Formula One has never been more popular. A titan battle for the world championship, a Netflix show and cracking racing. What is there not to love?! This year the title battle is between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. With just two races to go Verstappen is leading, but Hamilton won’t give up until the chequered flag is out and the season will be fully over.
Why is Formula One so popular?
It is all about the glitter and glamour. F1 and the rich and famous go hand in hand and the championship these days is so much more than just cars driving around on racetracks. But what makes it so popular? Formula One is fast, spectacular and the dream of every motorsport driver to compete in. As the name says it is the number one sport in the world.
A legacy that speaks millions
Formula 1 has since the start in 1950 attracted the rich and famous. The championship featured some of the best drivers the world has ever seen including names like Niki Lauda, James Hunt, Ayrton Senna, Alan Prost and Michael Schumacher.
It’s however not only the drivers, but also teams that have a legendary name. Everyone knows Ferrari, Williams and McLaren from their long lasting heritage in the sport. There is no other motorsport class that has such a rich history with titans in drivers and teams. The amount of epic battles this championship has seen in those 71 year is endless. Battles for the championship with for example Senna and Prost at Suzuka in both 1989 and 1990, Schumachers staggering 7 world titles, Hamilton’s road to the title victory in Brazil 2008 and beating Felipe Massa by just one point and Jenson Button’s incredible 2009 title after starting the season as underdog.
And then we didn’t even mention crazy races like Spa, Belgium in 1998 when half the field crashed in wet conditions. We can just go on and mention every single defining moment of F1’s history, but that would take forever. Luckily there are loads of documentaries and movies that capture rivalries, victory and tragedy from all the different years that are worth a watch. Then there is the Netflix show Drive to Survive which is hugely popular and boosted the interest in the sport in the last 2 years.
Technical brilliance, the rawest talented drivers and high speed tracks
It is not a cheap sport. F1 is a multi million sport and the teams pomp a lot of money in to get the best car in the world. Engineering in the highest form it is called. Combine that with the most talented drivers in the world and you got a very strong package.
Now let’s say you put this piece of technical brilliance that has the best driver in the world in it on the world’s fastest, legendary and toughest tracks and you will be treated to the most spectacular racing you will ever see. Though rivalries, amazing and hard racing and true characters, like for example Daniel Ricciardo, Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen, within the sport make it one of the most popular sports in the world!
Hamilton vs Verstappen
The fight for the 2021 F1 World title has not been this exciting for a long time. Two drivers are still in contention for the title with Verstappen currently leading the way in front of Hamilton. Let’s have a small introduction to both drivers.
F1 superstar Lewis Hamilton has won a whopping seven world championships since joining the F1 grid in 2007. Symbolised on his helmets are the words “Still I Rise” and since 2007 the rising star has been able to fight for the championship on nearly every occasion.
Hamilton doesn’t only fight hard on track, but also off track for causes that matters. Standing up for human rights issues, BLM and climate change. Where the last few seasons it had been a bit easier to fight for the championship, Hamilton has to drive harder than ever before to get that eighth world title in the pocket. The eight title would mean he surpassed the record he currently holds together with Michael Schumacher of seven titles.
Will the Briton be able to fight off the young and eager Dutchman and bring the title back home to Great Britain? There are still enough points on the table to do it.
Young gun Max Verstappen is driving his best ever season and challenging the seven-time champion for one of the best title battles in F1 history. Verstappen became the youngest driver to enter the sport and has rewritten the sport’s record books ever since, by becoming the youngest point scorer and youngest race winner.
The driving style of Verstappen is famous for being aggressive, old school and very fast. It does not always boot well with his competitors who describe it as too aggressive, but the fans surely love it. Verstappen was what the sport needed, bringing action back to the racing and in the process bringing an orange army to grandstands around the world.
This year has been the Dutchman’s first attempt at fighting for the F1 title in his Red Bull Racing car. He won 9 out of the 22 races so far and has been leading more laps this season than any of the other drivers. Will Verstappen be able to win the championship? He is currently leading, but with 3 races to go it can swing both ways.
2021 F1 World Championship
The 2021 F1 World Championship might go in the history books as one of the most thrilling finales the sport has ever seen. Let us dive into some of the key moments of the 2021 Verstappen vs Hamilton battle, as it seems that the title battle has become more intense every single week.
Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix – Imola – Italy
On a wet Imola it was the first taste of the Hamilton vs Verstappen rivalry we would see develop during the season. Verstappen started two places behind Hamilton, but a clean battle saw the Dutchman overtake Hamilton in a late braking move that pushed the Briton wide.
Hamilton went over the sausage kerb to avoid a collision with Verstappen who by then was on his way to victory. Although the media blew up the incident, the drivers kept their cool and saw it as a good show.
Spanish Grand Prix – Barcelona- Spain
Hamilton started from pole position with Verstappen in second. As the lights went out both drivers had a good start up the run to turn 1. However, Verstappen was able to surprise Hamilton by taking a different line and overtaking the Briton and forcing him wide.
Verstappen went on to lead the race; however, Hamilton was not quite done yet. He switched his strategy and took the undercut on Verstappen enabling him to win the race.
Slower pit stops
F1 and pit stops go hand in hand. These days a pit stop is a bit simplified compared to the past, as refuelling does not happen anymore. Therefore, when a pit stop happens the driver comes in and has his tires changed to continue the race. Red Bull Racing (Verstappen’s team) was extremely quick at this, beating every team with incredible times to change 4 tires.
The record stands at 1.82 seconds that was set during the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Unfortunately, sometimes a pit stop goes wrong: a tire is not properly fitted or the car hits one of the crew. Mercedes AMG F1 saw it as an opportunity to push for a new rule that would see the pit stops slow down. After examining the options the FIA went with it and a new system was introduced which would slow down a pit stop by four tenths of a second.
Mercedes AMG F1 admitted they pushed the rule, but not to make the advantage of Red Bull Racing smaller, but to make it safer. Red Bull Racing disagrees on it and thinks the motives were slowing the team down.
British Grand Prix – Silverstone – Great Britain
The race that kicked the rivalry up another notch. In the previous three races Verstappen took the lead in the standings by winning three GP’s in a row. The British GP was however going to be the home race of Hamilton giving him a lot more energy and determination to perform well.
From the start, Hamilton and Verstappen got in a wheel-to-wheel battle trying to overtake each other on several occasions. Some will call it frustration from Hamilton’s part and others will blame Verstappen, but what happened next was a mega crash.
Hamilton clipped Verstappen’s rear right wheel and sent Verstappen into the barriers. It was a mega crash that saw Verstappen endure 51G. Luckily, F1 has been working hard on safety and the Dutchman could walk away from this crash. Some check ups followed in hospital and by the time the race was over it was unknown if there was any injury to the driver.
An investigation in the crash followed and gave Hamilton a 10 seconds penalty. Nothing was able to stop the Briton from getting his victory and celebrating in front of his home crowd. Something many people found very disrespectful as Verstappen’s condition still was not fully confirmed. Racial slurs on the several social media’s against Lewis Hamilton, however, were not out of order and both teams addressed these issues on their accounts.
Heineken Gran Premio D’Italia – Monza – Italy
At this point in the season Verstappen has lost and won back the number one spot in the drivers championship. Hamilton was on the hunt to get back and decrease the lead from Verstappen.
Verstappen was able to win Saturday’s sprint race with Hamilton finishing in fourth. However sparks would fly during Sunday’s race. A slow pit stop would put the title contenders next to each other.
Hamilton came out of the pit lane as Verstappen made his way on the long and very fast main straight. They came alongside each other with Verstappen just being ahead of Hamilton into the first corner. The Dutchman was on the outside meaning in the second corner he had the inside line, but Hamilton wasn’t done yet. Neither of the two drivers backed out with the result that Verstappen was pushed onto the sausage kerb. The Red Bull Honda collided with the tyres of the Mercedes AMG F1 and was flung on top of the Britons car.
Both cars ended up in the gravel and we are very happy that Hamilton was completely fine after that crash as the tire of Verstappen hit his head. The halo once again proved its point why it is a safety asset.
Verstappen got a lot of slack as he didn’t bother to look if Hamilton was fine, when he walked past both cars. However when Verstappen was still in his car Hamilton tried to back up his car leaving Verstappen in a very dangerous position. At the end of the day every fan will have his own opinion on the matter. Not surprisingly both drivers had to retire from the race leaving the door open for Daniel Ricciardo to win his first race for McLaren. The stewards felt Verstappen was at fault so he received a 3 place penalty.
