new engine, one that gave him a notable performance boost in Brazil, and there are plenty of reasons why Hamilton should be viewed as the favorite despite the current points deficit between the two.