At the most decisive moment of the year, when errors no longer have room for correction, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton will meet tomorrow at the Jeddah circuit, in Saudi Arabia, a brand-new, vertiginous and sheltered by walls throughout its rope (6,174 meters), in which any miscalculation will surely eliminate one of the two candidates for the most competitive title in recent times from the equation. In the absence of two rounds for the championship to lock the bolt next week, in Abu Dhabi, the Dutchman leads the general table with only eight points of margin compared to the British, who has cut him 11 points in the last two stops ( Brazil and Qatar). To maintain this inertia until the end, Hamilton would put on his eighth crown and would be placed on the altar of the altars, above the myth, of the German Michael Schumacher.
To achieve this, he would have to win this weekend in an unknown scenario for the entire Formula 1 grid, which after the first contact with the installation hallucinates with the numbers derived from the first estimates. To make it easy: Hamilton and Verstappen will meet for the penultimate time this year in a passage between walls that offers an average speed of 250 kilometers per hour, and in which runners will spend 79% of the time of each lap with the accelerator pedal to board.
It is the second fastest circuit of the entire event, only behind Monza, a particularly relevant aspect because, in this case, we are talking about a track considered urban, no matter how much it is located in the area adjacent to the port. This made Hermann Tilke, the person in charge of projecting it, able to avoid the 90-degree turns that are so prevalent in this type of infrastructures that are considered non-permanent.
Despite having 27 curves, only one, 13, which has a camber with a 12% incline, takes a bit of prominence from the fastest sections, with linked turns that make the hair stand on end. Of the three sectors in which it has been divided, the third is the most delicate, due to the presence of several points where meeting someone in the middle of the road could end fatally. “Wow! This circuit is cool! ”Said Valtteri Bottas, the third fastest after the first free trial, dominated by his workshop neighbor, but with Verstappen, close, very close, only 56 thousandths away. On paper it should be the territory of Mercedes and Hamilton, given the power behind the Silver Arrows’ engine, which will also have three clear overtaking zones (DRS).
The timed session this Saturday, scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in Spain (Movistar Formula 1 and DAZN), has all the ballots to begin to reflect towards which side this World Cup will fall. The two contenders sell their film, although probably no one fully believes either of them.
“I am calmer than ever, because I have been in this for some time, and because I have already seen myself in several of these,” says the current champion. “I remember how the first title, the second and even the third affected me. Sleepless nights and stuff. Now I am much more sure of myself, and I apply myself more than ever before ”, adds the Stevenage.
“It is logical that you are more prepared at the end of your career than in the first stage. It is logical that Lewis looks better now than when he first fought for the championship ”, agrees, for his part, Verstappen. However, despite partially agreeing with his rival about the weight of the experience, Hasselt’s boy does not believe that this is the key to tip the balance.
“I also feel much better prepared and more experienced than when I got to F-1. So I do not see it as a big difference, because in that case it would have been clear throughout the course, “the Red Bull rivets, with a frightening coldness.
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