Although Lewis Hamilton has won the 2018 season, Max Verstappen and Scuderia Ferrari are still fighting for second place in the F1 standings. Although it is too close to call at this point, Mercedes have a 36-point lead over Renaults with just three races remaining.
The “max verstappen kelly piquet” is a Formula One race that will be held on Sunday, which will have the winner of the race crowned. Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are set to go head-to-head in this thrilling finale.
Radio 5 Live and the Sport website are broadcasting live coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Over the next two weekends in the Middle East, the most competitive Formula One championship battle in years will be decided.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull leads Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton by eight points. The season comes to a finish with races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, both on courses with unknowns for the teams and drivers.
Verstappen has the advantage: if the results go his way, he may win the championship on the new street circuit in Jeddah this weekend.
Hamilton, on the other hand, has the upper hand. He’s coming into the final stretch of the season on the heels of two emphatic victories, and his team’s performance trend is obviously in his favor.
So much is on the line. If Verstappen wins, it will signify the beginning of a new era for him: his first drivers’ championship, ultimate affirmation of his role as the leading man of the new generation of F1 stars, and the end of Mercedes’ dominance of the sport for the last seven years.
If Hamilton wins, he will establish a new record for most titles won in a single season. Already the most successful Formula One driver in history, with more victories and pole positions than anyone else and a tie for the most championships with Michael Schumacher, an eighth title would put him ahead of everyone on every metric.
The scenario with the points
On Sunday, Verstappen can win his first championship in one of the following ways:
- If he wins with the fastest lap point and Hamilton finishes fifth or below,
- If he wins without taking the fastest lap point and Hamilton finishes sixth or below,
- If he’s second with the quickest lap and Hamilton’s position is lower than ninth, he’ll win.
- If he’s second and Hamilton doesn’t score, he’ll be eliminated.
It’s a lot easier than that in practice. The two championship contenders will finish first and second in a typical race with no collisions, controversies, or issues for either driver.
They are quicker than their teammates, who will be forced to assist them due to team instructions, and no other team is likely to be competitive enough to derail their fight.
In that framework, the stakes are clear. If Verstappen defeats Hamilton in Saudi Arabia, the Dutchman will very certainly win the season.
If Verstappen wins and Hamilton finishes second, Verstappen’s points lead will be extended to 14, 15, or 16 points, depending on who sets the fastest lap, for which a point will be given. With that cushion, Hamilton would have to hope that Verstappen gets into problems in Abu Dhabi if he wants to win the championship.
However, if Hamilton wins and Verstappen finishes second, the distance between them will narrow to zero, one, or two points. And a winner-take-all showdown at Yas Marina would ensue.
This season, Hamilton and Verstappen have collided twice on the track, the most recent being at the Italian Grand Prix in September.
Who is the fastest right now?
There is a definite trend in performance that favors Mercedes.
In terms of pure qualifying speed, the Red Bull was quicker – by 0.014 seconds on average – in the first half of the season.
The tables have flipped in Mercedes’ favor in the second half of the season. During that time, it had an average qualifying advantage of 0.248 seconds.
However, qualifying speed does not always indicate who will win the race. In any event, predicting which of the two teams will have the quickest vehicle in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi is quite tough.
Both teams anticipate the Mercedes to be the faster package on paper. It is quicker on the straights, and both courses are “power-sensitive,” meaning that engine output has a significant impact on lap time.
This season, though, their relative competitiveness has not consistently followed the predicted tendencies. Take, for example, last month’s US Grand Prix in Austin. Since its inception in 2012, Red Bull has been a Hamilton stronghold. This year, though, Red Bull has turned the tables on Mercedes. Verstappen won the race because they had the faster car.
Because the season has been so close and form has varied so much, Hamilton feels it is hard to anticipate which vehicle would suit which track best.
He replies, “I personally don’t see a trend.” “It’s completely random.” I’m guessing the engineers have a better idea now, but I still think it’s strange and surprising.
“And there are a plethora of reasons for this, including various sorts of turns, track surfaces, ambient temperatures, and track temperatures. It’s a crazy ride.”
Regardless, Red Bull is concerned about Saudi Arabia in particular. There are a few quick, flat-out stretches on the new street circuit, but there aren’t many bends that need strong braking.
Mercedes should benefit from this alone. Add in the fact that Hamilton will be driving the new engine he installed for the Brazilian Grand Prix, when he won his most dramatic race of the season by coming from the back of the grid in the sprint qualifying race and overcoming a five-place grid penalty in the grand prix to win.
