Preview | Can Hamilton prolong the title fight with Verstappen?

01-12-2021 12:26
by GPblog.com
F1 News
Preview | Can Hamilton prolong the title fight with Verstappen?

It's time for the final two races of the 2021 Formula 1 season. The title fight between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton rumbles on, but during the first ever Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia this could come to a conclusion. Verstappen could take the title here, but at the same time Hamilton could overturn the title race deficit.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Saudi Arabia is hosting a Grand Prix in their country for the first time. The country hasn't had too much of a presence in F1 until recent years through sponsorship, but in 2021 it will have its own Grand Prix. The GP was first seen on the preliminary 2021 calendar presented to Formula One Management in October 2020.

Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Like the races in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, the Middle East race will be held in the evening, making use of a sea of artificial light. In Jeddah a street circuit was built and just before the race weekend it was finished. It is set to be the fastest street circuit on the calendar.

The organisation seems to have succeeded in that goal, because pictures of the circuit show a very fast circuit. Not only are there long straights like we are used to in Baku, but here the speed remains high because there are a lot of fast corners. The lack of low speed corners makes overtaking difficult and Mercedes seems to be the favourite.

Formula 1 in 2021

The battle for the world title is still not over. For the first time in years it is exciting until the end of the season. Verstappen has a lead of eight points over Hamilton and in the constructors' standings Mercedes are five points ahead of Red Bull Racing. It can still go either way in the last two races.

After the GP in Saudi Arabia there is only one race to go and so in theory Verstappen and Mercedes can win the title in Saudi Arabia. Both is not possible. Verstappen can win the title in four possible scenarios. The Dutchman needs to win or finish second and Hamilton needs to score little or no points for this to be possible. For Mercedes to win the world title the team needs to be 39 points ahead of Red Bull Racing.

Weather forecast

We shouldn't expect any crazy things when it comes to the weather in Saudi Arabia. From Friday to Sunday, Weather.com predicts temperatures above 30 degrees with a five percent or lower chance of rain throughout the weekend.

Prediction for GP of Saudi Arabia

This year we have seen that the favourite prior to a Grand Prix in many cases has not gone on to win the race. Mercedes are the team in form and early indications suggest they will be strongest this weekend.

The only thing Red Bull can take hope from is the previous races on street circuits in 2021. In Monaco and Baku Verstappen dominated and Mercedes had little to say. Baku is somewhat comparable to the circuit in Jeddah, but where Baku still has a slow technical section, Saudi Arabia does not.

It is therefore clear that Mercedes, and of course Lewis Hamilton, are the favourites for the upcoming Grand Prix. Verstappen and Hamilton have been far above the rest all year, so the expectation is that Verstappen will finish second. He must at least beat Valtteri Bottas in order to attack Hamilton. If Valtteri is in front of Max, it will be a very difficult story.

Schedule for the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Friday

First free practice: 13:30 - 14:30

Second free practice: 17:00 - 18:00

Saturday

Third free practice: 14:00 - 15:00

Qualification: 17:00 - 18:00

Sunday

Race: 17:30 - 19:30

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