Former F1 driver Martin Brundle believes that Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas is likely to play more of a role than Red Bull's Sergio Perez during the title run-in, as teammates Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen fight for the crown.
Verstappen arrives at this weekend's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with an eight-point championship lead over Hamilton and can seal the title on Sunday if he extends his advantage to 26 ahead of the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
However, Brundle pointed to their teammates as being a potentially key factor over the final two races, suggesting that Bottas might be able to take some points away from Verstappen, but not Perez over Hamilton.
Bottas can take points from Verstappen
Bottas and Perez have both claimed one victory each in 2021, with the Finn sitting 13 points clear of the Mexican in the standings.
"I honestly think it's possible Valtteri could finish in front of Max more than Sergio could finish in front of Lewis," Brundle is quoted by Autosport.
"I think that might just play into the title. One of these last two races, it's just possible Valtteri will take some points off Max somewhere. And I don't see Sergio taking points off Lewis."
Meanwhile, Mercedes hold a five-point advantage over Red Bull in the Constructors' standings.
Brundle added: "There is 88 points on the table still, so another one that could go either way. It just depends on... I don't know if the Mercedes really flies and Valtteri has one of his on days like in Istanbul, for example, or the Sprint race in Brazil."
"It's been Verstappen's season to lose"
Brundle added that while both drivers would be deserving of the title, he feels Verstappen has suffered a lot of misfortune this season.
"I think both of them deserve it," commented Brundle.
"If you look at laps led, races won so far and all of that, and I think he's [Max] been a little bit more unlucky with the tyre [blowout] in Baku, the result of the contact [with Hamilton] in Silverstone, being skittled [by Bottas] in Hungary.
"Then Lewis got a little bit lucky with his shunt in Imola, where he was a lap behind, [and then] suddenly, you know, finishing second and all that sort of thing.
"But it kind of feels like, season-long, Max has had the best season so far, if you look at the numbers.
"I think either of them deserve it, but it just feels as if it's been Max's to lose, through bad luck or bad judgement or whatever.”
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