MAX VERSTAPPEN and Lewis Hamilton head into next weekend’s title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points after the Brit’s action-packed win in Saudi Arabia.
The championship-leading Dutchman was forced to give first-place up after a collision with Hamilton in lap 37.
As Verstappen slowed, Hamilton clipped the back end of his rival’s car – damaging his front wing.
Nonetheless, Hamilton held his nerve and won the Saudi GP convincingly to claim his third victory in a row.
Verstappen was also given a ten-second penalty after the race, but it didn’t change his place on the podium.
The win sees Hamilton draw level on points with Verstappen with just Abu Dhabi to go.
But can Verstappen and Hamilton end the season level on points and if so, who will be crowned champion?
How can Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen finish level on points?
The two title challengers can finish level on points if one of the other finishes ninth or tenth.
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Ninth picks up two points in the championship and tenth only generates one.
But should the tenth-placed driver set the fastest lap of the race, they will pick up an extra point, meaning both pick up two for Abu Dhabi – therefore finishing level on 371.5 points.
Who wins the championship if they are level on points?
Should both finish level on points come Sunday evening, Verstappen will win his first F1 title, denying Hamilton of his record-breaking eighth.
Verstappen would finish top due to having nine GP wins to Hamilton’s eight.
Should the Dutchman come out on top, it would be Red Bull’s first championship since 2013 when Sebastian Vettel won his fourth in a row.
It would also prevent Hamilton winning his fifth title in a row, stopping him from drawing level with the legendary Michael Schumacher, who managed the record between 2000-04.
Who wins the F1 drivers’ world championship title if they both crash out?
If both crash out in Abu Dhabi, forcing both to retire from the race, Verstappen will be crowned champion.
Neither will pick up any points for finishing below 11th.
And with Verstappen having nine GP wins to Hamilton’s eight, he will take the F1 crown.
Alain Prost, who knows a thing or two about fiery title feuds, says you ‘can’t rule out such a scenario’ where one or both drivers crash out.
Prost’s feud with Ayrton Senna led to a crash at the 1989 Japanese GP. A repeat happened at the same track a year later too.
He told Bild: “Something like that could happen. That is why it is important not to cross the line.
“The situation could arise where the drivers know at one corner or another ‘I will either win or lose the World Championship right here’.
“It’s already so tense, and the tension has only been rising for some time. So you can’t rule out such a scenario.
“I look at Monza, where if Max hadn’t tried to overtake Lewis he would have lost the race, so do you accept the risk or not?
“It’s not easy in a win or lose situation like this.”
Both have got too close for comfort numerous times this season.
Most notably at Silverstone and Monza.
Verstappen was forced to retire from the race at the British GP after being clipped and sent crashing into the wall at 160-miles-per-hour.
Hamilton went on to win the race, but Mercedes’ celebrations afterwards came under fire after the accident left Verstappen knocked out and led to the 24-year-old being air-lifted to hospital.
The pair then clashed at the Italian GP, which saw Verstappen’s car end up on top of Hamilton’s.
The halo ring safety feature – introduced in 2018 – prevented Hamilton from walking away with a serious injury, or possibly worse.