Aramco United States Grand Prix – Austin – United States
Before the race even started, tension rose till boiling point between the two title candidates in Free Practice two. Verstappen was struggling in his Red Bull Honda and was almost a second slower in FP1, before making that up in FP2.
However traffic made it tough for the Dutchman to improve his time in his first run. In his second run he came alongside Lewis Hamilton on the start/finish straight. The two title rivals came side by side into the first corner with Hamilton overtaking Verstappen.
This didn’t came across well with Verstappen calling Hamilton a “stupid idiot” on his team radio, before sticking his middle finger out of the car. In the end Verstappen beat Hamilton by taking victory later in the weekend, but once again the two title rivals clashed together feeding the media and the fans with stories to remember.
Heineken Grande Prêmio de São Paulo – São Paulo – Brazil
Brazil will be known as the race that “woke up” the fighter in Lewis Hamilton. The race weekend contained a sprint race meaning the drivers had their qualifying session on Friday. Hamilton was the fastest by a margin, which raised the issue of a faulty rear wing on the Britons car.
Verstappen didn’t trust it either and touched the rear wing of Hamilton to see what was going on as it opened up more with the DRS than allowed. The Dutchman got a 50.000 dollar fine for this as it isn’t allowed to touch your competitors car. For Hamilton things got from amazing to very depressing as he was being disqualified for having an illegal rear wing.
It meant that Hamilton had to come from the last position in the sprint race. An excellent drive saw him end up on P5 with teammate Valtteri Bottas winning the sprint. Verstappen finished in P2. However as Hamilton changed a part in his engine he received a 5 place penalty for Sunday’s race.
Verstappen was able to overtake Bottas for the lead and Hamilton was closing up on his title rival. With just 12 laps to go Hamilton was behind Verstappen and ready to take the lead. Verstappen was protecting his lead and in an attempt by Hamilton, the Dutchman forced them both off the track. The incident was noted, but didn’t need an investigation.
Hamilton took the victory with Verstappen in second. Even though Hamilton’s team protested the decision, Verstappen kept his second place.
Fight of the team bosses
Not only on track, the sparks are flying. Throughout the season the team boss of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, Toto Wolff and Red Bull Honda Racing, Christian Horner, have been arguing about anything and everything.
Although you can say in the beginning it was entertaining, the later we got into the season it shifted. In my opinion it is a bit pathetic. Two adults that complain and whine about everything, meanwhile the two drivers are using their energy to fight on track and still show each other respect. Even when they don’t agree with each other.
It is understandable why teams are being so busy with accusing each other of mistakes. At the end of the day this sport is filled with money and a championship means a lot of money. Even the money aspect aside, the honour that comes with winning a title is immense. Rarely will people remember the number two of the championship.
The most important thing is to have respect. Drivers wear We Race as One t-shirts. Even in a highly competitive sport there shouldn’t be a reason to verbally attack each other or nitpick on the car when the racing is so amazing as this season. It has by far been the most exciting season we have had in a long time. So whatever the result will be, let’s remember it for the amazing racing we have seen.
Ooredoo Qatar Grand Prix – Doha – Qatar
During the whole weekend it was Lewis Hamilton who could be found on top of the timing sheets. In qualifying no one could come close and the Brit managed to secure a well deserved pole position, being almost half a second faster than Max Verstappen.
Of course it wouldn’t be a F1 weekend if there was no controversy. During the closing stages of Q3 Pierre Gasly had to stop his car on the main straight and the yellow flags were out. As it was the last lap for all drivers, some failed to slow down to try to improve their time and so Bottas, Sainz and Verstappen were summoned to the stewards. Both Bottas and Sainz ignored one yellow flag and got a 3 place grid penalty with Verstappen ignoring double yellow receiving a 5 place grid penalty.
It wouldn’t stop Verstappen however as he made his way within just a few laps to p2. Hamilton started p1 and was leading for the whole race being practically untouched by Verstappen who could only follow by about a 8 second gap. Hamilton bagged 25 points, but couldn’t secure the fastest lap as Verstappen went into the box in the penultimate lap to set the fastest lap of the race and getting that extra point.
Who will win?
There are still 2 races to go and a total of 52 points up for grabs. Max Verstappen has the point advantage, but we already know Lewis Hamilton will have his faster engine available for the upcoming rounds. Whoever it will be, the 2021 F1 World Championship will go into the history books as the year the championship was as exciting as it has ever been!