After 20 races, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton remain neck and neck in what will go down as an all-time classic F1 season.
Kicking off in Bahrain back in March, before crisscrossing the globe and heading back to the Middle East last weekend with the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix, the campaign has - quite literally - come full circle, with just eight points between the pair.
Ahead of the final two rounds, RacingNews365.com has taken the opportunity to analyse the title rivals' qualifying and race day head-to-heads for the season up to this point, highlighting just how close the battle has been.
Verstappen vs Hamilton in qualifying
|Grand Prix||Circuit length||Top qualifier||Time difference|
|Total||91.330km||Hamilton: 10-8||Hamilton: 0.302s ahead|
*Verstappen did not set a time in qualifying after an engine change / **Hamilton was excluded from qualifying over a rear wing breach
Hamilton has the edge in qualifying
One of the standout points from the list above is that, while Verstappen has claimed nine pole positions to Hamilton's four so far in 2021, the Red Bull driver actually has a worse head-to-head qualifying record.
Indeed, Hamilton has finished ahead of Verstappen in 10 of the 18 one-lap sessions - excluding Russia, where Verstappen opted against setting a time after an engine change, and Brazil, where Hamilton was excluded from Friday qualifying.
In terms of the overall time difference between the pair, Hamilton holds an advantage of 0.302s from 91.330km of running.
Verstappen's biggest single-lap advantage came in Monaco, where he qualified five places and 0.519s clear of Hamilton, who struggled with his car's balance when the temperature dropped from Thursday to Saturday.
Conversely, Hamilton finished 0.597s ahead of Verstappen in Q3 at the Losail International Circuit, with the gap increasing slightly after Verstappen's best lap was deleted for ignoring double waved yellow flags.
Verstappen vs Hamilton on race day
|Grand Prix||Race distance||Top finisher||Time difference|
|Total||4875.541km||Verstappen: 10-7||Verstappen: 31.227s ahead|
*Verstappen pitted within final five laps for fastest lap attempt / **Hamilton pitted within final five laps for fastest lap attempt
Verstappen has been stronger in race trim
While Hamilton has the edge in qualifying trim, it's Verstappen who leads the way on the race day head-to-head.
Incredibly, from the 17 races counted for this analysis, and the 4875.541km covered - little more than the distance between London and the centre of Kazakhstan as the crow flies - there's a difference of only 31.227s between the two drivers.
Verstappen has emerged on top in 10 of the 17 races, with his biggest advantage over Hamilton coming in Monaco, where he finished 1m08.231s in front, as the Mercedes man struggled to make his way through the pack.
On the flip side, Verstappen trailed Hamilton by a whopping 1m17.508s at the Hungaroring, though this came after he was wiped out by Valtteri Bottas at Turn 1 and limped home with significant car damage.
Baku is excluded from the list after Verstappen's late-race tyre failure, while Silverstone (where Verstappen retired) and Monza (where both Verstappen and Hamilton retired) are not counted after the title rivals collided.
What about the Sprint races?
To protect one-lap qualifying times, the results of the three Sprint races have been excluded from the tables above.
However, over the course of the three 30-minute encounters at Silverstone, Monza and Interlagos, Verstappen holds a comfortable advantage.
Verstappen passed Hamilton at the start of the Sprint race in Britain to take the chequered flag by 1.430s; in Italy, he finished 17.686s clear after Hamilton got stuck behind the McLaren drivers; while in Brazil, there was a gap of 19.702s as Hamilton recovered from 20th to fifth.
The only statistic that matters...
Of course, there's only one statistic that matters when the chequered flag drops at the end of the season - Verstappen and Hamilton's respective points tallies.
As it stands, eight points separate Verstappen and Hamilton - in the Dutchman's favour - ahead of the final two rounds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
But whatever happens over the last two qualifying sessions and 108 laps of racing, the 2021 campaign will surely go down as one of the most exciting - and closest - F1 title fights the sport has witnessed since the World Championship began back in 1950.
F1 Podcast: Is it game over for Red Bull after Hamilton's Qatar domination?
Does Lewis Hamilton's recent run of form against Max Verstappen now make him the favourite to claim the title? F1 journalists Dieter Rencken, Thomas Maher and Mike Seymour discuss this and more in the latest episode of the RacingNews365 podcast!