Martin Brundle says he would rather have the faster car than the points in the bag, going into the final two races of the World Championship.
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are set to conclude their thrilling year-long battle for the title at the Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, with the Dutchman currently eight points ahead of the seven-time champion.
Much discussion has ensued about which driver is actually in the stronger position – Verstappen with the lead he has, for it means he could be crowned champion in Jeddah this weekend, or Hamilton with the momentum of having a Mercedes W12 that has powered him to emphatic victories at the past two races.
Sky F1 broadcaster Brundle has opted to go against the conventional wisdom football pundits use that points on the board are more valuable than the potential offered by games in hand.
“I’d rather have the speed than the points right now,” said Brundle, quoted by PA Media, ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
“A good soccer analogy – you’d rather have the points than the games in hand.
“I think if Lewis carries on at that rate of knots and if Valtteri (Bottas) can get involved and have one of his on-form days, then who knows?
“One mishap around here and Max is the World Champion, one mishap for Lewis…because it wouldn’t be difficult around here, that’s for sure.”
Asked if the current fight had a feeling of the changing of the guard to it, Brundle replied: “I do, but one guard doesn’t want to move over, does he?
“Lewis is 37 in January and he’s got all the glory, all the money. I think I described it as a trophy warehouse he must have by now – it’s not a room, is it, or a cabinet?
“He still seems to have all the same motivation and work ethic, work-rate and determination I’ve ever seen him have.”
Emerging unscathed from the first ever F1 race in Saudi Arabia will be no easy task, given the brand-new street circuit is blisteringly fast and surrounded by barriers.
“I think there are some areas you need to pay a lot of respect to,” said Brundle of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
“It comes at you thick and fast. You constantly seem to be going around a blind wall. There are a couple of corners you don’t want to crash on – 22 and 23 would be primary in that where it’s marginal to say the least.
“It’s sketchy in places – dangerous I think is too strong a word – but definitely sketchy.
“This place will bite. In a way this is brilliant towards the end of the season but if I was Red Bull and Mercedes I would be thinking ‘I don’t need the extra jeopardy of this place right now’.”
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