Grand prix

Verstappen winning F1 title would be ‘feel-good’ story

Verstappen leads Hamilton by just six points at the top of the F1 championship table going into the final six races of a season that has produced the closest title battle in years. 

With Red Bull and Mercedes locked in an intense scrap for supremacy, the title showdown between Verstappen and Hamilton is expected to go all the way to the season finale in Abu Dhabi in December. 

Verstappen is seeking his maiden world title, while Hamilton is aiming to surpass Michael Schumacher and become F1’s first eight-time world champion by winning his fifth consecutive drivers’ crown. 

“I think just kind of ‘may the best man win’,” Ricciardo – who partnered Verstappen at Red Bull between 2016 and 2018 – responded when asked who he would like to see win the world championship. 

“The rivalry they’ve had this year has been pretty awesome, as a fan. I think they’ve left it all out there. So from that point of view, I think they are where they are, I think it’s fair at the moment in terms of they are nip-and-tuck. So no preference.

“I think obviously people do like to see a fresh face, so maybe Max is the more popular vote because it would be a first title for him and it’s something new and exciting for everyone. So that’s always like you’ve got that feel-good story.

“But I think as long as no like misfortune is involved, then I think the guy that wins is the one that’s going to deserve it.”

Ricciardo’s McLaren teammate Lando Norris, who sits fourth in the championship and is 117.5 points behind Verstappen with a total of 159 points left up for grabs, joked: “I would like to win it, to be honest with you. 

“I think it’s just a bit far away now. I don’t mind. Obviously I support Lewis as a Brit, but I’m also good mates with Max. 

“So I just think whoever wins has done the best job. They’ve been very equal all season, so may the best man win. That’s it.”

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