From the first race of the 2021 season, it was obvious that the fight between Mercedes and Red Bull for the title would be reduced to the smallest margin. With 22 points in the game for the fastest lap, one point per race - at the opening of the season Mercedes had already reacted to take the bonus point as they invited Valtteri Bottas to enter pits for the third time to take that point away from Verstappen.
In the last four races, Verstappen and Hamilton have won twice - while both have finished in second place in the same number of races. The fastest laps and additional bonus points were evenly distributed between Mercedes and Red Bull to such an extent that Bottas achieved the fastest lap at the Mexican GP, to prevent Verstappen from reaching him, even if that point didn’t go to anyone because the Finn was out of the top 10.
In the last race in Qatar, Verstappen reduced Hamilton's advantage from seven to six points, because although he could not fight the Briton to win the race, the Dutchman reached the fastest lap that allowed him another point.
The Red Bull driver thus won 19 points and thus managed to raise the advantage of eight points over Hamilton, because if he had not done so, the difference between them would have been one point less - 7. The Mercedes boss admitted that such a result was a bit frustrating as it ruined Hamilton’s win to some extent which was great for him.
"The initial feeling is bitter-sweet," Wolff told Sky Sports. "Two World Cups are very important now." "Lewis was great, but the point they achieved was a bit frustrating," he added. "But it's great that we won the race.
The good thing is that the car was fast, and it seems that we are in a good position. " "Lewis had control of the race from start to finish and that's a good indicator of what's going to happen in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi," he said.
In the current season, the leadership position has changed on six occasions as Verstappen and Hamilton have been fighting wheel to wheel, with two major clashes. Verstappen has won nine so far, and Hamilton has come up with seven after two consecutive wins at the Grand Prix of Brazil and Qatar.
Only once in the history of F1 has a driver won 10 races without winning the world title: it was Hamilton in 2016, and even Red Bull said that a “normal” championship would already be Verstappen’s. On the other hand, the head of Silver Arrows assures that they did not start well this season, and claims that they were told that they would fight for the title in Saudi Arabia: they would sign.
"I don't think we started well and we weren't good enough, and the regulations didn't help us. Therefore, whoever wins the championship deserves to win the title, "Wolff concluded.