The reality is that Verstappen is no more likely to coldly, deliberately, take out his title rival than Hamilton. He is not made up like that. Sure, he is super-hard and no-compromise in battle, but there is none of the cynical Prost or entitled Senna about either of the current title duellists. They don’t have that darkness within them. They will absolutely fight right up to the margins between fair play and foul, but they don’t cross them. In Verstappen’s early days he wasn’t averse to moving in the braking area (or on the straight at Spa against Kimi Räikkönen), but he’s matured further since then and to imagine either of them taking aim at the other and cynically, deliberately crashing in the way of Senna – Suzuka 1990 or Schumacher – Jerez ’97, is unthinkable. They just won’t. It won’t happen like that.
But a collision could still happen. If we look at the Silverstone or Monza incidents between them, neither was a calculated ‘take the other guy off’ move. It was both refusing to compromise, being unwilling to back down. This is where it could get tricky in the final round showdown scenario. Because the guy behind on points absolutely cannot afford to have any sort of incident – and if that guy is in front in the race, the dynamics of the situation are obvious: his rival will be able to risk more in any move. That’s not the same as deliberately taking the other guy out. But whoever is ahead on points can be more aggressive in his moves. If the points gap is sufficiently small there could even be a situation where the driver behind in the race must make a move to win and the driver ahead absolutely cannot allow him to pull that move off.
There can still be contact without it being a foul. The guy behind is perfectly entitled to use intimidation in any move, to put the outcome of contact/no contact in the hands of the other guy. The guy in front is, in turn, perfectly entitled to not yield. And like that, two hard-headed competitors may collide. But there’s a fine, but very important, distinction between that and plain driving into the other car.
So yes, there is no guarantee this title will not be decided controversially. But it will not be because one has cynically and crassly decided to crash into the other. That’s just Toto trying to build a bit of insurance in his favour into the situation.