Four ways Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen can win the title in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1: Hamilton and Verstappen crash at 190mph

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There are several different ways that either Red Bull superstar Max Verstappen or Mercedes’ reigning champion Lewis Hamilton can seal the world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The 2021 F1 season has been one of the greatest years in the sport’s history thanks to the titanic world championship race between Mercedes’ Hamilton and Red Bull’s Verstappen.

The two men have won 17 races between them this season, with the Dutchman claiming nine victories to Hamilton’s eight and they head into the finale of the year level on points with 369.5 each.

Their rivalry has been one for the ages, with the two colliding at Silverstone and Monza before last weekend’s dramatic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where drama and controversy reigned.

Last Sunday’s crazy race in Jeddah saw two red flags, multiple virtual safety car interventions and five drivers crash out before Hamilton won his eighth race of the season to level the drivers’ standings.

It is the first time since 1974 that the two leading drivers are level going into the last race of the campaign, when McLaren’s Emerson Fittipaldi edged Ferrari’s Clay Regazzoni.

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Simply put, the two title protagonists just need to defeat the other to claim the world championship.

If Hamilton beats the Dutchman on Sunday, the Brit will win a record eighth world title.

The 36-year-old is currently level with F1 icon Michael Schumacher on seven championships – and Hamilton will want to break away and stand alone to seal his position as the greatest driver in the sport’s history.

Hamilton has won the last three races and surely must be considered the favourite to claim the championship on Sunday.

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There are other ways that Verstappen can win a maiden world title.

The Dutchman, like Hamilton, simply needs to beat his title rival to the line at the Yas Marina Circuit come Sunday.

In theory, Verstappen can be more aggressive than Hamilton because a crash that takes both drivers out of the Grand Prix would gift the 24-year-old the title.

However, if the two crash out and it is deemed to be foul play, FIA race director Michael Masi – who has been in the post since March 2019 – confirmed officials can still bestow points penalties for any dangerous or unsportsmanlike tactics. 

“I can’t control the actions of the two individuals, only they can,” said Masi.

“But within the regulations we have penalties, be it time or grid penalties. In addition, the International Sporting Code has provision for the stewards to disqualify a competitor or dock championship point.

“So, yes, Max could be deducted points, as could any team. We hope it isn’t necessary, but it is one of the tools available. I will remind all the teams and drivers of these provisions.”

In such an event, Verstappen would still hold the edge in race wins but a points penalty would see him drop from first place in the championship – even if Hamilton doesn’t add to his own total.

It all adds up to create an unbelievable climax to the 2021 season, the fitting end to a sensational season.

Formula 1 travels to the Yas Marina Circuit for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12, with Red Bull star Verstappen and Mercedes’ Hamilton set to decide the world championship in a winner-take-all battle.

Whoever comes out will undoubtedly be a very deserving world champion.

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