Hamilton and Verstappen head into final showdown in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, Dec 9 (EFE).- Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are getting ready to lock horns in a winner-takes-all final showdown this weekend at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where fans will also bid farewell to a legend as Kimi Raikkonnen hangs up his racing gloves after 20 years in F1.
Hamilton heads to the Yas Marina circuit fresh from extending his own record with a 103th Grand Prix win in Jeddah and is level on points with Verstappen in the overall rankings.
If he claims victory in Abu Dhabi, the 36-year-old would become the first person in history to win eight world championships — the Mercedes driver is currently on level-pegging with racing legend Michael Schumacher.
Red Bull’s Verstappen is gunning for his first-ever world championship and only has to finish ahead of Hamilton to rain on the Mercedes parade.
If neither finish in the points or both crash out, Verstappen would take the championship as he has one more win than the Brit this year.
“No-one has ever done eight before, I feel grateful, I remember also what it’s like going for your first so I’ve had those experiences and the rollercoaster of emotions that you go through,” Hamilton told a press conference on Thursday.
Asked whether this was the biggest moment of his career, Verstappen said: “In terms of Formula One, yes.”
“After last year, I didn’t have a lot of hope that we would be sitting here at the end of the season fighting for a title but I think from the start we were very competitive, we had some good results and some bad luck as well, but overall we can be really proud of the whole team effort,” he added.
The race in Abu Dhabi will be the culmination of a bitter and fiercely fought rivalry this season that has gifted gave fans several memorable moments, from Verstappen criticizing Hamilton’s celebrations at Silverstone as he received medical treatment, to the pair of them crashing out in dramatic fashion at Monza to the on-the-track tussles in Saudi Arabia last weekend.
Giving his two cents on Thursday ahead of the title-decider, two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, racing this year for Alpine, said the Dutchman “deserved” to win his maiden title in Abu Dhabi.