The battle for the Formula 1 world title between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton has an outcome that resembles that of 1974. Then two title contenders started the last race with exactly the same number of points. These were Emerson Fittipaldi and Clay Regazzoni, who finished the season in the United States.
McLaren’s Brazilian Fittipaldi decided the duel with the Swiss Ferrari in his favor. There were fifteen races that year. On Sunday, Red Bull driver Verstappen and seven-time Mercedes world champion Hamilton will face off for the title in Abu Dhabi. Both have 369.5 points after 21 of 22 races.
This is the thirtieth time since the creation of Formula 1 in 1950 that the decision has been taken in the final race. It was also very exciting in 1984. The Austrian Niki Lauda then seized the title with half a point ahead of the Frenchman Alain Prost. Eight times a runner became champion with just 1 point. This happened in 1958, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1981, 1994, 2007 and 2008.
The most exciting outcome of recent years came in 2016, when German Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) finished 5 points ahead of teammate Hamilton. The Briton had already lost the title in 2007 by 1 point against the Finnish Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari). A year later, he took his revenge by winning the championship with 1 point ahead of the Brazilian Felipe Massa (Ferrari).
In the unlikely scenario of a tie after Sunday’s race, the world title goes to Verstappen. The Dutchman has won nine grand prizes this season compared to Hamilton’s eight. At the same starting position in 1974, Fittipaldi finished fourth in the closing race. It was enough for the title as Regazzoni finished only 11th.
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