F1 title contenders mellow headed into dramatic conclusion

Abu Dhabi, Lewis Hamilton entered Yas Marina Circuit chasing history Thursday dressed head-to-toe in purple with a graffiti-styled expletive scrawled across the back of his sweater, reports AP.

Asked if he was sending a message, the seven-time champion claimed he was unaware of what it said until he was getting dressed. Pure coincidence, Hamilton said, but it sure looked as if he was ready for the finale of his title fight with Max Verstappen.

Both drivers had spent the last three days relaxing in Dubai before making their way 75 minutes south for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the championship will be settled Sunday.

They are tied in the standings — the first time since 1974 the title contenders entered the deciding race equal in points — and the championship battle this season has been the most dramatic in at least a decade.

As Hamilton and Verstappen sat next to each other for their joint news conference, the F1 championship trophy strategically placed between them, the race was already on.

No, not for the F1 title, but rather which driver could more convincingly appear as if they didn’t have a care in the world headed into the climactic conclusion.

Verstappen, just 24 years old, is trying to become the first Dutch world champion. He had a pretty decent hold on this title race until last month. Hamilton reeled off three straight victories to cut all 19 points off Verstappen’s lead in three action-packed races against his new rival.

Hamilton now has a record eighth F1 title in reach. The only Black driver in the global series can break his tie with Michael Schumacher by finishing ahead of Verstappen on the 16-turn, 5.28-kilometer (3.28 miles) track.

Source: Bahrain News Agency