Just one more week before the F1 battle continues. The battle between Hamilton and Verstappen, Mercedes and Red Bull.
The fight will continue at the beautiful circuit of Spa-Francorchamps before we go to Verstappen-land at Zandvoort where F1 will return after 36 years of absence. Monza will complete the triple header before we have one week off as we go to Russia. But after that? Everything is still very much in doubt. The Japanese Grand Prix got cancelled, events on tracks at Cota, Turkey and Mexico are still uncertain and although the Brazilian GP organisers confirmed their race will go ahead, but did ask for a different date on the calendar. All in all it leaves the F1 calendar in October and November in doubt. We will go to the Middle East later on in the year where we will race at Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, but right now a 23 race calendar seems a big stretch. I can see the calendar being filled up with another race in Bahrain, possibly at the out track like we’ve seen at the Sakhir GP last year and maybe we will even go to Qatar, but nevertheless a lot is uncertain when it comes where and how many races there will be in 2021.
Regardless of all that, we are going to see a great fight between two phenomenal drivers and we will probably see the championship lead change a few more times before we go to the final race at Abu Dhabi. Each track will probably suit one car more than the other and maybe we will see the two rivals run into each other again. It mostly comes down to not making mistakes and dropping points unnecessarily. So Let’s look back at how both have lost points this season so far and start with Lewis.
At race 1 in Bahrain Lewis was in the lead and defending that against a surging Max Verstappen in the last few laps of the race. Controversial in this was the track limits, which were crossed 29 times by the defending champion during the race. No penalty was given, however when Max overtook Lewis he took the same route and had to give the position back. In the 2nd race of the season at Imola, Lewis made a mistake, ran into the gravel and dropped back outside of the top and was even lapped. A safety car caused by the incident between Russell and Bottas made sure Lewis could come back in the race and still managed to get a 2nd place. After winning at Portugal and Spain Lewis had an awful weekend at Monaco where qualified in just 7th and a poor strategy choice even dropped him behind Vettel and Perez in the race. But once again an incident with Bottas, who’s pit crew didn’t manage to get his wheel off until 48 hours after the race and a DNS by Leclerc still got Lewis a few points in the bag. And in this championship each point counts. Two weeks later at Azerbaijan the Red Bulls seemed dominant over the Mercedes cars and were looking for a 1-2 until the Pirelli tyres blew up and threw Max into the wall. A golden opportunity for Lewis to score at least a 2nd place, but clicking a brake setting by accident caused him to completely miss turn 1 at the restart making sure neither drivers scored any points. Most discussed moment of the season might be at Silverstone where both drivers had contact, but only one had to retire. Although Lewis’ car had damage the red flag made sure he could continue and after serving his 10 second penalty for the incident he was able to win the race after an amazing comeback race. In the last race before the summer break Lewis’ teammate went bowling at the start and took several drivers out. Max wasn’t fully out of the race, but his car had so much damage that he was unable to get the maximum out of it. While Lewis avoided all carnage he made a huge tactical mistake by not coming in for dry tyres at the race restart. Despite that he once again had a brilliant last to first challenge which he nearly completed. He ended up in third, but got second place handed to him by Vettel’s disqualification.
Now let’s have a look at the other candidate. Where did he drop points? We already mentioned the famous track limits at Bahrain, got 2nd behind Lewis in Portugal and Spain, won in France, so the first time he really dropped points was due to the Pirelli tyres exploding at AzerBaijan. After that he won in France and both races in Austria. At Silverstone was another bad luck race for him where both drivers had contact on lap 1 and he was the only one to have to retire. The next race in Hungary, well story has been told already, it was thanks to Lewis’ teammate he only managed to score 2 points at the Hungaroring.
So to summarize it all, Max had basically three races where scored (next to) nothing due to unfortunate incidents, not caused by himself, while Lewis made multiple mistakes, but somehow each time he was in a bad position something happened that made sure he had the opportunity to recover and capitalized on that. To mention the red flags at Imola and Silverstone, the tyre incident at Azerbaijan, Bottas’ bowling incident to name a few things.
You may think looking back at it all that Max’ bad luck can impossibly keep going on, or the other way around, Lewis can never be this lucky all season. Well I’m just going to put out here and you may disagree, but this is what is called, the luck of a champion. Lewis has it this season and although I would love to see Max winning his first title, I’m convinced that if you’re having the luck has had so far, he will win his 8th title this year. And next year? Well that’s another story and it will create an even bigger rivalry that all F1 fans will love to see.
If you disagree, or do agree, let me know in the comments below