On October 10, Max Verstappen regained the lead of the 2021 Components 1 Championship from Lewis Hamilton after taking the chequered flag in a robust 2nd position on the Turkish Grand Prix, 3 positions forward of his Mercedes rival.
Extremely, it was once the 6th time—fourth in six races—that the championship lead modified palms this season. Handiest six issues now separate the 2 name challengers after 16 rounds, with six to head. The final time two name competitors had been separated by way of that margin or much less after as many races, was once 9 years in the past when Sebastian Vettel, then riding for Crimson Bull, overtook Fernando Alonso by way of six issues after the Korean Grand Prix.
Since then, because the 1.6 litre V6 hybrid engines had been presented in 2014, there was just one group to rule F1. Mercedes ruled what has come to be referred to as the “hybrid technology” with its drivers successful all championships ever since.
It is what makes Verstappen’s problem, and this season, the entire extra exceptional.
Right here, in any case is a driving force who’s taking at the blended would possibly of Hamilton and Mercedes, a partnership that has overshadowed (no less than when it comes to information) essentially the most celebrated pairing in F1—the nice Michael Schumacher in his mythical crimson Ferrari.
Having raced on the pinnacle of the game for 15 years, the 36-year-old Hamilton now owns all main information—maximum wins, poles and podiums—barring a very powerful one.
Tied on seven championships with Schumacher, an 8th will see him pass previous the Ferrari massive to statistically develop into the best ever. With in depth legislation adjustments coated up for 2022, which might totally shake up the sector like in 2009 or 2014, that is possibly Hamilton’s very best likelihood to head for the file breaking 8th crown.
Apart from Verstappen is in the best way, having gained seven races to the Briton’s 5. Hamilton has now not had it this difficult in virtually a decade. Vettel examined him in 2017 and 2018, however Ferrari’s problem wilted in the second one part of the season with the Mercedes driving force operating away with the championship. And with all due admire to Hamilton’s present teammate Valtteri Bottas, the Finn isn’t any Nico Rosberg, who stays the final driving force to overcome Hamilton—that too in the similar equipment—when he clinched the 2016 championship in a mystery at Abu Dhabi.
So can Verstappen final the route? The son of former F1 driving force Jos Verstappen, the Dutchman is a feisty, unrelenting driving force who fights for each and every inch of the monitor, protecting his place to the restrict, and from time to time past. His resolution not to concede place, competitive riding taste and the desire to win has evoked comparisons with the overdue Ayrton Senna, arguably the best driving force ever. Verstappen’s ability was once on complete show when he gained the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix on his debut for Crimson Bull to develop into the youngest winner in F1 at 18. His good fortune spurred different groups to rent more youthful drivers.
Now 24 and having gained races yearly since that well-known victory in Catalonia, Verstappen is hungrier than ever to win his first name and finish Hamilton’s dominance now that he has a automobile that may problem the Mercedes.
It was once in Spherical 7 in France in June that Crimson Bull realised their attainable. “If we will be able to beat Mercedes right here, we will be able to beat them any place,” Crimson Bull boss Christian Horner had mentioned then. That weekend, Verstappen didn’t simply take the win but in addition were given pole and quickest lap and made a panoramic overtaking transfer, arising thru Hamilton’s slipstream within the penultimate lap and chopping previous him on the nook. It is a transfer that defines Verstappen and it will end up to be the turning level if he is going directly to win the championship.
This type of wheel-to-wheel competition has supposed that the 2 have additionally come in combination this season a few instances, maximum alarmingly at Monza when Verstappen bounced over the kerb after making touch with Hamilton’s left rear tyre, launching the Crimson Bull into the air and excessive of Hamilton’s Mercedes. Each drivers got here out of it protected, however had been pressured to retire.
The final six races—3 within the Americas and 3 within the Center-East—are poised to be one of the vital maximum riveting in F1 in a very long time.