Max Verstappen vs. Lewis Hamilton and the most exciting endings in history

After 21 races and competing wheel by wheel in each one, the Dutch Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and the British Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) will define the 2021 champion in Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi, a date to which they arrive tied, So whoever is ahead of the other will be the monarch, for the first time for the Netherlands or the eighth for the English, although this drama until the end in a campaign has antecedents in the highest category and we review them.


The first F1 drivers’ championship was decided on the last date of the season. Leaving France, Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio (Alfa Romeo) had a four-point lead over Italian Giuseppe Farina (Alfa Romeo); however, the local won at Monza to take the title by three points.


El Chueco de Balcarce had his revenge the following year, when he beat another Italian, Alberto Ascari (Ferrari). The South American left the transalpine country two points up in the table and in order not to repeat the disappointment, he prevailed in Spain to become monarch, with six units more than his rival.


The 1958 campaign had an exciting definition because when leaving the penultimate date in Italy, the Englishman Mike Hawthorn had eight points to his compatriot Stirling Moss (Vanwall), who won in Morocco, although the second place of the Ferrari was enough for be crowned, for just one unit.


Another duel between the British took place at the end of 1964, when after the United States Grand Prix, Graham Hill (BRM) had five more units than John Surtees (Ferrari); However, in Mexico, the leader was two laps behind the winner, while the Scuderia was second to obtain six points and snatch the championship.


Three years later, the fight was between New Zealander Denny Hulme (Brabham), who was five ahead of Australian Jack Brabham (Brabham) when leaving New York; Although the second finished ahead of his rival at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, he did not achieve the necessary difference to steal the trophy.


As in 2021, the Brazilian legend Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren) and the Swiss Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) were tied (52 each) at the close of 1974, but the South American finished fourth in the United States and the European in 11th, by what those three points were the difference in the table, in a quote in which the Austrian Helmuth Koinigg passed away.


The 1976 season, immortalized in the film Rush, had the Austrian Niki Lauda as the leader when leaving the United States, with three points of difference over the English James Hunt; However, in Japan, faced with adverse conditions due to the rain, the Ferrari team decided to leave and the third place for the Briton was enough to be crowned for the first and only time in the Great Circus.


The South American classic lived its peak in F1 in 1981, when the Argentine Carlos Reutemann (Williams) had one point more than the Brazilian Nelson Piquet (Brabham) when reaching the last date. In Las Vegas, the one from Rio de Janeiro was fifth and added two units, while his rival was eighth and remained at zero and without a championship.


The Brazilian driver became an expert in dramatic finishes and in 1983, despite reaching the finish two points behind Frenchman Alain Prost, he took advantage of the fact that the Renault driver suffered a failure in his car to take away the scepter, finishing third in South Africa. and get four units that were final.


Two legends of the serial, Lauda and Prost, reached the closing separated by just 3.5 points, in favor of the Austrian. The Frenchman’s victory in Portugal gave him nine units, but Niki was second in that Grand Prix and reaped six to beat his McLaren teammate in the table by just .5 away.

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The French driver had the luck in his favor in 1986, when he reached the closure in Australia six points behind the leader, the British Nigel Mansell (Williams), but the Englishman suffered a problem in a tire in Adelaide and was out, so that Prost’s victory in the race also meant his two-time championship in the top flight.


The first title of the German Michael Schumacher (Benetton) was not without controversy, since at the end of the campaign there was one unit above the English Damon Hill (Williams) and in Australia both contenders staged a clash that left them out of competition and caused the German to be the monarch, although some voices pointed out that the accident was intentional.


Three years later, Schumi, already at Ferrari, was once again in the eye of the hurricane, as he reached the end of 1997 with a point advantage, this time over Canadian Jacques Villeneuve (Williams). In Jerez, the two contenders collided, although the American was able to stay on the track and finish third, to take four units that gave him the crown, while the German left and was later disqualified from the season for that action.


Heading for the 1999 finish, Northern Irishman Eddie Irvine (Ferrari) was four ahead of Finn Mika Häkkinen (McLaren); however, the second won in Japan to take 10 units, while the one with the red car occupied the last position of the podium to add four and remain without a championship.


In one of the most exciting finals in memory, arriving in Brazil in 2007, Britain’s Lewis Hamilton was four points ahead of his McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso of Spain and seven points over Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen of Finland, but in Sao Paulo. the Scuderia won to add 10 units, while the Asturian was third (6) and the English was seventh (2) so the throne was occupied by Iceman.


Hamilton got his revenge a year later, when he reached the finish with seven points away from Brazilian Felipe Massa (Ferrari) and although the South American won at home, fifth place and his four units were enough for the Englishman to get his first title in F1, for the slightest difference.


The most recent precedent of an even season was 11 years ago, when Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) reached the closing with eight points of advantage over the Australian Mark Webber and 15 over the German Sebastian Vettel, both of Red Bull; however, in Abu Dhabi the German prevailed (25), the Spanish was seventh (6) and the Australian, eighth (4), so the champion was the one who finished third.


After winning in Mexico, Verstappen had a 19-point lead over Hamilton; However, the British won in a row in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to tie the record of the Netherlands at 369.5 and cause an emotional closure in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, December 12, because whoever finishes ahead of the other will be crowned in the serial.

After 47 years, the definition of an F1 campaign is once again in the hands of two drivers tied for the lead of the table, a pair of drivers who in the last five races have finished first or second, now whoever sees the flag at paintings in Yas Marina ahead of his rival will have been imposed in 2021 to remember.


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