Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive

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Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: In a dramatic Hamilton vs Verstappen title race, reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton pipped Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in a dramatic race to keep his 8th World title hopes alive. The win and the fastest lap meant he has equalled Max’s tally of 369.5 points and the season finale Abu Dhabi GP will decide the Drivers’ World Champion. Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas managed the final podium. Follow Saudi Arabian Formula 1 GP live updates on InsideSport

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive


Formula 1: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas take Abu Dhabi track with aim to break year-long record

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive

Hamilton led Bottas and Verstappen – who shrugged off his qualifying crash – at the start but on Lap 10, Mick Schumacher spun and hit the Turn 23 barriers. The Safety Car soon turned into a red flag, crucially giving Verstappen a free stop in the pits, while the Mercedes had stopped under yellows.

The Lap 15 standing start saw Hamilton lead, but Verstappen went wide and off-track at the first chicane, cutting back across Hamilton, who dropped to P3 behind Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (who also enjoyed a red flag tyre change and the subsequent advantage). However, there were two separate incidents behind in which Sergio Perez was collected by Charles Leclerc and Nikita Mazepin collided with George Russell – so another red flag was called.

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive

A cacophony of bargaining calls by the Red Bull and Mercedes pitwalls followed but the Lap 17 restart would see Ocon start ahead of Hamilton then Verstappen in P3. In that restart, the Dutchman made a terrific move using his brand-new medium compounds down the inside of the opening chicane for the lead while Hamilton found himself impeded by Ocon, who like Verstappen missed the Turn 2 apex, passing the Alpine a lap later.

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Three Virtual Safety Car periods followed from Lap 28 to Lap 36 after which Hamilton was in DRS range of Verstappen. The Mercedes driver attempted a move on Lap 36 on the main straight but the Dutchman braked too late for comfort, running wide at Turn 2 and retaining the lead. He was instructed to give P1 back and on Lap 37 the Red Bull driver slowed – only for Hamilton to get caught off guard and clip the rear of his rival, taking front-right wing damage.

Cue more calls to race control from Red Bull and Mercedes. Meanwhile, Hamilton closed in and looked to get past the Red Bull on Lap 42 but Verstappen pushed him wide and continued on. This time, the stewards stepped in and put a five-second time penalty on the championship leader.

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive

Hamilton came across Verstappen at the final corner on Lap 43 and pushed him wide at Turn 27, taking the lead and putting in fastest laps to boot for an eventual winning margin of 10s over his rival – equalling the championship points tally.

Ocon, who had benefitted from a stop during the first red flag, missed out on a podium by just a tenth of a second having lost P3 right on the line at the chequered flag. That put the Alpine driver fourth ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of McLaren, who started 11th but enjoyed a rapid start and a red-flag pit stop for P5.

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In sixth was Pierre Gasly, who lost places at the start but made them back in the second race restart for AlphaTauri – keeping the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in P7 and P8 respectively.

Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP: Lewis Hamilton pips Max Verstappen in dramatic race to keep 8th World Championship hopes alive

Antonio Giovinazzi started 10th but ended up ninth ahead of Lando Norris, who started on softs but pitted during the first Safety Car to end the race on hard tyres.

Abu Dhabi hosts the season finale, and with Hamilton having taken 26 points to Verstappen’s 18 here, the championship protagonists are now equal on 369.5 points. But the fallout from Jeddah may well continue through the night, with the stewards set to investigate Hamilton and Verstappen’s Turn 27 tussle after the race.

Formula 1 2021 Drivers’ World Championships:

POS DRIVER NATIONALITY CAR PTS
1 Max Verstappen NED RED BULL RACING HONDA 369.5
2 Lewis Hamilton GBR MERCEDES 369.5
3 Valtteri Bottas FIN MERCEDES 218
4 Sergio Perez MEX RED BULL RACING HONDA 190
5 Charles Leclerc MON FERRARI 158
6 Lando Norris GBR MCLAREN MERCEDES 154
7 Carlos Sainz ESP FERRARI 149.5
8 Daniel Ricciardo AUS MCLAREN MERCEDES 115
9 Pierre Gasly FRA ALPHATAURI HONDA 100
10 Fernando Alonso ESP ALPINE RENAULT 77
11 Esteban Ocon FRA ALPINE RENAULT 72
12 Sebastian Vettel GER ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 43
13 Lance Stroll CAN ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 34
14 Yuki Tsunoda JPN ALPHATAURI HONDA 20
15 George Russell GBR WILLIAMS MERCEDES 16
16 Kimi Räikkönen FIN ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 10
17 Nicholas Latifi CAN WILLIAMS MERCEDES 7
18 Antonio Giovinazzi ITA ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 3
19 Mick Schumacher GER HAAS FERRARI 0
20 Robert Kubica POL ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 0
21 Nikita Mazepin RAF HAAS FERRARI 0

 

Formula 1 2021 Constructors’ World Championship:

POS TEAM PTS
1 MERCEDES 587.5
2 RED BULL RACING HONDA 559.5
3 FERRARI 307.5
4 MCLAREN MERCEDES 269
5 ALPINE RENAULT 149
6 ALPHATAURI HONDA 120
7 ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 77
8 WILLIAMS MERCEDES 23
9 ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 13
10 HAAS FERRARI 0

 

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