The old saying ‘there’s no place like home’ couldn’t ring truer for Lewis Hamilton as he currently faces a losing battle against Max Verstappen in his quest to successfully defend his F1 world title.
Round 10 of the enthralling 2021 F1 season heads to the British Grand Prix this weekend. Seven-time world champion Hamilton arrives for his home race on a run of five grands prix without a win and 32 points adrift of his title rival.
But how do the two drivers stack up against one another? Sportsmail takes a look…
Max Verstappen (left) and Lewis Hamilton are firmly in a battle for the F1 world title this season
Oh how Hamilton would love to go back to early May. On May 9 the Spanish Grand Prix had just concluded and it was the Mercedes man who was the victor once more. It was a stunning finish to the events in Barcelona as with just six laps to go Hamilton, on newer tyres, passed Verstappen into Turn 1 to seal victory.
That was the 36-year-old’s third win in the opening four races as he built a 14-point gap lead (94 points to 80) over the Red Bull racer.
However, the pattern of dominance quickly changed. Since the Spanish Grand Prix Hamilton has failed to win a single race, while Verstappen can’t stop standing atop of podiums.
Hamilton won the curtain-raiser race this season with victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Hamilton’s last win was at the Spanish GP when he overtook Verstappen with six laps to go
The next race after the Spanish GP was Monaco and the Dutchman took that blue-riband event, while Hamilton could only muster seventh.
A brilliant drive from Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez saw him take the Azerbaijan Grand Prix but since then it’s been a procession for the former.
The 23-year-old has won the last three grands prix since (France, Styria and Austria) to build a sizeable lead over Hamilton going into the British Grand Prix. In contrast Hamilton has came second, second and fourth.
Verstappen celebrates after winning the Monaco Grand Prix – sparking Red Bull’s dominance
If we’re comparing careers then wave the chequered flag in Hamilton’s favour.
First of all he has seven world titles, a record he shares with the legendary Michael Schumacher, while Verstappen has none.
This had to be caveated by their ages and the longevity of their careers though. Hamilton is 13 years older than Verstappen (36 and 23) and started his career in 2007 – eight years before his rival did.
Hamilton has won seven world titles – a record he shares with F1 legend Michael Schumacher
However, Hamilton was already a world champion in his second campaign (winning in 2008 with McLaren), while Verstappen is yet to achieve that feat as he partakes in his seventh season. The Red Bull star’s best-ever finishes have been third – both achieved in the last two terms.
Talking numbers in this field truly highlights the brilliance of Hamilton.
He has won more than a third of the races he has ever competed in – topping the podiums 98 times out of a possible 275. That makes a staggering statistic of 35.64 per cent.
In comparison, Verstappen has won 15 of the 128 grands prix he’s been a part of – a percentage of 11.72.
Aside from winning, Hamilton has been on a podium 171 times – meaning he has finished in the top three for a mindboggling 62.19 per cent of his career.
Hamilton’s first title win came in 2008 in his second season – when he was racing for McLaren
Once again, this blows Verstappen away who has been on the podium 50 times – for 39.06 per cent.
If we talk pure racing speed then again Hamilton has the upper hand. He’s claimed exactly 100 F1 career poles – a record no one else boasts. This equates to 36.36 per cent.
Verstappen has just seven poles to his name – totalling to 5.47 per cent.
And when it comes to fastest laps, it’s the Brit again who is the better. He has 56 to his name at 20.37 per cent. Verstappen has 14 at 10.94 per cent.
Verstappen is yet to win a world title – with his highest finish being third back in 2019 and 2020
WHAT HAVE THEY SAID ABOUT EACH OTHER
It could be mind games but Hamilton appears to be conceding the title to Verstappen – despite there being another 14 races to go.
Speaking about his quest to win a record-breaking eighth title, the Brit said: ‘It’s what I dream of and am working towards. I am massively driven. But it’s a tall order.
‘Their [Red Bull’s] performance has gone a little bit out of reach but we are working as hard as we can to close back up.’
Hamilton believes that Verstappen is the favourite to win the F1 championship now
However, Verstappen isn’t getting carried away with his championship lead – knowing there is still over half the season to go.
‘It’s not over,’ Verstappen, targeting his first title, stated. ‘It’s still a very long season, we’re not even halfway.
‘Of course so far we have been doing a great job, but again I think Silverstone is one of these tracks where they’ve [Mercedes] always been really good at.
‘But again, in France we have been struggling there in the past and I think we were very competitive there.’
Despite his words, Red Bull star Verstappen refuses to be drawn into Hamilton’s statement