Ralf Schumacher has made a bold prediction and stated that there is no chance for Max Verstappen to win the 2021 F1 Drivers' Championship following Lewis Hamilton's dominant performance at the last two races in Brazil and Qatar. The German feels that the only way the Red Bull Racing driver can win the title is if luck is on his side in the final two races.
Verstappen had a 22-point lead over Hamilton after his win at the Mexico City Grand Prix, and was favourite to win the title. It looked to be advantage Red Bull when the Mercedes driver was disqualified from qualifying and had a five-place grid penalty for an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) change.
However, Hamilton surprised the paddock when he stormed through the grid in the sprint race to finish fifth after starting 20th, and then came from 10th to comfortably win the race the following day at the Interlagos circuit. Mercedes' newfound pace advantage carried forward to Qatar, where again the Mercedes driver won from pole position without too much trouble.
The seven-time world champion is now just eight points behind Verstappen and Schumacher feels Mercedes are now the favourites to make it eight straight double Drivers' and Constructors' championship wins. The two remaining races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi are power sensitive and Red Bull do not seem to have an answer for Mercedes' straight line speed at the moment.
"The Mercedes is currently the more stable package," Schumacher said, as quoted on Racing 365. "Max gives everything and shows how good he is. Under normal circumstances, though, he doesn't stand a chance."
The former Williams and Toyota F1 driver believes Verstappen will need a big chunk of luck if he is to beat Hamilton and Mercedes to win his first and Red Bull's fifth championship titles. Schumacher also feels that had Verstappen had better luck in the first half of the campaign, he would already be the 2021 Drivers' champion.
Verstappen suffered a tyre failure while leading the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and was then put into the wall by Hamilton at the British Grand Prix, which the Briton eventually won despite a 10-second time penalty. If not for those two incidents, it is very likely that the championship would have been sewn up by the Dutch racer.
"Maybe he has the luck he has lacked so far," the six-time Grand Prix winner added. "If he had this [luck] at the beginning of the season, he might already be World Champion now."
The Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will take place on the streets of Jeddah between Dec 3 and 5 with Hamilton and Mercedes favourites to once again take the top step of the podium. Verstappen will be keen to maintain some advantage going into the season finale in Abu Dhabi, where Red Bull broke the Mercedes stronghold and won for the first time in 2020.