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Saudi Arabia GP: How many points does Hamilton need to deny Verstappen first F1 title?

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton's thrilling championship battle could be settled at the Saudi Arabian GP this weekend.

By: Sports Desk |
December 4, 2021 11:00:49 am
Hamilton will look for record-breaking 8th championship title while Verstappen can win his first title

Star of Formula One racing Lewis Hamilton will try to close his championship deficit against points leader Max Verstappen when the series makes its debut at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend. Meanwhile, Verstappen can secure his first Formula One world championship in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia will be the 37th country to host Formula One and Jeddah the 75th circuit. It will be the fifth circuit to host a floodlit race, the others being Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar.

Seven-time series champion Hamilton started from the pole in Qatar and was never threatened in his second consecutive victory. He heads into Sunday’s race around the streets of Jeddah as favourite to take the title battle down to the wire in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen is eight points ahead of Hamilton and Jeddah is the Dutch driver’s first chance to take the title. He will have to finish at least second, however.

Points explained:

The Red Bull driver has 351.5 points with Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton eight points adrift on 343.5.

Points are awarded to the top 10 in 25-18-15-12-10-8-6-4-2-1 order with a bonus point for fastest lap. That leaves a maximum 26 points to be won after this weekend.

Verstappen needs an advantage of 26 points after the first-ever race at Saudi Arabia’s high-speed Jeddah street track to seal an early crown, meaning he has to outscore Hamilton by 18 points.

Here are the scenarios, permutations and combinations for Verstappen to win the title:

– Wins fastest lap and Hamilton is outside the top five
– Wins without the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes outside the top six
– Finishes second with the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes lower than ninth
– Finishe second without the fastest lap and Hamilton fails to score.

If Verstappen finishes lower than second, the battle will stay alive into Abu Dhabi regardless of what Hamilton does. If Hamilton wins and scores the extra point for fastest lap with Verstappen second, the pair will head into Abu Dhabi level on points but with the Dutchman ahead on account of having won more races (9-8).

Here are the scenarios, permutations and combinations for Hamilton to take the lead:

– He scores at least nine points more than Verstappen in Saudi Arabia, which includes victory with Verstappen third
– No combination of results will see Hamilton crowned this weekend

Mercedes lead Red Bull by five points in the constructors’ standings and can secure the title if they score 40 points more than Red Bull. Ferrari will secure third place if they score five points more than McLaren.

Hamilton has a record 102 career victories, of which 81 have been with Mercedes, from 286 starts. He has been on the podium 180 times.Red Bull’s championship leader Max Verstappen has won nine times this year to Hamilton’s seven. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas have each won once. Ferrari have won 238 races since 1950, McLaren 183, Mercedes 123, Williams 114 and Red Bull 74.

The 27-turn Corniche circuit is the second longest on the calendar, some 800m shorter than Belgium’s Spa. It will be the sport’s fastest street circuit with F1 predicting top speeds of 322kph and an average of 252.8kph. The circuit runs along the shores of the Red Sea.

Carlos Sainz Jr. (7th in points) and Antonio Giovinazzi (18th) are the only drivers to have been running at the finish in all 20 races. Verstappen has led 620 laps; the rest of the drivers to have competed this season have combined to lead 569.

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