Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen set for title showdown in Abu Dhabi

The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix can be seen on 5 Live and the website.

The most intense title decider in the sport's history will take place this weekend in Abu Dhabi when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton face off for the F1 World Championship.

It's not the most intense, but it's still a pretty tough competition, and it ended in crashes between the participants.

It is the first time since 1974 that two drivers are tied on points at the end of the season. It is the first final race between two drivers from different teams. At the end of the season, there is bitterness and rancour between two teams and drivers pushing to the very limit.

Verstappen and Hamilton have raced hard at many of the grands prix this season.

For most of the year, there was only a war of words between the bosses of the two teams in question, Mercedes' Wolff and Red Bull's Horner.

The race between Hamilton and Verstappen in Saudi Arabia last weekend was a race of controversy and incident.

Hamilton called Verstappen crazy. He said the Dutchman drove as if the rules did not apply to him.

Twice, Verstappen was punished for gaining an advantage by going off the track, and once for dangerous driving, when he was found to have braked hard with Hamilton right behind him, leading to a collision between the two cars.

Hamilton came from behind to win for the second time in three races, taking his third victory in a row. After Verstappen's victory in Mexico last month, he had a 19-point deficit. One of them will win the title in a winner-take-all match.

The title is math and jeopardy.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen are in a tape.

Hamilton and Verstappen are tied on points. Whoever takes the chequered flag first will be the world champion.

If it's Hamilton, it will be his eighth drivers' title, a new record, moving him one clear of Michael Schumacher, with whom he is currently tied. It means the end of seven years of Mercedes domination if it's Verstappen.

It is not as simple as that.

Verstappen has nine wins to Hamilton's eight, so he is still the championship leader. Verstappen will be the champion if they finish the race together.

The idea of a collision potentially deciding this championship has been a very real talking point in F1 for some time now, especially given the ruthlessness with which Verstappen has been driving.

He will never give way even if other drivers agree with the corner being lost. If he is racing with someone, he will turn in on them if he is on the outside, and if he is on the inside, he will push them wide.

If both drivers go off the track in the course of an overtaking move, that is not a reason for a penalty, according to his belief. Verstappen was blamed by the stewards in Jeddah for creating the situation. Many drivers believe that the same decision should have been made at the Sao Paolo Grand Prix two races before, which was not punished.

The incident in Jeddah in which Hamilton ran into the back of Verstappen after the Red Bull driver was ruled to have braked with 69 bar of pressure, causing a force of 2.4g, has added extra jeopardy.

When drivers think the car in front has tried to cause a collision, they level at each other, and that's called a brake test. Verstappen said that he was simply trying to let Hamilton through after race control ordered him to prevent Hamilton from passing him by forcing him wide.

There are echoes of history.

What approach will Verstappen take in Abu Dhabi?

He forced Hamilton off the track in Brazil to keep his position.

He knows that if he does it again, he will be punished, and he did not do it in Jeddah.

There is a chance of a collision beyond that. In 1994 and 1997 he collided with his title rival in the final race of the season, knowing that he would be champion if neither car finished.

The 1994 Australian Grand Prix was the scene of a collision between Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill.

In 1994, it worked. The German won his first world title when his Benetton was out of the race because of Hill's broken front suspension.

It didn't work at Jerez in 1997. The race was over when Schumacher turned in on Villleneuve's Williams. He was able to finish third and become champion.

The incidents have stained the reputation of the man.

Verstappen is aware of this. This writer talked about this in an interview at the Japanese Grand Prix.

This is how the conversation ended.

Verstappen said that it was like [with] overtaking. I'll touch if I have to. It's not always necessary to be in the cleanest way. I don't care if I'm not the most liked person, it's all about winning.

I don't want to sound arrogant. I would do anything to win. I will do it if it's a little dirty but in a hard way. I don't want to be the most-liked person.

I asked him what the line was between hard and dirty in his head.

I would refer to it as dirty. I think they crossed the line. Being on the edge, having a bit of a touch, but a hard fight, is what it is. I'll turn in and we both crash because not the other car is going to overtake me.

Red Bull wants to beat Hamilton this weekend to win the title. How they win is also important.

He says they want to win it on the track. It has been a difficult year. There have been some great races. I hope the race is clean and fair.

The problem is that Hamilton and Verstappen have different views of what "fair and clean" is. There is a lot of jeopardy this weekend.

The teams have gloves on.

Red Bull's Christian Horner and Mercedes' Toto Wolff have had a lot of verbal sparring.

There is no love lost between the teams.

Both Wolff and Horner have spent the season trying to work the rules to their advantage, and both publicly and behind the scenes, in a borderline pantomime-style war of words.

The Mercedes-Benz company complained to the governing body of the sport after they noticed that Red Bull's rear wing was flexing backwards.

Teams have used this trick to reduce drag on the straights. The Red Bull wing was flexing on the straights, but it passed all the tests in the pits.

Red Bull had a small advantage on the straights through the first half of the season, but in the second half of the year, Mercedes has taken the lead.

Red Bull has been pointing their fingers at Mercedes.

They believed they saw Mercedes' wing flexing at the Sao Paolo Grand Prix, and they made a number of visits to the stewards at Interlagos to get them to investigate.

Hamilton's car was thrown out of qualification in Brazil because of a rear wing problem, despite the fact that it was a different problem. He made up 25 places in one and a third race to win the grand prix, a move that led to one of the drives of his career.

The new wing test was introduced at the following race. It was a trial before next year. The Mercedes wing is the same one used in Brazil.

Red Bull's wing was never flexing, as claimed by the world champion. They are angry that they were not allowed to change the wing that got Hamilton disqualified in Brazil because it failed a check because it was damaged, not because of a design issue.

How did they get here?

It seems incredible that this season could have been so close if the teams were using the same cars as last year, when Hamilton and Mercedes dominated.

Their car was affected more by an aerodynamic rule change than most of their competitors.

At the beginning of the season, Mercedes were having trouble with their car. They weren't sure if they would be able to compete for the title. Hamilton has spoken of how demanding it has been to get the car back into a place where it can be competitive.

Red Bull has been talking about the achievement they have made in getting onto level terms with Mercedes at last.

Since Mercedes introduced the last big upgrade to their car at the British Grand Prix, there has been a clear trend in their favour, at least in terms of one-lap pace.

Red Bull have begun to say how this will have been a good season for them, win or lose on Sunday.

"We're a team that goes for it, and that's what we're doing," he said. We are going to Abu Dhabi with the same number of wins as we have points.

If you'd given us a chance to win the championship at the last race equal to points, we would all have bitten your arm off. I think you guys would have too.