Aspiring screenwriters should sit down to put the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship race between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton to film. It should pay homage to the 2013 film “Rush,” which chronicles the 1976 rivalry between McLaren’s James Hunt and Ferrari’s Niki Lauda.
Like all good dramas, the first act sets up the characters. In the second act, the heroes fall into a desperate situation. In the third act, they escape. That’s the genre, and the 2021 F1 circuit certainly had enough drama to produce a compelling sports period piece.
Act I: Starring Max Verstappen and co-starring Lewis Hamilton
As the protagonist, Max Verstappen played the up-and-coming, win-at-all-cost main character. He was the youngster challenging the establishment, a bold youth not intimidated by accomplishing something beyond his years.
As the fourth-youngest F1 champion of all time, Verstappen did not back down from the intimidating presence of the antagonist, Lewis Hamilton, who played an Oscar-worthy villain.
The seven-time F1 champion appeared to be driving on a red carpet to his record eighth title. In the lead on the 58th and final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 12, Hamilton was moments from stealing the show.
Then came the plot twist.
Along Turn 5, Verstappen dived to the inside of Hamilton’s machine, capturing the lead and bringing down the curtain with a triumphant bow.
Act II: Verstappen clashes with Hamilton as he begins his comeback
Verstappen’s victory didn’t come without a series of cross-cuts. For most of the 2021 F1 events, Verstappen and Hamilton were centerstage. The quick-cut scenes constantly transitioned between the two star-crossed characters.
Verstappen earned podium finishes during 18 of 22 F1 events. Hamilton was credited with 17 podiums. Both drivers were rarely out of the camera’s eye. Hamilton registered 21 top 10 finishes and Verstappen 19.
But like all cinematic heroes in the middle act, Verstappen experienced what appeared to be an impossible challenge. That, of course, was Hamilton rallying from a 19-point deficit in the three races after the Mexico City GP on Nov. 7. The co-stars entered the finale even with 369.5 points.
The ultimate showdown loomed with Verstappen wearing the symbolic white helmet and Hamilton donning the black helmet, the classic good vs. evil climatic ending.
Act III: Hamilton calls finish ‘rigged,’ and hints at retirement
Screenwriters will have to save a bulk of their scripts for the final confrontation, beginning with an establishing shot of the garage areas after Verstappen passed Hamilton for the victory.
Conflict escalated. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammates cried foul and issued a series of objections. Hamilton, who hinted at retirement, said the conclusion was “rigged,” according to dailymail.co.uk, but the closing, extreme closeup went to Verstappen holding his first F1 championship trophy.
Will there be a sequel?