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Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: Who will likely be F1 champion? Analysing key components as run-in intensifies

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Sky F1 skilled Mark Hughes delves into Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen, Mercedes vs Crimson Bull and the large speaking factors for the title run-in, with eight races set to resolve the 2021 champion; Watch this weekend’s Russian GP reside solely on Sky Sports activities F1

Final Up to date: 20/09/21 8:38pm


Their incident at Monza has solely intensified the aggressive stress between title protagonists Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

With as much as eight races left and simply 5 factors between them, it might be no shock if their duel went all the best way to the wire. So what are their prospects as we head into Russia for the primary of these eight races?

Max Verstappen moved alongside Lewis Hamilton after his pit stop and the pair collide at the first chicane, causing both to be beached in the gravel!!

Max Verstappen moved alongside Lewis Hamilton after his pit cease and the pair collide on the first chicane, inflicting each to be beached within the gravel!!

Max Verstappen moved alongside Lewis Hamilton after his pit cease and the pair collide on the first chicane, inflicting each to be beached within the gravel!!

The circuits

If there was a sample to the see-sawing type of the Mercedes and Crimson Bull-Honda, it’s that the Merc has fared higher at circuits closely rewarding low drag, with the Crimson Bull’s benefit at its greatest on excessive downforce tracks.

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Sochi is traditionally a Mercedes stronghold, the very lengthy flat-out stretch from the ultimate nook to Flip 3 suiting its low-rake efficiency profile very effectively. That stated, traditionally Crimson Bull has by no means earlier than turned as much as Sochi with a automotive as generically aggressive as this yr’s RB16B.

The rest of the F1 2021 calendar

Date Grand Prix
THIS WEEKEND Russian GP
October 10 Turkish GP
October 24 United States GP
November 7 Mexico Metropolis GP
November 14 Sao Paulo GP
November 21 TBC
December 5 Saudi Arabian GP
December 12 Abu Dhabi GP

The a number of 90-degree turns of the ultimate sector ought to give it half an opportunity of clawing again what it could lose to Mercedes in sector 1. Tyre efficiency in qualifying is all the time a tough factor right here too, with the problem being to steadiness out how a lot you are taking from the rears within the first sector to maintain them from being too sizzling within the traction-dominated closing one.

That and a tough problem in getting the fronts as much as temperature in the beginning of the lap make this one thing of a conundrum. It isn’t a on condition that Merc’s dominance of the Russian observe will go unbroken, however in fact Verstappen has not less than a three-place grid drop there and perhaps extra if Crimson Bull elects to alter his energy unit.

Istanbul’s structure is well-balanced between the type of high-speed sweeps at which the Mercedes excels and the low-speed response corners the place the Crimson Bull permits Verstappen to shine. But when the observe is as chilly and gripless as final yr, Crimson Bull’s capacity to extra readily get its tyres as much as temperature could also be essential.

Austin has a nicely-balanced set of calls for which ought to see the 2 automobiles very evenly matched, however the next Mexico Metropolis is invariably Mercedes’ weakest observe of the yr. The acute altitude imposes a higher energy penalty on its energy unit than that of the Honda. That and the observe structure ought to closely favour Crimson Bull.

The identical however much less so in all probability applies to Interlagos, the second-highest altitude circuit on the calendar, however the air is nowhere close to as skinny as in Mexico. Historical past suggests the chance of the climate randomising the occasion is excessive.

But to be confirmed, however anticipated to take the vacant Japan slot, Qatar seems set to host F1 for the primary time. Its observe structure seems to make for a reasonably even steadiness between the 2 automobiles however clearly that is with none historic information about how the observe floor interacts with the tyres and the way which may play to at least one automotive or the opposite.

The Jeddah road structure upon which the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will likely be held seems a nailed-on Mercedes profit with its super-long straights and really quick sweeping corners. Abu Dhabi the next week ought to see a extra even match.

The psychological problem

Dramatic new footage has been released of the potentially season-defining moment when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the Italian Grand Prix.

Dramatic new footage has been launched of the doubtless season-defining second when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided on the Italian Grand Prix.

Dramatic new footage has been launched of the doubtless season-defining second when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided on the Italian Grand Prix.

Following their incidents at Silverstone and Monza, Verstappen and Hamilton have extra psychological strain in any wheel-to-wheel confrontation. How they every deal with that would very effectively be essential.

Hamilton is aware of that Verstappen is not going to yield, Verstappen can not know if Hamilton will or not, as he is diverse his strategy at totally different moments by way of the season. The factors state of affairs between them on the resolution second may effectively resolve how Hamilton handles any future moments of potential on-track battle.

Engine utilization

Verstappen’s lack of an influence unit in Silverstone’s crash makes it virtually sure he will likely be taking a grid penalty for a brand new engine in one of many remaining races. Given his three-place grid drop in Sochi for the Monza accident, logically it might be time to take the ability unit penalty too. The observe lends itself effectively to passing slower automobiles and it in all probability would not take too lengthy even from a double penalised grid slot for Verstappen to be instantly behind the Mercs.

With that energy unit change out of the best way, Verstappen would then have a more energizing engine within the combine than Hamilton for the rest of the season, within the assumption that Lewis would not take an additional PU of his personal.

Sky Formula One's Karun Chandhok says it is a huge relief that Lewis Hamilton walked away unscathed from his crash at the Italian GP and thinks it is right that Max Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for his part in the incident.

Sky Components One’s Karun Chandhok says it’s a big aid that Lewis Hamilton walked away unscathed from his crash on the Italian GP and thinks it’s proper that Max Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for his half within the incident.

Sky Components One’s Karun Chandhok says it’s a big aid that Lewis Hamilton walked away unscathed from his crash on the Italian GP and thinks it’s proper that Max Verstappen was given a three-place grid penalty for his half within the incident.

Crew-mate assist

Staying throughout the pit cease window of the rival group’s title contender is a key demand for every of the assist drivers on this battle, Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez.

Bottas has achieved a way more convincing job of that this yr than Perez, whose qualifying struggles have typically nullified how helpful he could be to Crimson Bull in making an attempt to win Verstappen the race.

Bottas has certified a median 0.15s slower than Hamilton whereas Perez has been extra like 0.4s adrift of Verstappen and sometimes, due to this fact, amongst slower automobiles within the opening stint as Hamilton and Verstappen race off into the space.

However no matter how all these contributing components play out, there will likely be another which can’t be accounted for however which is traditionally vitally vital: luck.





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