Hamilton wins crazy, twice-halted Saudi GP to go equal on points with Verstappen

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton
Lars Baron

Lewis Hamilton won a crazy, twice-halted Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday to send the Formula One world championship into a winner-takes-all final showdown with the Mercedes driver and Red Bull's Max Verstappen level on points.

There were crashes, safety cars, red flags, claims of dirty driving after Hamilton hit the back of Verstappen's suddenly slowing car, penalties, collisions and extraordinary exchanges between race director Michael Masi and the top two teams.

Seven-times world champion Hamilton took the bonus point for fastest lap to level with Verstappen on 369.5 points after 21 races.



The final round of the season is at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina next weekend.

Verstappen, who finished second with Valtteri Bottas third for Mercedes, leads 9-8 on wins, however - meaning that the Dutch 24-year-old will be champion if neither score another point.

"I tried to be as tough as I could be out there but also sensible and with all my race experience over the years, just keeping the car on track and staying clean," said Hamilton after his 103rd career win.

The Briton started on pole but twice lost out to Verstappen at standing re-starts. The Dutch driver was eventually ordered to hand back the lead, after going wide as Hamilton tried to pass, but when he slowed Hamilton ran into the back of him - accusing his rival of 'brake-testing' him.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner defended his driver: "I don't know why he ran into the back of you like that, it made no sense," he said over the radio.

Stewards handed Verstappen a five second time penalty but Hamilton rendered that irrelevant by overtaking seven laps from the end. Mercedes were angry with Masi, saying they had not been given time to inform Hamilton that Verstappen had been told to give the place back, and Verstappen was also furious.

"What happened today is unbelievable and this sport is more about penalties than racing. For me, this is not Formula One," said the Dutchman, who was awarded Driver of the Day in a fan vote.

"That was spectacular but not a good race," said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Brought to you by
Voting Booth
Which of these factors are prohibiting you from buying an electric vehicle as your next car?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Prices should be more affordable
16% - 212 votes
Our unreliable electricity source
10% - 130 votes
There's not enough charging infrastructure
10% - 137 votes
All of the above
64% - 867 votes
Vote