Formula 1 returns to Las Vegas this week and while the championship is sewn up, there is still a battle going on for P2.
Sergio Perez is trying desperately to keep hold of his P2 spot and fend off Lewis Hamilton. Should he do so, it would be the first time Red Bull have recorded a 1-2 in the standings having missed out to Charles Leclerc in 2022.
With Perez enjoying a 32-point lead over Hamilton, helped by the Mercedes driver’s Austin DQ, the ball is the Mexican’s court but how exactly can he do it?
How can Sergio Perez secure P2 in Las Vegas?
Perez’s task could not be simpler as all he needs to do to secure P2 is not score seven or more points fewer than Hamilton.
With 52 points left to play for and Perez’s lead on 32, Hamilton needs a hefty swing in Vegas to keep the competition alive into Abu Dhabi.
If Hamilton fails to outscore Perez by seven points, the gap between the two would be insurmountable and the P2 would be Red Bull’s.
How can Lewis Hamilton keep the fight alive?
There is one way Hamilton can assure the P2 battle stays alive and that is by winning the race.
A victory would give Hamilton 25 points meaning that if Perez finishes P2 and gets 18, Hamilton would be 24 points behind the Red Bull driver heading into the final race.
He would also need to ensure Perez does not get the bonus point for the fastest lap as that means there would be a 25-point gap heading into Abu Dhabi meaning the best Hamilton could do would be to tie.
What happens if the drivers are level at the end of the season?
F1 rules state that if two drivers end level on points, the driver with the most wins would take the spot.
This is a situation Hamilton has actually found himself in before as in 2021 but he and Max Verstappen were on 369.5 points heading into the final race.
However Verstappen had won nine races to Hamilton’s eight.
Again in 2007, Hamilton finished level with McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso but ended above him due to the number of wins.
How many points could Lewis Hamilton beat Sergio Perez by?
The maximum points Hamilton could add to his tally is 52 meaning the most he could achieve this year is 278.
That tally would better 2022’s 240 but would still be one of the lowest in Hamilton’s career.
In terms of how much Hamilton could beat Perez by, if the Mercedes driver was to score the maximum and Perez to score none, he would end 2023 with a 20 point lead over the Mexican.
Perez’s maximum tally is 284 which would be his joint best behind 2022’s 305.