Dutch commentator Olav Mol expects a fair fight in Abu Dhabi between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, as the World Championship is decided.
Hamilton drew level on points with his title rival after taking victory in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, with the title showdown at Yas Marina to come this weekend.
Much has been made of the controversial moments between the two during the race, with Verstappen having been given separate five and 10-second penalties for his racing against Hamilton, by going off track when the Mercedes tried to overtake at Turn 1, before being found to have driven in an “erratic” way as the pair collided heading down to Turn 27.
Ziggo Sport commentator Mol thinks the stewards need to make things clear between both drivers as to what is and isn’t acceptable this weekend, as the season reaches its climax.
Max Verstappen doesn't need to "cool down" says Helmut Marko.
"It’s the match between Mercedes and Red Bull, and the match between Max and [Lewis]. And just remember what happened in Silverstone, what’s happened in Budapest. Don’t forget that." #F1 pic.twitter.com/fcv9p8DWg3
— PlanetF1 (@Planet_F1) December 6, 2021
“In Brazil it was together off the track and figure it out, but now one gets a penalty and the other does not,” Mol told Grand Prix Radio in the Netherlands.
“That penalty was even handed out when he had already given his place back. Race control really needs to make things clear.”
Concerns have been raised that the Red Bull driver only needs both drivers to not finish the race in Abu Dhabi to be crowned champion, as he currently leads the World Championship by virtue of having an extra race victory compared to Hamilton.
With that, there are worries that another collision between the two could take place – but Mol thinks that won’t happen, unless Mercedes find an enormous jump in performance that gives the Dutchman no chance of success.
“There is now a situation where Verstappen has enough by crashing off together,” he said. “He wouldn’t do that one, two, three times, but that’s his only certainty. Unless he’s suddenly three seconds faster in qualifying, but I’m not going to assume that.”
Everything is still to play for between the two teams, and Hamilton has won the previous three races to take all the momentum heading into the final weekend of the season.
But Verstappen’s near-brilliance in qualifying shows that Red Bull are still close in performance compared to their rivals, and Mol believes eyes will be firmly fixed on every single session in Abu Dhabi.
“It will be tense from the first free practice,” he said. “Who is a tenth faster where? In addition, we are now on the rebuilt track, where a number of slow corners have been removed, so there is less time to be gained. So the stuff will be closer together.”
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