There is just the matter of race victories separating Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the top of the Formua 1 drivers' championship. How will the season be decided? We look at all the permutations.
Who is leading the F1 championship?
Both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have 369.5 points and so are level at the top of the pack, and they are the only possible winners of the 2022 championship.
'Mercedes had no grounds for complaint' - Horner
However, Verstappen is in the number one position because he has nine race wins this season, and Hamilton has eight. If the points remain the same after Sunday’s race - i.e. if they both fail to finish the race - then this would give Verstappen the championship.
- 'Messy situation' - Wolff fears Hamilton vs Verstappen will be decided by crash
- 'Over the limit' v 'This is not Formula 1' - Hamilton and Verstappen speak out
- 'Just want a clean championship' claims Wolf;; Horner says he didn't 'know what Hamilton was doing'
How can Lewis Hamilton win the title in Abu Dhabi?
The easiest way for the Mercedes driver to win the championship would be to finish ahead of Verstappen and in the points (the top 10). He only needs to be one point ahead of the Red Bull man at the end of the race.
Can Hamilton win the F1 championship if Verstappen wins in Abu Dhabi?
No, almost certainly not - he has to beat Verstappen in the race.
However, one thing to consider is Verstappen’s driving behaviour over the course of this season, his career, and the last race in particular. He was told three times to give the lead back to Hamilton after a mixture of dangerous, illegitimate or cynical driving. Pundit and former F1 professional Martin Brundle became the latest figure in racing to say the youngster has to change his aggressive style, something that Sebastian Vettel warned about way back in 2016.
It is not out of the question that Verstappen may use underhand tactics to ensure he finishes ahead of Hamilton in Abu Dhabi and then face post-race censure, such is the tension between the two.
Similarly, Hamilton was warned about his own driving on Sunday, and both Mercedes and the Briton push the rules to the limit in the search of their own advantages. We should not count on the championship being decided when the chequered flag is waved.
Can Verstappen finish behind Hamilton and still win the F1 championship?
The only scenario would be if Verstappen finishes 10th (two points) and Hamilton is ninth (one point). Then the Dutchman would 'just' need the bonus fastest lap point to get the nod.
What if Verstappen crashes into Hamilton at Turn One?
Technically, the title would be Verstappen's. But we can expect the FIA to immediately look into the crash and, if deemed deliberate, hand out a heavy penalty.
What if Hamilton sets the fastest lap, then crashes into Verstappen to knock them both out?
Drivers have to finish in the top 10 to get the fastest lap point. If both of them crash out then they won’t get the point.
Can Mercedes or Red Bull win the F1 constructors' championship?
Yes. Mercedes are heavy favourites - 587.5 points to Red Bull’s 559.5 - but with 25, 18, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2, and 1 point available for finishes in first to 10th respectively, there are a number of permutations available that could decide it either way. Red Bull have 10 wins between Verstappen and Pierre Gasley, and Mercedes have nine between Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, should it come to a tie-break.
Would Hamilton set a record if he wins the F1 championship?
Currently Hamilton shares the seven-title record with Michael Schumacher. An eighth win would move him clear at the top.
‘Difficult to fight with a driver that doesn't work with the same rule book' – Hamilton
Verstappen: 'I don't feel sorry for Hamilton'
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
'No assurances' Hamilton will race next season, says Mercedes boss Wolff