F1's gulf war between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen!

F1’s gulf war between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen!
© Provided by Mid-Day

Lewis Hamilton won a dramatic inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to draw level on points with Red Bull rival Max Verstappen and set up an enticing, winner-takes-all title showdown at the season finale in Abu Dhabi. 

The Dutchman, who leads the standings having won more races, kept his second-place finish despite stewards handing him two time penalties in an evening of crashes, controversy and yet another collision between the title rivals. Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas was third.

“That was incredibly tough,” said Hamilton after his 103rd win and eighth this season.  “I tried to be as sensible and tough as I could be out there, and with all my race experience over the years, just keeping the car on track and staying clean, it was difficult.”

Verstappen penalised

Verstappen, who was handed the first of his penalties—a  five-second sanction for running off the track and keeping the lead while defending against Hamilton—was unhappy. “Luckily the fans have a clear mind about racing because what happened today is unbelievable,” he said over the team radio when told he had been voted Driver of the Day by fans. Verstappen, 24, was later handed a second, 10-second time penalty after stewards deemed him responsible for a collision with Hamilton. The race started off uneventfully, with Hamilton leading Bottas in a Mercedes one-two and Verstappen third. But Mick Schumacher’s 10th-lap crash turned it on its head. The safety car came in. Hamilton and Bottas took the pit for fresh tyres. While they conceded the lead to Verstappen, they were right behind him in the safety car queue, with the Dutchman still to stop. But officials stopped the race. Drivers are allowed to change tyres in a stoppage, so Verstappen got fresh rubber to stay ahead. 

Exciting restart

Hamilton, lining up second at the restart, beat the Red Bull, but Verstappen cut across the Turn 1 run off to get the lead back. Hamilton lost second-place to Esteban Ocon. But behind them Sergio Perez, George Russell and Nikita Mazepin crashed and the race stopped again. At the restart, Verstappen was forced to line up behind Hamilton with Ocon on pole. But the Dutchman dived past Hamilton and seized the lead from Ocon. Hamilton, passing Ocon at the end of the lap, attempted to pass Verstappen  but the Red Bull ran off the track, forcing Hamilton to take evasive action. Ordered to hand the position to Hamilton, Verstappen slowed down in front of him and the Mercedes hit him in the back.

Also Read: Virat Kohli: The Indian team are expected to win everything, but that’s not realistic

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