Mercedes’ race to lose?

Dubbed the ‘fastest street circuit in the world’, Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah Corniche Circuit is likely to be a Mercedes track on paper.

At 79 per cent full throttle (Monza is 85 per cent full throttle), engine peformance will be crucial to performing well in Jeddah this weekend.

The momentum is with Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton recovered from two setbacks at Interlagos to beat Max Verstappen to the victory, while the seven-time champion dominated proceedings in Qatar, and that was without the ‘spicy engine’.

Toto Wolff already confirmed that will run the 'spicy engine' again in Jeddah - as he did in Brazil - which isn't good news for Red Bull.

The high-speed, flowing nature of the circuit should play into Mercedes’ strengths but with it being a street circuit, it’s never going to be completely straightforward.

“It's a fast street circuit with long flat-out sections and several high-speed corners, lined by barriers meaning it'll be high risk and reward,” Wolff said ahead of the weekend.

“We're more motivated than ever and we expect to be in the hunt, so we are all looking forward to the debut grand prix in Saudi Arabia.”

Mercedes is likely to have an advantage but at a street circuit, nothing is straightforward. 

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Verstappen can be crowned champion

While Mercedes has the momentum at the moment, Verstappen could in fact take the title this weekend.

Verstappen has an eight-point lead going into Jeddah with 52 points on the table.

It would require Hamilton having a disastrous race - If Verstappen finishes first and Hamilton finishes seventh or lower then the title would be secured.

Could it happen? In normal circumstances, no, but it is a street circuit. 

Safety Cars, red flags, crashes are all a high possibility as we saw in Baku earlier in the year.

Battles that still need to be resolved

While all attention is understandably on the fight between Verstappen and Hamilton, there are still a number of fights that need to be resolved before the end of the season.

Ferrari and McLaren are still battling over third in the constructors’ championship.

Only four points in the last three races for McLaren has allowed Ferrari to pull 39.5 points clear. 

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz’s consistency has been impressive, with the latter on a 13-race scoring streak.

The high-speed Jeddah circuit is likely to play into McLaren’s hands, although, it was Leclerc on pole in Baku back in the early part of the season.

Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez are separated by just 13 points in the race for third behind their teammates - a spot at the FIA end of season gala is on the line.

Alpine is 25 points ahead of AlphaTauri after an outstanding Qatar weekend, while Williams will be hopeful Sunday’s race isn’t too chaotic to stop Alfa Romeo from closing the 12-point gap.

In memory of Sir Frank

The Williams F1 team has confirmed there will be “numerous tributes” planned to celebrate the life of Sir Frank Williams - who died on Sunday, aged 79. 

Under Sir Frank’s leadership, Williams claimed nine constructors’ titles, seven drivers’ titles and 114 wins in total - statistics only bettered by Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes. 

The Williams family sold the team to current owners Dorilton last year, but the iconic name and branding have remained. 

The team is expected to run a tribute on its car for this weekend in Jeddah.

“The sad events of last weekend mean that this is our first race weekend without Sir Frank Williams as the patriarch and figurehead of the Williams organisation,” Dave Robson, head of vehicle performance said.

“Although he had only very rarely been at the track in recent years, he still had a strong presence in the garage; his passion, strength and unstinting enthusiasm providing additional motivation to those of us fortunate enough to race the cars bearing his name.

“Although an era ended last weekend, Frank’s legacy will live on and we will continue to race in the manner that he would expect, drawing upon his memory as a source of pride and inspiration. We send the Williams family our deepest sympathies and reassure them that we will continue to honour his legend.”