Max Verstappen has a slim chance of winning his first Drivers’ Championship at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Here are the title permutations ahead of the final two races of the F1 season!
It couldn’t be much closer in the fight for the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship. Following his win at the Qatar Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton sits only eight points behind Max Verstappen in the standings. It’s the first time since 2008 that as few as eight points separate the top two in the Drivers’ Championship with two races remaining.
Can the title be won at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix?
Max Verstappen can clinch his first title at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. To do so he needs to outscore Lewis Hamilton by 18 points. Then, even if Hamilton scores the full 26 points in Abu Dhabi with Verstappen failing to score, the best Hamilton can do is tie on points with Verstappen. In that situation, Verstappen would win the title as he would finish the year with more wins that Hamilton.
There are three scenarios in which Verstappen will win the title in Jeddah:
- If Verstappen wins and sets the Fastest Lap and Hamilton finishes 6th or lower
- If Verstappen wins and Hamilton finishes 7th (even with the Fastest Lap) or lower
- If Verstappen finishes 2nd (with or without the Fastest Lap) and Hamilton fails to score
In his Formula 1 career to date, there have been only seven races at which Verstappen has out-scored Hamilton by 18 points or more. Three of those races (2016 Spanish Grand Prix, 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix and 2018 Austrian Grand Prix) are races which Hamilton failed to finish. At the other four (2017 Mexican Grand Prix, 2019 German Grand Prix, 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix and 2021 Monaco Grand Prix), Verstappen won the race with Hamilton finishing outside of the top six.
What about the Constructors Championship?
Mercedes currently sit five points ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors’ Championship. They have a slim chance of being crowned champions for an eighth consecutive season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. To do so, they would need to outscore Red Bull by 40 points. To do that, Mercedes would need to win the race with both of their drivers finishing on the podium.
Here are the permutations for Mercedes to win the title in Saudi Arabia:
|IF MERCEDES FINISH…||RED BULL|
|1st, 2nd + Fastest Lap||Must score no more than 4 points|
|1st + 2nd||Must score no more than 3 points|
|1st, 3rd + Fastest Lap||Must score no more than 1 point|
|1st +3rd||Must not score|
If Verstappen fails to win the title in Saudi Arabia, Formula 1 will have its first final race title decider since 2016, when Nico Rosberg won the title. If Mercedes fail to wrap up the Constructors’ Championship, it will be the first time that the teams’ title will be decided at the last race of the year since 2008.
Do you think Verstappen or Mercedes will win the title in Saudi Arabia? Leave a comment below!
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.