After an intense pulse on the court during free practice 2, Max has given his rival insults and a comb
The action, unusual in free practice, reflects the tension and rivalry of the two title contenders
Only 6 points separate the leader Max Verstappen from Lewis Hamilton. The tightest World Cup in recent times faces its final stretch, starting this weekend in Austin. There are six grands prix left and after a season marked by shocks and intensity on the track, anything is possible between now and the end of the year, when the longest championship in history (22 races) drops the curtain in Abu Dhabi (10 -12 December).
This Friday, in free practice, there has already been an episode of high tension between the two, who have found wheel after wheel on the track. The thing has ended with a comb and monumental anger from the Dutch. “Idiot, stupid,” the Red Bull driver blurted out on the radio.
Brutal chop between Hamilton and Verstappen in the middle of the straight that ends with a comb and a tremendous mosqueo
– DAZN Spain (@DAZN_ES) October 22, 2021
The tension is enormous. In Silverstone and Monza the pulse of the two ‘roosters’ of the World Cup ended in an accident. And this weekend the United States GP has already delivered a first sting. Verstappen took his foot off the gas at the end of the straight to prepare for his flying lap. Hamilton, who was coming from behind, did not want to wait for Max to accelerate and did not hesitate to put pressure on him, forcing the Dutchman to cut. Max dedicated a ostentatious comb. The final stretch of the season is exciting.
If we take the first 16 tests as a reference, there is no doubt that we are facing one of the best pulses in Formula 1, at the height of those that once starred Senna and Prost, Lauda and Hunt or Alonso and Schumacher. Duels that were resolved ‘in extremis’, fighting with a ‘knife’ for each point, as Verstappen and Hamilton do now. A relief for the fans after a long spell of Mercedes dominance.
Finals to the limit
The last championship that was defined in the last race was in 2016. Nico Rosberg managed to unseat his teammate Hamilton by 5 points. Both took that confrontation beyond the track and the relationship ended very deteriorated. To the point that Rosberg announced his retirement upon receiving his champion trophy at the FIA Gala.
To find the tightest season finale in history, you have to go back to 1984. Niki Lauda beat his partner Alain Prost by 0.5 points. The two McLaren drivers reached the last round three and a half points apart. It was enough for the Austrian to be second in Estoril and he did so, winning his third and last world title. That year in Monaco half the points were awarded for rain.
Five years later, in 1989 F1 attended the Most controversial World Cup of all time. The two best drivers Prost and Senna, partners in McLaren, reached the penultimate race, at Suzuka, being the only ones with options for the title, although with 16 points of advantage for the French. With seven laps to go, his cars were ‘hooked’. Prost had to leave and Senna was able to continue after changing the nose, but he was disqualified and ‘the Professor’ was the champion.
A AWESOME onboard! 🔥
✅ Verstappen passes Hamilton mid-lap
✅ Hamilton saves it and throws himself into the last corner when he sees Verstappen decelerate
✅ Verstappen on the outside
✅ The two wheel to wheel on the straight
✅ None give in
✅ And final comb!# USADAZNF1 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/ceya5uQYxf
– DAZN Spain (@DAZN_ES) October 22, 2021
A season later, with Prost already at Ferrari, history repeated itself in Japan. Senna and Prost collided as soon as they started. But this time the mutual abandonment benefited Senna, who achieved her third title.
In 1976, Niki Lauda y James Hunt they had another close fight and reached the end of the season separated by 3 points. Lauda had to retire in Japan and Hunt ended up crowning himself by a single point.
The first World Cup in history, in 1950, also delivered a high dose of emotion. The Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio in Monza he defended 5 rental points over his colleagues at Alfa Romeo, Giuseppe Farina and Luigi Fagioli. Fangio was the favorite and also got pole, but a breakdown knocked him out and Farina took the title.
Fernando Alonso (13th this Friday after suffering many problems, with Sainz ninth) was the protagonist in two ‘high tension’ finals. The first in 2006, in front of Michael sSchumacher, which finished 13 points in a vibrant denouement. In 2010, with Ferrari, Alonso had to give his arm to twist before Sebastian Vettel. After a last battle in Yas Marina in which sparks flew, the German left Fernando without a prize by 4 points.