Hamilton or Verstappen: who deserves to win this year’s championship title?

As the final race of the 2021 F1 season is almost upon us, there is one big question on everyone’s mind – who will win this year’s title and be crowned champion? 

This year, we have seen Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battling it out in order to be this season’s champion driver. 

Keeping close in points all season, both drivers have provided hours of competitive and entertaining racing for us to enjoy. 

Although, as we edge that much closer to the end of this year’s racing, many disagree about who deserves to come out on top.

Following the penultimate Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia last weekend, Verstappen and Hamilton are now level with 396.5 points each, adding increasing tension on the deciding race in Abu Dhabi. 

While both racers are heading into the final Grand Prix with nothing between them, their performances have not fully matched each others throughout the season. 

So, addressing this question on everyone’s mind, is there a driver who deserves the title more this year?

Many will argue that Max Verstappen has performed better than Hamilton this season. 

With nine wins, 17 podiums, five fastest laps and 651 laps led, his performance has been nothing shy of that of a world champion.

In comparison to Hamilton’s eight wins, 16 podiums, six fastest laps and 246 laps led, others would argue they are both equally deserving of this year’s title. 

On the other hand, Verstappen’s performance in comparison to the number of laps he has raced this year, could argue his racing has been more consistent than Hamilton’s.

Of the 1153 laps Verstappen has raced this year, 52.4% of those were spent in pole position. 

Whereas, Hamilton has only spent 19.85% of his 1211 lap racing time on pole. 

It is important to realise though that it is not primarily important where you place throughout the race, but where you place at the end of it – after all that is where the big points lie.

In this case, considering that there is only one race win between Hamilton and Verstappen, have their performances actually been more equal than we think? 

Taking away the few points gained from their fastest laps, Hamilton has averaged 20.55 points per race, just shy of Verstappen’s 20.6. 


Both drivers have also had to retire their cars at some point throughout the season. 

Verstappen unfortunately had to retire his car three times in the year, whereas Hamilton only once, where valuable points would have been lost for both.

However, considering this, with Verstappen having lost points in three Grand Prix’s, his performance in other races in order to keep on par to Hamilton, can easily be considered worthy of a championship title. 

With Hamilton being the youngest ever world champion, with 7 world titles, 9 years with Mercedes, a record 103 grand prix wins and 181 podium finishes, he is arguably the best Formula1 driver the sport has ever seen.

His fans are hoping he can win his 8th championship title and beat Michael Schumacher’s record that he is currently level with. 

With all of Hamilton’s legendary history in racing, there are many fans rooting for his victory – at least this one last time. 

Besides from the driver’s performances, there are also extenuating factors that have effects on the driver’s position on the leadership board.

These factors mainly being the performances of their teams and the strategies that they choose to take.

Red Bull have managed to achieve 11 of the fastest pit stops throughout the whole season, with their fastest stop being 18.56 seconds in the Netherlands. 

Whereas Mercedes did not achieve one this year. 

Seconds are vital in every race of the Formula1 championship, so the milliseconds between pit stop times will affect where the drivers are positioned throughout the race.

In answering this question for who deserves this title, statistically there is very little between the two leaders. 

Was Hamilton’s lack of laps led a sign of inconsistency or of efficiency considering his current tying position with verstappen? 

Had their teams stopping strategies and pit stop times been different, would the outcome currently be the same?

Does their performance throughout the season matter considering they are tying as they head into the final Grand Prix?

And most importantly, who does actually deserve this title?

These are questions that even through statistics we will never be able to definitively answer this year. 

However, it is safe to say that these numbers do prove that both Verstappen and Hamilton are worthy of this battle, and will give us a final race to remember. 

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