Ralf Schumacher believes it will be very hard for Max Verstappen to defeat Lewis Hamilton in the last two races, due to the pace advantage that Mercedes have over the Red Bull F1 team. The former German F1 driver told Sky Sports after the Qatar GP that he believed Mercedes have the more "stable package" when it comes to their car.
Explaining his reasons for believing why Max Verstappen’s chances are diminishing, Ralf Schumacher said:
“The Mercedes is currently the more stable package. Max gives everything and shows how good he is. Under normal circumstances, though, he doesn't stand a chance.”
Although Schumacher’s predictions for Max Verstappen might be a bit premature, they are largely an effect of Mercedes’ superlative performances in Brazil and Qatar. But given that the venues for the Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi races could be a mixed bag and favor both teams, it is still too early to say which way the pendulum will swing, given the close nature of the fight.
While Mercedes claim they will be bringing their Brazil-spec engine to the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, the pace advantage it had over the Red Bull F1 car is likely not to be as dominant as it was in Brazil. However, if Red Bull F1 sort out their aerodynamical wing issues and find some extra performance by Saudi Arabia, then one can expect it to be a close fight to the finish line in Abu Dhabi.
Max Verstappen will have first chance at sealing the title in Saudi Arabia
In theory, if Max Verstappen wins the Saudi Arabia GP and bags the fastest lap, his British contender will have to finish sixth or lower for the former to seal the title in Abu Dhabi. If Hamilton wins in Saudi Arabia and Verstappen is second, they are likely to be tied heading into the next race.
If Max Verstappen bags the win and fastest lap in Saudi Arabia, he will extend his advantage over Hamilton by 14 points ahead of the final round. If Hamilton wins at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and Max Verstappen finishes second and bags the fastest lap, then the Dutchman’s title lead gets reduced to four points.
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Ideally an outright win for Verstappen would swing the momentum in his favor, and the second drivers at both the Red Bull F1 team and Mercedes will play a huge role in the fight. While Valtteri Bottas will have to throw everything in his arsenal at the Dutchman, Perez will have to do the same with Hamilton in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.