Following a thrilling finish to the United States Grand Prix, in which Max Verstappen extended his Formula 1 championship lead over British rival Lewis Hamilton to 12 points, the next five races will define whether the Red Bull can put an end to Mercedes’ seven-year dominance of the sport.
Next, the pair head south to Mexico before races in Brazil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia are new to the calendar, and how Hamilton and Verstappen adapt to the two circuits could be key to each of their title chances. After all, with both tracks being unknown quantities, it could come down to these.
However, for the three other races, the duo have a history of results that could be helpful in seeing who has the advantage, and where.
Mexico’s Hermanos Rodriquez circuit is famed for its stadium-style seating and it’s passionate fanbase. In the past, Hamilton and Verstappen have raced here five times – each receiving two first place finishes, a fourth and a ninth. In their fifth race, respectively, Hamilton finished second and Verstappen got a sixth placed finish.
Across the last half decade, the duo have been fairly evenly matched in Mexico City. Hamilton has averaged a position of 3.4 from his five appearances while Verstappen’s average is 4.2.
Sao Paulo’s Interlagos has been home to the Brazilian Grand Prix in its current set-up since 1990. In Verstappen’s five races here, he’s occupied all three steps of the podium as well as finishing fifth and ninth. The Dutchman averages fourth place here.
In contrast, Hamilton’s 13 races have seen him reach the podium six times and retired twice. His average at Interlagos is 6.3 with the non-finishes factored in.
At the season-ending race, in Abu Dhabi, titles are either won or paraded; this is no time for losers. Verstappen’s five races here have seen two podium finishes, including a win in 2020, three sixth placed finishes and a 16th. The 24-year-old averages 6.2 in the United Arab Emirates.
Hamilton, on the other hand, has finished 10 of his 12 races at the Yas Marina Circuit on the podium, retiring and finishing seventh in the other two years. The Mercedes driver averages a finish of 3.5 here.
This is one of the closest inter-team championship battles fans have seen in many seasons of Formula 1, and the past seven months of racing comes down to just five more weekends.