F1 gets its big final Hamilton-Verstappen showdown in Abu Dhabi

Jeddah, The dust from the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix has to settle quickly over the next few days as Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes team and Max Verstappen and Red Bull need to get ready for Sunday's title-deciding season finale in Abu Dhabi.

It is the 30th occasion the title is decided in the last race but only the second time two drivers are tied ahead of the finale - the other occasion being in 1974 when Emerson Fittipaldi of McLaren won the title over Ferrari's Clay Regazzoni.

Mercedes driver Hamilton will be bidding for a record eighth title, one more than Michael Schumacher, on the Abu Dhabi track where he has won five times in the past.

Red Bull's Verstappen seeks a first career trophy on the Yas Marina Circuit where he came first 12 months ago, when Hamilton had already wrapped up his seventh title, said dpa international.

If both remain tied on points Verstappen will be crowned champion because he has one race win more than Hamilton, 9-8. Such a scenario could occur if both collide - which neither side wants.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said: "We want to win it on the track, not in the stewards' room, not in a gravel trap ... I hope it is a fair and clean race in Abu Dhabi."

But, having lost a world title by one point to Kimi Raikkonen in his inaugural season 2007 and won it by one point a year later in the final lap in Brazil, Hamilton said he is ready for the big finale.

Hamilton has erased his deficit by winning the last three season races ahead of Verstappen, who for his part insisted he had only slowed down to let Hamilton pass after being told to do so.

Looking ahead, he named the big finale "really exciting for the whole championship and Formula 1 in general. "Hopefully we have a good weekend, so let’s see,” Verstappen said.

Source: Bahrain News Agency