How Lewis Hamilton is in title contention when Max Verstappen has nearly double race wins

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children

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The 2021 Formula 1 season has been one of the greatest campaign’s in the sport’s modern history thanks to the titanic world championship battle between Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. The two title rivals have duelled in a pulsating battle that has spanned a mesmerising 18 races.

The Dutchman, who leads the championship battle by 19 points after taking the chequered flag in Mexico last Sunday, has won half of the races driven this season, standing atop the podium on nine occasions.

Hamilton has won five races, but find himself still in title contention as we enter the final four Grands Prix of the season. How does that work?

The points scoring system within F1 has altered immensely over the history of the sport, with points awarded to drivers and teams based on where they finish in a race.

Under the current system, the winner receives 25 points while the runner-up gets 18 points – a seven-point swing.

The third-place finisher gets 15 points as a reward for rounding out the podium, while there are 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 points for fourth to 10th position. 

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Essentially, a top 10 finish scores points, with an additional point available for the driver and team with the fastest lap of the entire race provided they finish in the top 10. 

Despite winning almost twice as many races as his championship rival, Verstappen has suffered a number of frustrations that have cost points and kept Hamilton in the title race.

In Azerbaijan, the 24-year-old was cruising to a win around the streets of Baku when his tyre inexplicably burst, sending him crashing into the wall. Hamilton could not take advantage and suffered a brake malfunction – sending him off the track at the restart – but Verstappen still failed to tighten his grip.

Arguably the biggest moment of the season occurred at Silverstone. The two were engaged in an epic battle for the lead on the first lap only for Hamilton to clip Verstappen’s rear, causing his Red Bull to hurtle off the track and into the wall with the seven-time world champion going on to win in front of a jubilant home crowd.

After the summer break, Verstappen secured pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix – only for the race to be aborted due to heavy rain, inadvertently securing Williams superstar George Russell a maiden podium.

While the Dutchman technically won the ‘race’, F1 rules state that if a race has to be abandoned before 75% of the planned distance has been completed, all points are halved, minimising his advantage. 

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Hamilton won three of the first four races of the season only to struggle to compete as Red Bull have pressed home their advantage over time, while Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez has excelled recently in his supporting role. 

Verstappen finished runner-up for each of the three Hamilton wins, while the Brit finished second behind the 24-year-old for his first win in the second race, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

A Mercedes strategical error meant Hamilton finished seventh in Monaco – a race won by Verstappen – before they both failed to score in Baku. Verstappen scored maximum points, including the fastest lap, in France while Hamilton once again took second.

The Dutchman dominated at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, taking the win on consecutive weekends with the Brit finishing second and fourth. After the British Grand Prix, Hamilton finished behind Esteban Ocon in Hungary while Verstappen took ninth place after some issues. 

Following the summer break and the trip to Spa, Verstappen won his home race at Zandvoort ahead of Hamilton, and the two collided at Monza. Hamilton won his first race in 11 meetings as he beat Verstappen in Sochi, before he finished fifth – with the Dutchman taking the win – in Istanbul. 

Verstappen has got the better of Hamilton in the last two races, with both men finishing first and second in the United States and Mexico. 

Hamilton is set to start the sprint race on pole, but he has taken a five-place grid penalty for the race on Sunday while Verstappen is set to start P2.

Formula 1 returns to the Interlagos in Sao Paulo for the Brazilian Grand Prix on November 14, with Red Bull star Verstappen holding a 19-point lead over Mercedes’ Hamilton.


Bahrain Grand Prix

Verstappen: 18 (2nd)

Hamilton: 25 (1st)

Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 19 (2nd)

Portuguese Grand Prix

Verstappen: 18 (2nd)

Hamilton: 25 (1st)

Spanish Grand Prix

Verstappen: 19 (2nd)

Hamilton: 25 (1st)

Monaco Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 7 (7th)

Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Verstappen: 0 (DNF)

Hamilton: 0 (15th)

French Grand Prix

Verstappen: 26 (1st)

Hamilton: 18 (2nd)

Steiermark Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 19 (2nd)

Austrian Grand Prix

Verstappen: 26 (1st)

Hamilton: 12 (4th)

British Grand Prix

Verstappen: 3 (DNF)

Hamilton: 27 (1st)

Hungarian Grand Prix

Verstappen: 2 (9th)

Hamilton: 18 (2nd)

Belgian Grand Prix

Verstappen: 12.5 (1st)

Hamilton: 7.5 (3rd)

Dutch Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 19 (2nd)

Italian Grand Prix

Verstappen: 0 (DNF)

Hamilton: 0 (DNF)

Russian Grand Prix

Verstappen: 18 (2nd)

Hamilton: 25 (1st)

Turkish Grand Prix

Verstappen: 18 (2nd)

Hamilton: 10 (5th)

United States Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 19 (2nd)

Mexican Grand Prix

Verstappen: 25 (1st)

Hamilton: 18 (2nd)


Verstappen: 312.5 (1st)

Hamilton 293.5 (2nd)

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