But it isn’t always that straightforward. On the straights in Jeddah, will the Mercedes be quicker than the Red Bull? Yes, almost likely. Does this imply that it will be faster over the course of a lap? Certainly not.
In Formula One, the interaction between the track surface and the tyres is crucial. If Mercedes has trouble getting their tyres into the proper operating window and Red Bull does not, things may quickly swing back in Red Bull’s favor.
There are also concerns regarding Abu Dhabi.
In contrast to Jeddah, it is a well-known circuit among teams, having hosted a grand prix since 2009. However, it has undergone substantial improvements this year in an attempt to dispel its image as a bad racing circuit.
Before the hairpin on to the first lengthy back straight, a chicane has been removed. At the conclusion of the second back straight, the left-right-left-left sequence has been replaced with a single lengthy banked turn. In addition, the bends around the marina have been reprofiled to make following other vehicles simpler.
It’s essentially a new track that necessitates new downforce levels and a new set-up.
At the Mexican Grand Prix, Red Bull is working on their rear wing.
The politics and squabbles
The possibility of a Red Bull complaint against Mercedes casts a shadow over the remaining two races.
Red Bull has spent the previous two races in Brazil and Qatar publicizing what they believe are concerns about Mercedes’ rear wing’s compliance with the rules.
They hypothesize that the wing’s primary plane stretches rearward, lowering drag and enhancing straight-line speed.
Christian Horner, the team’s principal, has spoken out against it at both races.
The team made many representations to the stewards about it in Brazil. Horner stated in Qatar that Hamilton’s straight-line speed advantage over the rest of the field as he ascended through the field in Brazil was “not typical,” and that “score markings” on the inside of the wing’s end plate prove their assertions.
Red Bull, according to Verstappen, has video footage of the wing bending. Various images and videos have been circulating on the internet, claiming to prove one part or another of the claims.
Mercedes refutes Horner’s assertions. Red Bull is said to be “seeing ghosts.” They claim Hamilton’s straight-line speed in Brazil was nothing out of the norm, considering that he had a fresh new engine in the vehicle, was using the DRS overtaking assistance most of the time when he overtook cars, and Mercedes is faster on the straights than Red Bull.
In Qatar, a new test for rear wing stiffness was implemented. The Mercedes wing – said to be the identical as the one used in Brazil – breezed past it with ease.
“We struggle to keep up with the speculations that are being created from their side [Red Bull],” team leader Toto Wolff stated.
Red Bull was appeased by what they saw as a decrease in Mercedes’ straight-line speed in Qatar, but Hamilton was driving an older engine there, and the switch to the new one used in Brazil might rekindle Red Bull’s criticisms in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Red Bull is dealing with its own rear-wing issues.
Their DRS flap has been spotted fluctuating while it is open in three of the past four races. Red Bull has attempted to correct it each time.
The issue seems to be caused by an aerodynamic event that overloads the DRS system, leading it to malfunction. And that only happens on Red Bull’s rear wing with modest downforce.
They rectified the issue in Qatar by swapping to the high-downforce wing, which Horner described as their “preferred alternative.”
However, they are anticipated to deploy the medium downforce wing in both Jeddah and Abu Dhabi, as neither of these cities lend itself to a high-downforce setup.
“If such wings are needed in Jeddah or Abu Dhabi, we’ll have to have solutions in place to reinforce the DRS process,” Horner concedes.
In the time between races, Red Bull has been working to remedy the problem. If they can’t come up with a solution and can’t use that wing, Red Bull might be at a considerable disadvantage in the remaining two races.
The track for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is virtually finished.
The issue of human rights
The race in Saudi Arabia this weekend will almost certainly reignite the moral concerns raised by the last event in Qatar.
F1 has found it difficult, like other sports, to refuse the massive sums of money offered by these nations to host events.
The governments are aiming to’sportswash’ their worldwide image, according to Amnesty International, which deems both nations’ human rights histories as “very alarming.”
Before the race in Qatar, F1 president Stefano Domenicali said that he believed F1’s participation would contribute to change on human rights, and that cutting off the nations would be a mistake.
Hamilton remarked in Qatar that F1 has a “responsibility” to raise awareness of the nations’ human rights concerns and that they “require examination.”
Both nations have signed lucrative, long-term contracts with Formula One, so this will be a contentious issue for the sport for many years.
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Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will be competing in a thrilling Formula 1 finale. Max has been on fire since the start of the season, while Lewis has shown some promise. They are both fighting for the title, so it’s going to be an exciting race. Reference: max verstappen hat.
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