Lewis Hamilton secured a controversial win at the newly introduced F1 2021 Saudi Arabian circuit against rival Max Verstappen, the two drivers are now neck and neck in the Drivers’ Championship.
At the newly introduced narrow streets of Jeddah, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) secured a controversial and dramatic win against his rival Max Verstappen.
The race saw two standing starts, alongside two red flags, five yellow flags and several drivers crashing out – and let’s not forget the team radio arguments!
On multiple occasions, the two rivals, Lewis and Max, almost collided, causing stewards to investigate which would later result in a 10-second time penalty for Verstappen after the race concluded.
The first driver to spin out was Mick Schumacher (Haas) during Lap 10. The Haas driver slammed into the barrier at Turn 23 and was fortunately unharmed. This in turn caused the first safety car of the night, soon resulting in a red flag in order to clean up track debris and fix the broken barriers.
The race would later resume during a Lap 15 standing start, Hamilton lead but was overtaken by Verstappen drove off-track and stole the lead once again.
Meanwhile, two incidents occurred behind the Championship contenders – Nikita Mazepin (Haas) collided with George Russell (Williams) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull) was hit by Charles Leclerc (Ferrari). Due to these incidents, another red flag was soon called.
After debates over which drivers would be top 3 for the second standing start, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) started P1, then Hamilton P2 and Verstappen P3. During said standing start at Lap 17, Verstappen conducted an excellent overtake in the beginning – with help from his newly installed medium compound tyres – down the inside of the Chicane while Hamilton was preoccupied by Ocon.
Between Lap 28 to 36 three other Virtual Safety Cars (VSC) came, giving Hamilton an advantage as he was now within DRS range of Verstappen. During the 36th lap, Hamilton attempted to overtake Verstappen but the Red Bull driver hit the brakes later, causing him to take the turn wide.
Due to this, Max was later instructed to give P1 back to Hamilton. However, as Verstappen slowed, Hamilton became confused and clipped the rear of the Red Bull drivers car, causing front-wing damage to the Mercedes.
The crash has caused controversy on all social media platforms and can arguably be brought down to FIA communication issues.
Eventually, Hamilton overtook Verstappen during Lap 43, pushing the Dutchman wide at Turn 27.
Esteban Ocon however, missed out on a third place podium at the very last second as Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas overtook him on the last straight. The Alpine driver finished P4 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren).
The results were as follows:
|1. Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes-AMG Petronas|
|2. Max Verstappen||Red Bull Racing|
|3. Valtteri Bottas||Mercedes-AMG Petronas|
|4. Esteban Ocon||Alpine|
|5. Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren|
|6. Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri|
|7. Chalres Leclerc||Ferrari|
|8. Carlos Sainz||Ferrari|
|9. Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo|
|10. Lando Norris||McLaren|
|11. Lance Stroll||Aston Martin|
|12. Nicholas Latifi||Williams|
|13. Fernando Alonso||Alpine|
|14. Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri|
|15. Kimi Räikkönen||Alpha Romeo|
|DNF. Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|DNF. Sergio Perez||Red Bull Racing|
|DNF. Nikita Mazepin||Haas|
|DNF. George Russell||Williams|
|DNF. Mick Schumacher||Haas|