The bitter rivals entered the season finale level on points. This is the first time two drivers have gone into the last race of the season tied on points since 1974. Verstappen would win the title if both retire or crash out together. For the record, they have collided on track three times this season. A fourth can't be discounted. And they hate each other down to the bone.
Hamilton, the winner of four straight titles, is within reach of breaking a tie with Michael Schumacher for a record eighth F1 Championship. But there's Verstappen, winner of a series-best nine races this F1 season. He himself is seeking to become the first Dutch world champion.
That pretty much sets the stage for a crazy finish. In fact, the FIA has already issued a warning to both the camps, Hamilton's Mercedes and Verstappen's Red Bull Racing. It will not allow dirty racing.
On Friday, Verstappen set the pace with a time of 1:25.009 (23 laps) in Practice 1. But Hamilton scorched the circuit with a time of 1:23.691 (26 laps) in Practice 2. They will have another practice on Saturday (15:30 - 16:30 PM IST/ 14:00 - 15:00 PM local), before the Qualifying.
With that here's all you need to know about the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
Hamilton vs Verstappen
Points: 369.5 each
Wins: Hamilton - 8; Verstappen - 9
Podiums: Hamilton - 15; Verstappen - 17
Qualifying: December 11 (Saturday), 2021; Time - 18:30 - 19:30 PM IST/ 17:00 - 18:00 PM IST.
Qualifying Result: Max Verstappen, with a best time of 1:22.109, grabbed the pole for the Formula One title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he'll try to dethrone the seven-time champion, Lewis Hamilton (1:22.480). Lando Norris (1:22.931) for McLaren was a surprise third — beating out both Verstappen and Hamilton's teammates.
Race Day: December 12 (Sunday), 2021; Time - 18:30 - 20:30 PM IST/ 17:00 - 19:00 PM IST.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Starting Grid: Max Verstappen - Lewis Hamilton - Lando Norris - Sergio Perez - Carlos Sainz - Valtteri Bottas - Charles Leclerc - Yuki Tsunoda -Esteban Ocon -Daniel Ricciardo - Fernando Alonso - Pierre Gasly - Lance Stroll - Antonio Giovinazzi - Sebastian Vettel - Nicholas Latifi - George Russell - Kimi Raikkonen - Mick Schumacher - Nikita Mazepin.
Circuit: Yas Marina Circuit on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
Length: 5.281 km
How to watch
TV Channels: Qualifying and the main race for Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be telecast live on Star Sports Select.
Live Streaming: Disney+ Hotstar
Check global broadcast details HERE.
Other Drivers And Standings
Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas (218) is the third-placed driver, ahead of Red Bull's Sergio Perez (190). Charles Leclerc (Ferrari/158), Lando Norris (McLaren/154), Carlos Sainz (Ferrari/149.5), Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren/115), Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri/100) and Fernando Alonso (Alpine/77) are in the top ten.
Esteban Ocon (Alpine/72), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin/43), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin/34), Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri/20), George Russell (Williams/16), Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo/10), Nicholas Latifi (Williams/7) and Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo/3) are the other drivers who have won points this season.
Mick Schumacher (Haas) and Nikita Mazepin (Haas) are yet to win points. Robert Kubica has been replaced by Raikkonen at Afa Romeo after contracting coronavirus.