Seen as one of the greatest rivalries in F1, the Max Verstappen face-off against Lewis Hamilton will once again come into play at this year’s Qatar Grand Prix.
The second F1 Qatar Grand Prix is due to kick off on Friday following a one-year gap due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. However, the driver standings this year are expected to look a little different with Max Verstappen on the verge of becoming a three-time world champion.
The Red Bull driver must finish sixth or higher to secure the title this Saturday in Qatar’s Sprint Race, which is set to divide Formula 1 fans.
If accomplished, the milestone will add to the rivalry between Verstappen and famed superstar Lewis Hamilton, who have battled it out on the track for the last few competitions.
Hamilton has won a total-record seven World Drivers’ Championship titles, tying with legend Michael Schumacher, and holds the records for the most wins in pole positions and podium finishes.
2021 Qatar Grand Prix
The 2021 season was the longest in F1 history as the title battle continued across 22 races, from the Bahrain Grand Prix to the Abu Dhabi track.
At the time, Verstappen emerged as a contender against Hamilton as the pair frequently exchanged the championship lead. Both drivers finished in the top two positions 14 times, with the points lead changing hands five times.
After claiming a dominant victory from the pole at the inaugural Qatar Formula One Grand Prix, team Mercedes pushed closer to reclaiming control of the Formula One championship race that was led by Verstappen.
Before the final race, Verstappen qualified second for Red Bull, while Valtteri Bottas, a previous teammate of Hamilton’s at Mercedes, finished third.
However, the competition become a lot more dramatic soon after. Following Saturday’s qualifier, Verstappen was awarded a five-grid place penalty for not slowing down for double-waved yellow flags.
Hours before the race, it was seen that Verstappen had set his fastest time while passing through a yellow flag zone at the end of Q3, which called for an investigation that ultimately became a penalty.
The ruling on the track left him seventh on the track grid, and pushed Hamilton to claiming a dominant victory from pole position at the inaugural Qatar contest.