The Unfancied ‘Pole Curse’ Lying in Max Verstappen’s Obstacle to Beat Lewis Hamilton to 2021 F1 Title

Published 11/21/2021, 5:14 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton celebrates on the podium with the trophy after winning the race alongside Red Bull’s Max Verstappen who finished in second place REUTERS/Albert Gea


In the last 10 days, Lewis Hamilton has shown why he has seven world championships to his name. Yet Max Verstappen, F1’s next star in the making, could be the driver to stop Hamilton from winning his eighth by winning his first title. But the Red Bull driver may need to defy a lot of things to do so.

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This includes the ‘rocket pace’ of Mercedes mainly. However, in addition to it, there is another pattern in recent history that he needs to break.

The thing is, since 2010, the pole-sitter at a new circuit has won the title in that year. In fact, two of Lewis Hamilton’s titles have come when he took pole on inaugural F1 circuits – Sochi in 2014, and Mugello and Portimao in 2020.

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A disappointing and surprising Qualifying for Max Verstappen and Co.

Verstappen and Red Bull have found no answer to their rival’s pace since the Friday in Brazil. The case remained not only the same but even got worse a week later in Qatar.

Much to his dislike and unlike his rival, Verstappen won’t have the support of his teammate Sergio Perez early in the race. The Mexican had a disappointing Qualifying, failing to break into Q3 and only managing a P11.

“It’s been a bit more tricky for us again in qualifying because Checo isn’t even in Q3 so it just shows we are definitely struggling a bit more than normal,” Verstappen said.

Formula One F1 – Qatar Grand Prix – Losail International Circuit, Lusail, Qatar – November 19, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during practice REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

Lewis Hamilton, who took his 102nd pole, admitted his ‘surprise’ on the lack of pace from Red Bull in the last two weeks.

“Probably the last three races in qualifying we’ve been ahead of them, which has been a bit of a surprise and today I definitely wasn’t expecting to have as big a gap as that,” Hamilton said.

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In all the sessions of racing, we’ve seen at the Losaile circuit so far, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have shown their superiority over everyone else. The tough Silver Arrows have also ‘revealed’ that they have enough pace in reserve in case the going gets tough.

So, by defeating his arch-rival, Max Verstappen will break not only Hamilton’s streak but the ‘streak’ of pole position taking drivers turned championship winners on fresh circuits.

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And the next big step in this quest is the race in Qatar.

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Shaharyar

210 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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