By Matt Gallagher

Only five races remain in the Formula One season as Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton rivalry hots up.

The Dutchman holds a 12-point lead having won last time out in Austin.

Verstappen is favourite to claim his first World Championship.

Red Bull are expected to be strongest in Mexico and Brazil, but can they take advantage?

If Hamilton can keep the points gap to his rival at a reasonable distance, then the pendulum could switch.

Mercedes-Benz should be stronger for the three races in the Middle East.

Neither driver can suffer any costly problems now until the end of the season.

However, the Englishman is expected to have to take another ICE engine component at a forthcoming race.

This would result in a five-place grid penalty.

In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes still have a large lead of 23 points to Red Bull.

But with Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez gathering form with two podiums in the last two races, Red Bull’s confidence will have certainly increased that they can claw back the gap.

(Photo by PIXNIO)