For the first time since 1974, the last Grand Prix of the season in Formula 1 will see the two best drivers with an equal number of points. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) both start the race with 369.5 points during the 22nd and final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
In the unlikely scenario of a tie after Sunday’s race – should both drivers retire next weekend, the world title goes to Max Verstappen. The Dutchman won nine Grand Prix this season against eight for Hamilton.
It is the thirtieth time since the creation of F1 in 1950 that the decision on the title has been made in the final race. For an equal number of points in the top 2 for the last race, one has to go back to 1974 when the Brazilian Emerson Fittipaldi (McLaren) and the Swiss Clay Regazzoni (Ferrari) also started with the same number of points at the United States Grand Prix in Watkins glen. Fittipaldi eventually took his second world title thanks to a fourth place. Regazzoni was only eleventh. Fittipaldi ended the season with three points more than his competitor. In that period, only the top 6 points were awarded.
It was also very exciting in 1984. The Austrian Niki Lauda then captured the title with half a point ahead of the Frenchman Alain Prost. Eight times a rider became champion by only one point. That happened in 1958, 1961, 1964, 1976, 1981, 1994, 2007 and 2008.
Most recently in the memory is the exciting title battle of 2016. The German Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) took it at the time with five points ahead of his teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Briton also lost the title in 2007 by a point to the Finn Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari). Twelve months later, he took revenge by winning the championship, one point ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa (Ferrari).