Lewis Hamilton has closed the gap to title rival Max Verstappen to just eight points after consecutive wins at the Brazil and Qatar Grands Prix. With the first-ever Saudi Arabia Grand Prix around the corner, Hamilton and Mercedes will try their hardest to ensure Verstappen doesn't run away with the title.
Hamilton comfortably led the Dutchman going into the main race on Sunday, taking pole by nearly half a second during qualifying on Saturday. The 36-year-old Briton went on to win the race without any opposition as Verstappen started seventh on the grid despite qualifying in second due to a penalty.
While the eight-point lead Verstappen currently holds over may not sound like much, every point can be a crucial deciding factor. To put it in context, the points difference between first and second is seven points.
With up to 52 points left for grabs (two wins and two fastest laps) over the next two races, should either driver win both events, they will win the title without contention. Furthermore, Verstappen only needs to win one race and he will be crowned world champion regardless of Hamilton winning the other, with the fastest lap (assuming both drivers finish 1-2).
If Lewis Hamilton were to win both remaining races, the 24-year old Dutchman would fall short by four points.
If Lewis Hamilton wins in Saudi Arabia with the fastest lap and Verstappen comes second, they will be equal on points, in which case, whoever wins in Abu Dhabi takes the title.
Max Verstappen can deny Lewis Hamilton world championship in Saudi Arabia
As it stands, Max Verstappen could run away with the title at the end of the upcoming Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, with Lewis Hamilton being denied his eighth world championship. The first-time title contender has to place a minimum of P2 while his rival finishes in no better than 10th place for the former to claim the title at the end of the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
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The precarious stakes of the upcoming race in Jeddah make the practice and qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday even more tantalizing, as teams and drivers try their best to figure out the new track.