So far, we have seen Lewis Hamilton win the Bahrain and Portuguese GP and, in between these two races, we have seen 23-year-old Max Verstappen win in Emilia Romagna. With the Spanish GP just around the corner (May 9th) – do we think Verstappen can make this season more interesting than ever?
Both racers have been phenomenal this season with only eight points currently separating them. They have been head-to-head during the races, even being called “the two Championship protagonists” by David Croft. When in Bahrain the two fought like there was no tomorrow with Verstappen even going off the track to find himself in 1st place to only give it back up to Hamilton due to taking the position off the racetrack. THEN in Emilia Romagna, Verstappen found himself gritting his teeth before he crossed the finish line as Hamilton climbed the ladder from 8th to 2nd after he derailed and almost crashed out of the GP. Fans everywhere were holding their breaths as they anticipated Hamilton to steal back his control.
We cannot go on about who could win the Championship title without talking about who is in third place... Lando Norris. Norris being a British-Belgian racer has chosen to race under the British flag with McLaren. At only 21-years-old, he is a very experienced driver having won the MSA Formula championship (2015) and the Toyota Racing Series, Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (2016). With this kind of experience, you’d expect there to be a fight for, at least, a podium finish at the end of the season.
With only one podium finish, Norris is five points ahead of Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas. Bottas has had two podium finishes this season, recently the Portuguese pole and is sitting uncomfortably at fourth. Bottas is itching to get himself higher in the rankings by taking risks during his race. Unfortunately, after starting on pole position in Portugal, Bottas finished 3rd as Hamilton successfully used his Drag Reduction System (DRS) to overtake to first place. To add to his misfortune, Verstappen then overtook him just after Bottas exited the pit as his tyres were not yet warmed up compared to Verstappen’s.
Now, I think the name everyone is turning heads to, and it certainly turned mine, is Mick Schumacher, son of Michael Schumacher, who has joined the competition this season racing with Haas alongside teammate Nikita Mazepin. Schumacher is currently sitting at 18th overall. He may not be a contender for this season’s podium positions yet; however, he may have the ability to once he settles in.
Is it possible for him to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become one of the best drivers in the world?
Having come 16th in his first F1 race, which technically speaking was the last position on track due to four other drivers crashing out, he is becoming steadily better. He has certainly a focus for the commentators recently.
Finally, I would like to end with George Russell, who has become a fireball on the racetrack. Almost literally as Russell crashed into Bottas during the Emilia Romagna GP, taking them both out of the race and calling for a red flag. Though he did not finish this race, standing at 17th in the rankings, it doesn’t mean that Russell cannot win the title. It does not mean this either for any of the drivers named and unnamed in this article. I believe that Russell’s experience – winning the FIA Formula 2 Championship title (2018) – will give him that edge that is needed to compete with the likes of Verstappen and Hamilton. He is one to keep an eye on when on the track as he is seen to have a very fiery competitive side.
Overall, I think we can all agree that the 2021 season is going to be interesting with new racers like Mick Shumacher and Nikita Mazepin but the most interesting thing will be to see if Verstappen, Norris or Bottas will be able to take Hamilton’s throne. Let’s hope they give him a run for his money for the remainder of the season.