The 2021 season of Formula 1, which has been epic and will end up being memorable for the duel between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, has three races left, only and if a prodigious reaction from Red Bull does not appear, the Englishman from Mercedes will outlines a historic comeback to win the Drivers’ Championship.
This is not a rapturous or fanatic-motivated prediction. It is the perception that something important has the Mercedes W12 and in particular Hamilton that makes it look invincible on the tracks that remain on the F1 calendar.
In Brazil, Hamilton applied, like never before, the “Hammertime”, climbing not only five places for penalizing when changing engines, but 20 more when he was disqualified for a failure in the measure of his DRS.
Hamilton was a driver of another category, and we are not only referring to the class and mastery with which he drove to victory at Interlagos, but to the fact that he was literally his own “league”. No one was even close in pace and speed.
“Hamilton was on another planet”, was the comment of Sergio Pérez, a Red Bull driver, once the Brazilian Grand Prix was over, and that Checo was the only driver who could pass Hamilton on Sunday, November 14 in the track, by returning a pass on lap 18.
The Mexican, fourth in the classification of the GP of San Pablo, was clear about the level shown by the seven-time champion at Interlagos.
Verstappen used all the tricks, clean and clear, to try to contain the seven-time world champion, but they were of no use given the great top speed at the end of the straight that the English car had.
Indeed, the new Mercedes engine that Hamilton had in Brazil was a lot of medicine for the rest, but the handling was also sublime. The point is that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi look like circuits on paper for a car that takes advantage, mainly on the straights.
First in Losail on November 21, a Qatari circuit that makes its debut in Formula 1, has a straight of more than a kilometer and then sectors of corners of medium and low speed, where in theory, the Red Bull RB16B should be faster , but we must remember that in Brazil, Hamilton was the best in all sectors, because in addition to speed he had a perfect balance in terms of grip.
Jeddah on December 5, in the controversial Saudi Arabia that bought (as they can buy anything) an F1 Grand Prix, the straight is over a kilometer and a quarter with top speeds being calculated at around 252 kilometers per hour That is more worries for Christian Horner, Helmut Marko and the rest of the people in the Red Bull Racing pits.
Finally, on December 12 a different configuration on a track known as Abu Dhabi, will be the bolt of the season, but where also between turns 5 and 6 a full speed zone is displayed in excess of 1,200 meters that will make that Checo Pérez and company entrust themselves to the Virgin of Guadalupe, who that day is celebrated in Mexico, a fervently Catholic country and who entrusts the most complicated causes to her Patron.
To win the drivers’ title, Verstappen needs not to lose the 14-point lead he has over Hamilton at the moment. Something like winning a race and finishing third in the other two (25 + 30, 55 points), while Lewis wins two and is second in the remaining (50 + 18, 68 points), not counting the fastest laps that would distribute three extra units. Or also become unattainable with three second places and a fastest lap (56 + 1, 57).
A tie in points, which can be given by many combinations, would benefit the Dutchman, who by number of victories (now 9 times 6 for Hamilton) would be champion.
Everything changes if Hamilton wins the three remaining Grand Prix. It would become unattainable no matter where Verstappen ends up.
Prophesying results in the 2021 Formula 1 season has been a terrible business: the tracks where Mercedes is supposed to win have not infrequently fallen into the hands of Red Bull and vice versa.
The estimate of the three remaining on the calendar may change, even when the mood, mechanical and motor moment seems to be on the side of Hamilton and Mercedes.
In the offices of Milton Keynes, England, where the Red Bull bosses dispatch, the alert has sounded. Horner is ironic about the potency of the German power unit and Marko definitely does not see how to beat Lewis with the tool that he debuted in Sao Paulo.
Is there something weird about the Mercedes engine? Do they also have any suspension upgrades that give them unreal balance when cornering? It is not known and as long as it is not proven, they are only unsupported speculations to try to explain the power of a factory that does not resign itself to letting go of the eighth consecutive Constructors’ title and also the eighth of Drivers, before the Formula regulations change. 1 in 2022 and are now totally different cars.
How do you get such decisive updates at the end of a season that also has a spending limit? That’s up to Mercedes to say and believe me I’m sure they have a legal way of doing it.
What is not skimping a gram is the talent of Hamilton who is, still, the asset, the piece that makes the difference. Nor could it be ruled out that the prodigious Verstappen did what was necessary to end the English dictatorship in F1.