I’ll admit it: Before working at Jalopnik, I had never seen a Formula 1 race. Since starting here, I still haven’t seen one. In fact, I just had to lean around my computer monitor here at the office to ask our own Owen Bellwood whether you’re allowed to spell it “Formula One.” I am a neophyte to these ways, and that makes me perfect for developing new F1 strategies. Fresh eyes, as they say.
While I’m a stranger to F1, I do think I have some qualifications that will be relevant here. I’ve heard both the name “Lewis Hamilton” and “Max Verstappen” before, and I’ve been informed by my coworkers that they’re exactly tied in points for the championship. I made a thousand-horsepower open-wheel Ariel Atom in Forza Horizon 5 once, which feels is pretty close to an F1 car. Suffice to say, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this, the first(?) and most historic(??) Formula series.
In many forms of motorsport, finishing the race before your competitors means winning. I mainly pay attention to Formula Drift, where this is absolutely not the case, but Formula 1 feels like one of those “be faster than the other guy” series. When the checkered flag goes down, Verstappen can win by reaching it before Hamilton.
In racing, tire management is key. If Verstappen finds himself running low on grip, he needs to not do that. C’mon, man, I just told you it was key. Less traction means lower corner speeds, and that can leave prime opportunities for passing. Which leads to my next point:
Now, this one is a more subtle strategy, but it’s no less important than the first two. This one is all about getting into the mind of your opponent, figuring out how they think, and then not letting them put their car in front of yours. F1 cars look like they’re pretty wide, so Verstappen should be able to use that to his advantage and not leave Hamilton room on the track. Wait, is this race on a track or a street circuit?
If Verstappen keeps these three strategies in mind, he could steal the title right out from under Hamilton’s nose. Unless Hamilton starts ahead, then things change. Shit. The point is, he can win.