Verstappen and Hamilton go into F1 season finale level on points
The finale to this F1 season is almost here ahead of Abu Dhabi this week and the sport has reached a feverish level after the drama in Saudi Arabia as Lewis Hamilton defeated Max Verstappen to draw level in the battle to become the 2021 F1 world champion.
Hamilton and Verstappen are level on points going into the final race after Hamilton’s chaotic win in Jeddah, which came after the two clashed multiple times including physical contact when Verstappen suddenly slowed under orders to let Hamilton past him, having illegally held on to the race lead earlier in the night. Hamilton was not prepared and ran into the back of his rival, damaging his front wing. Six laps later, Verstappen eventually handed the lead to Hamilton, who went on to win.
The result means Hamilton, chasing his eighth world title, is level on points with Verstappen, hunting his maiden championship of what is sure to be a stellar career in Formula 1. The pair both have 369.5 points and head to this weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi with everything to play for. Follow all the latest news and updates below.
Christian Horner plays down prospect of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen colliding in Abu Dhabi
“I think it’s winner takes all isn’t it?,” Christian Horner said. “Whoever finishes ahead is the world champion, so let’s see. We’ve got one shot at it.
“We’ve got to try and beat Lewis one more time this year. The performance is with them [Mercedes] at the moment, they’ve won three races on the bounce. They’re going to be very, very competitive in Abu Dhabi.
“With the new layout, we expected them here to have a big advantage on us [in Saudi] and we’ve fought hard. We’ve attacked the grand prix and I think that Max was outstanding all weekend.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 10:13
Lewis Hamilton can be ‘very wily’ in F1 track battles, maintains Christian Horner
“I would ask you to look at Lewis’ entrance into the final corner. He pushed Max off the same way,” Red Bull principal Christian Horner says.
“Any driver that’s come through karting or raced in any category, you know that that is hard racing. That’s how these kids have raced throughout their careers.
“Lewis is very wily with the way he does it sometimes. Just look at the last corner when he ran Max out wide there, and there was another corner as well, where he’s opened the steering wheel – I think it was into Turn 1 too.
“These are two guys that are fighting over such fine margins, and pushing it to the boundary. And if you don’t want them to have the ability to run wide, then put a gravel trap over there.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 10:07
Russell learning after ‘big impact’ from Mazepin hit in Jeddah
George Russell has opened up after being hit by Nikita Mazepin and maintains it was a “big impact” inside the cockpit.
“It’s so difficult for all of the drivers,” said Russell. “You come around a corner which is full gas and suddenly there is a car sideways, there’s tyre smoke everywhere, you don’t know what’s about to happen.
“A lot to learn I think from this weekend in terms of these circuits. Incredibly exhilarating, so fast, exciting to drive from a driving perspective… [but] just generally a lot to learn I think.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 09:55
Latifi admits he got ‘lucky’ to avoid accident at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
“Very, very challenging,” Latifi said, having been behind Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc. “Obviously very stop-start so it’s very difficult to keep a rhythm. Starting further towards the back as well is difficult to navigate through the carnage.
“We pitted before the red flag and managed to make up a little bit with the accident, which was very, very close to me being collected in it.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t have more pace. I felt like I was giving it everything. Quite knackered as a result of it, but it wasn’t to be.
“You could see the smoke and the cars checking up but you don’t know exactly which way to move and the second restart, [the crashes were] at the narrowest part of the track there. I think it could have been luck either way.
“Even though I cleared Perez I could have quite easily been ran into from behind, so I think we got quite lucky and fortunate. Just a race to learn from and see what we can do in Abu Dhabi.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 09:46
Red Bull chief apologises over view of Verstappen-Hamilton incident
Red Bull chief Helmut Marko has apologised and admitted he was wrong to suggest that Max Verstappen did not brake in front of Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The controversial and dramatic incident between the Formula One title rivals occurred when Verstappen was ordered to give his lead of the race back to Hamilton after pushing the Mercedes wide following an attack from the seven-time world champion.
Verstappen slowed down on a straight and braked unexpectedly in front of Hamilton, who drove into the back of his Red Bull car. Both drivers suffered damage following the collision but Hamilton was able to retake the lead and hold on to win his third race in a row and go level on points with Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ standings.
Immediately after the race, in which Verstappen was also handed a five-second penalty, Marko claimed that Red Bull had been “treated unfairly”.
Verstappen was subsequently hit with a 10-second penalty after both drivers were called to the stewards following the race and Marko has now backed down from his initial view of the incident.
“At the time of the television interview, I passed on exactly the information I had previously received from the engineers,” Marko told F1 Insider.
“They obviously weren’t right, so I’m sorry.”
Jamie Braidwood8 December 2021 09:45
Wolff rejects accusations Hamilton vs Verstappen is ‘fake’ rivalry
“It’s absolutely genuine because there is so much at stake,” Wolff told the F1 Nation podcast. “It’s ambitious people, ambitious teams that are really fighting tooth and nail for this championship.
“Once you are in that, there’s just no ability in your mind to even create a space for another person. At least for me, I have no negative nor positive emotions [towards Horner] but I’m trying to really stay in that place.
“Sometimes I was carried away when I heard a comment that annoyed me, but only twice this season. The rest is no emotion, neither positive nor negative.
“It is impossible to just have a relationship because there is so much at stake. Everyone is trying to defend the interests of the team. We are very different personalities also, the way we probably perceive the world. And I try to just stay authentic to what I believe is right and he does it his way. Maybe in the future we can have a laugh about it, but not today.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 09:30
Wolff insists Horner respect will return after title fight
“I think we will show respect after the championship is won, either direction,” said the Mercedes team principal on the F1 Nation podcast.
“My expectations have been lower [for winning] since after Mexico – we didn’t even think we would be in the run to the championships.
“In a way, we still have that feeling and I’m nourishing this feeling that we have only to gain. If we were really in that position, I think, as heated as it can be between individuals, I think it will calm down.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 09:20
Albon: Hamilton and Verstappen battle in Jeddah was ‘pinnacle of chaos’
“I think it’s brewing, and in each race it brews more and more and you think, ‘okay, that was a close one’,
“And we’ve had it a few times this year, but this was the pinnacle of – I don’t know what you call it – I feel like it’s kind of chaos, to be honest with you.
“I enjoy it, I think all of us enjoy it, but it seems like a lot of it’s been done in the stewards’ [room] rather than on track.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 08:55
Max Verstappen branded ‘bad sportsman’ after walking off F1 podium without joining celebrations
Verstappen finished second to title rival Lewis Hamilton in Jeddah after a race full of controversy and contention, which included the pair making contact when Verstappen suddenly slowed to let the Briton past under stewards’ orders.
The result meant Hamilton drew level on points with the young Dutchman, who is chasing his first ever world title as Hamilton seeks a record eighth. Their championship fight will be decided in the final race of the season, at Abu Dhabi this weekend.
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 08:22
Marko apologises and accepts Verstappen did brake on Hamilton in Jeddah
“At the time of the television interview, I passed on exactly the information I had previously received from the engineers,” Helmut Marko told f1-insider.com.
“They obviously weren’t right, so I’m sorry.”
The Red Bull advisor initially said: “We feel we have been treated unfairly. We are working to prove Max’s braking pressure did not increase when he crashed with Hamilton,” said the Austrian.
“Hamilton simply misjudged and drove into Max’s car. Unfortunately, that left two big cuts in our rear tyre. That’s why we couldn’t attack anymore.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 08:11