F1 2021: Decoding the two-way race between Hamilton and Verstappen
The Formula 1 2021 season has seen three races go by with seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton leading the standings. Hamilton won the Bahrain and Portuguese Grand Prix respectively. Meanwhile, Red Bull's Max Verstappen, who won Emilia Romagna GP, occupies the second place. There is nothing much to separate the two drivers. Here we decode the two-way race this season.
Hamilton leads Verstappen by eight points
After three races, Mercedes ace Hamilton leads Verstappen by eight points. Hamilton has claimed 69 points, collecting 25 each in the two races won, besides getting another 19 after finishing second at Emilia Romagna GP. On the other hand, Verstappen has collected 61 points. He earned 25 points by winning the second race and 19 each for finishing second in the two other races.
It has been an intense rivalry between the two drivers
In Bahrain, Verstappen passed Hamilton for the lead with just four laps left before having to give it back for exceeding track limits. At Imola, Verstappen passed Hamilton on a wet track to seal victory. In Portugal, Hamilton dropped to third after Verstappen overtook him at a re-start after an early safety car. But he re-passed Verstappen four laps later before controlling the race.
Mercedes lead the standings with able support from Bottas
Both Hamilton and Verstappen have claimed podium finishes in all three races this season. However, for Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas has clinched two podiums to help his team lead the Constructors (101 points). Meanwhile, Red Bull have been too dependent on Verstappen's brilliance. Sergio Perez, who has 22 points, hasn't managed a single podium finish and lies sixth. Bottas has 10 points more than Perez.
Can Verstappen stop Hamilton this season?
With two wins this season, Hamilton has raced to 97 career Grand Prix victories. He looks well positioned to secure a world record eighth world title this year and move ahead of Michael Schumacher (7). Meanwhile, Verstappen will be looking to stop Hamilton. The win at Imola was his 11th race victory as he eyes a maiden world title.