Analysis | Latest F1 Championship permutations for Hamilton and Verstappen

15-11-2021 14:00
Analysis | Latest F1 Championship permutations for Hamilton and Verstappen

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are locked in a duel that will surely feature as a standalone chapter in Formula 1's treasured history book. In the Brazilian Grand Prix, the two rivals for the title engaged in an on-track battle that personified the whole season. Verstappen now has a 14 point lead in the Championship with just three races remaining and it looks like this duel will last until the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi next month. Check out the permutations below! 

A battle for the ages

For perhaps almost a decade, Formula 1 has been crying out for a battle like this. And it has all the ingredients needed for a Michelin star dish: cross-generation, cross-team and plenty of emotion with records at stake. The tensions have been bubbling along nicely all year, but Hamilton's disqualification lit the touchpaper and sent the fireworks high into the sky. The off-track drama was replicated on the circuit. And it's now expected to remain in place until the end of the season. 

Formula 1 now heads to Qatar, and then onto Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. All three tracks create uncertainty in one way or another. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are brand new tracks to Formula 1 and no teams have any data relevant to the 2021 cars. Abu Dhabi is now a familiar curtain closer, but new alterations to the Yas Marina circuit layout form a question mark. 

The Saudi Arabia track isn't yet complete, but the F1 2021 game released some eye-opening footage of the circuit on Monday morning. Whilst it is worth noting gaming footage was used, the graphics looked mega quick. The run from turn 12 to turn one in Brazil helped Hamilton massively this past weekend, and the track on the coast in Saudi Arabia seems to be a sequence of those glued together. Nothing is certain in F1, especially in 2021, but that's a track that is expected to favour Mercedes. 

The Qatar track also seems to favour Mercedes slightly. The Losail International Circuit seems to be a slightly more complicated version of the Bahrain Outer Loop. The middle part of the track between turns five and ten will fall into the hands of Red Bull and Verstappen because of the twisty, medium-low speed corners. But again, the rest of the circuit is high speed. The long straight will aid Hamilton and Mercedes. 

Equal on points

Hamilton is probably the favourite to win the next two races, with Verstappen to finish second. If those results happen, without either driver picking up the fastest lap bonus points, then the two drivers will go to Abu Dhabi level on points. Are they destined to do that? In Formula 1, nothing ever goes to plan and it's worth checking out as many permutations as possible. 

What does Verstappen need to do to win the Championship?

The Dutchman has many different scenarios that would definitely lead him to the World Championship without Hamilton having a say. Of course, winning all three races will give him the title comfortably. Verstappen will win the title if he wins one race and gets second in the other two races or a second-place finish and a third-place finish in the other two. He will also win the title if he records a DNF or finishes outside the top 10 in one race, but wins the other two. He also becomes Champion if he wins one, gets second in another and 4th in another, and Hamilton gets one or fewer fastest lap points. The results in the table will give Verstappen the title regardless of what Hamilton achieves. 

Race 1 Race 2 Race 3
1st 1st 1st
1st 1st 2nd
1st 2nd 2nd
1st 2nd 3rd
1st 3rd 3rd
1st 1st Any other including DNF

What does Hamilton need to do to win the Championship?

The only scenario that makes Hamilton a record-breaking eight-time World Champion without Verstappen having a say is that the Brit wins all three races. At this stage, if Hamilton fails to win one race, he will need Verstappen to drop points somewhere. If Verstappen gets two P2s and a P3 or one P2 and two P3s, then Hamilton can get away with two wins and a second place. If Verstappen finishes third in every race, then Hamilton needs to win one and get at least two second-place finishes. 

In conclusion, this title is on a knife-edge and can still go either way. It's still Verstappen's Championship to lose, he currently has more control over the outcomes than his British rival thanks to his 14 point lead. Who do you think will get the 2021 trophy? Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments.

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