The father of Max Verstappen insists his son will “do everything” to beat Lewis Hamilton in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and win the Formula One world drivers’ championship for the first time.
The two drivers will go into the final race of the 2021 season level on points in what has proved to be the closest championship battle for 47 years.
Verstappen was 21 points ahead of Hamilton when he finished second in the F1 Sprint race at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
But Hamilton completed a hat-trick of successive race victories by taking the checkered flag in the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah on Sunday.
The pair were involved in a series of skirmishes on the track, with Verstappen coming under fire for his aggressive form of defence and later punished with two penalties totalling 15 seconds.
It included a bizarre clash before the DRS straight in which the Red Bull driver slowed down, thinking Hamilton would overtake him after an alleged illegal pass — only for Hamilton to run into the back of him, claiming he “brake-tested” him.
But the Mercedes star would not be denied after taking the lead on Lap 43 and roared home under the lights at the Corniche street circuit.
Verstappen, 24, is still ahead in the championship by the virtue of winning more races this season than Hamilton, having finished top of the podium on nine occasions while the Briton has won eight times.
The Dutchman would therefore take his first crown in F1 if both drivers fail to finish the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on December 12 in the final showdown of this enticing title battle.
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When asked if he thinks his son would wipe Hamilton off the track in order to win the tile, Verstappen’s father Jos, a former F1 driver, replied: “I don’t think that will happen.”
It would not be the first time that two title rivals have collided when competing to win the championship.
Historical battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, as well as Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher, have proved to be controversial in the past with collisions in the decisive race.
Senna, in particular, was disqualified from the championship by the FIA when he was adjudged to have purposely crashed into Prost at the 1989 Japanese Grand Prix.
That risk remains for either driver if they were found to have illegally attempted to run the other driver off the road by the stewards.
But Verstappen Snr insisted his son will stop at nothing in order to try and finish ahead of Hamilton in Abu Dhabi.
“Max absolutely wants to win,” he told the Daily Mail. “He will definitely go for it. He will clearly try to beat him [Hamilton].
“He will do everything to get the win, that’s for sure. It will be exciting.”
But Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who staunchly defended Verstappen’s driving in Jeddah, insisted they are looking to win the title on the track with a “fair and clean race”.
"Yes of course we do," he said, when asked if they care how they win it. We want to win it on the track, not in the stewards' room, not in a gravel trap.
“It has been a tough fight, all the way through the year.
"There has been some fantastic racing. I hope it is a fair and clean race in Abu Dhabi."
It promises to be an exciting climax in what has been one of the most fascinating F1 seasons in recent memory.
Hamilton is looking to become the only driver in F1 history to win eight drivers’ titles, as the veteran is currently tied with German legend Michael Schumacher on seven apiece.
If Verstappen wins, he would become the fourth-youngest champion in the sport’s history at 24 years and 74 days, putting him behind Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.
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