LEWIS HAMILTON has the advantage over Max Verstappen heading into the final three races of the season, according to Red Bull chief Helmut Marko.
The seven-time champion reignited his hopes of a record-breaking eighth drivers’ title with a sensational victory at the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday as he recovered from 10th to take his sixth win of 2021.
Hamilton’s victory reduces Verstappen’s lead to just 14 points with the Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi circuits closing out the season.
And Marko, who is the head of Red Bull’s driver development programme, believes Mercedes now have the upper hand heading into the final few races.
Speaking to AMuS, he said: “There were not two rockets, but one.
“Only the Hamilton [car] has such an unbelievable surplus on the straights.
“Despite the lead, I see us at a disadvantage if Hamilton maintains this engine advantage.”
As stated, Verstappen currently holds a 14-point advantage over Hamilton with three races left.
That means there are 78 points up for grabs for the drivers – 25 for a race win plus the additional point for the fastest lap.
If Hamilton wins the next two races, collecting 50 points, and Verstappen comes second, adding 36 to his total, they would be absolutely level on 368.5 points with one race to go.
That would be before the fastest lap is taken into consideration.
So should Verstappen take one of those fastest laps in Qatar or Saudi, Hamilton would need to get more points than Verstappen in Abu Dhabi.
Therefore, three wins from the final three races would guarantee the title for Hamilton.
Should Verstappen win in Qatar, though, he would be 21 points clear with two races to go and therefore finishing second behind Hamilton in both would be enough.
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It could still finish absolutely level on points.
And in that case, Verstappen would be crowned world champion.
He currently leads 9-6 – so the Red Bull racer is guaranteed to come out on top if they tie for points.