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Lewis Hamilton And Max Verstappen – The Story So Far

Lewis Hamilton & Max Verstappen
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Ever since Max Verstappen entered the F1 paddock as a 17-year-old at Suzuka in 2014, he has been pegged to be the prodigal son to challenge Lewis Hamilton’s throne, and their rivalry has reached a boiling point in 2021, with plenty of wheel-to-wheel action and high-speed crashes too. The pair are separated by only 6 points now with six races to go, so here is how one of F1’s great modern rivalries has escalated this season. 

1. Bahrain Grand Prix – Round 1


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The opening race of 2021 was a clear sign of things to come, as the two rivals engaged in an enthralling battle in the Championship curtain-raiser. Verstappen started on pole, but Hamilton fought back and overtook the Dutchman after the first round of pit stops. However, Max charged Lewis down and passed him with three laps to go, only for him to be ordered to give the place back after exceeding track limits while doing the overtake. Advantage Lewis…

2. Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Round 6


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The Championship battle took another fascinating twist at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku as both Lewis and Max faced problems during the 51-lap race. After the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc took pole, the race was all set to finish with a Red Bull 1-2 with Hamilton in third but chaos ensued on lap 46 as Verstappen suffered a tyre failure on the main straight – causing him to crash into the barriers and bring out a red flag. 

This was a perfect opportunity for Hamilton to take a lead in the championship, but on the restart, Lewis selected the wrong brake mode and was unable to stop the car sufficiently at turn one – resulting in him missing the first corner, going down the escape road and eventually finishing the race in last place.

3. French Grand Prix – Round 7


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Hamilton and Verstappen’s wheel to wheel battles continued through the opening rounds of 2021 and the pair were once again on the front row at Paul Ricard in Round 7. Hamilton overtook Verstappen on the first lap, but Max regained the lead after the first round of pit stops. However, with Red Bull under massive pressure from both Mercedes cars, they decided to relinquish their lead and pit Max for a second time – putting him 18 seconds behind Hamilton

On fresher tyres, Max was on the charge and made up for that lost time with ease, chasing down Hamilton to take the lead on the penultimate lap to win his 3rd race of the season.

4. British Grand Prix– Round 10


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With Max Verstappen winning four of the last five races heading into the British Grand Prix, local hero Hamilton was under massive pressure in his home race at Silverstone. Verstappen took pole after winning the first-ever F1 sprint, but the pair collided with each other on lap one at nearly 300 km/h as Lewis made contact with Max’s right rear tyre – sending him into the barrier and out of the race.

Hamilton eventually won the race despite serving a 10-second penalty, but this incident saw their rivalry reach a tipping point and added some extra spice and bad blood to this intense battle.

5. Italian Grand Prix – Round 14


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Another F1 sprint weekend and more Hamilton-Verstappen fireworks as the pair were on a collision course in Monza with only three points separating them in the standings. Verstappen started in front with Hamilton in fourth behind the two McLarens, but Max was pipped by Ricciardo off the line and lost plenty of time after being stalled for 11 seconds on his pit stop. Hamilton had a slow 4 second stop of his own and eventually came out of the pits right alongside Verstappen.

Unfortunately, two cars didn’t fit in one corner and the Red Bull made contact with the Mercedes’ left tyre, launched into the air and landed on top of Hamilton’s car almost scraping the top of the 7-time champion’s helmet – forcing both drivers into an early retirement. Max walked past Hamilton with an element of disregard which further fueled the fire and the message was loud and clear – it was war!

Formula One has long awaited a championship battle that goes down to the wire, and with such fine margins separating the two drivers, the drama and the story of Lewis vs Max is far from over.