Lewis Hamilton Beats Rival Max Verstappen In Dramatic And Controversial Saudi GP

A bitterly-contested race has set up an Abu Dhabi title decider next weekend.
19:57, 05 Dec 2021

Lewis Hamilton has won a breathless Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Mercedes man saw off the challenge of rival Max Verstappen in a race littered with contentious moments and white-knuckle excitement. The Driver’s Championship will now be settled in Abu Dhabi, as both drivers stand on 396.5 points.

With crucial Driver’s Championship points at stake, and Verstappen able to all but take the title going into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, this was always likely to be a bitter battle. But nobody could have foreseen the amount of controversial flashpoints this race was able to provide. 

The first controversy arrived when an 11th lap crash that took Mick Schumacher out of the race gave Verstappen essentially a free tyre change. Hamilton was furious, having only just pitted himself. The race was suspended in order to repair the crash barriers that Schumacher’s car had struck. Hamilton bitterly disputed the stoppage, claiming the wall was not damaged by the crash. 

The restart is where utter chaos reigned, as Verstappen pushed Hamilton’s Mercedes wide and then left the track to overtake him. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon seized the opportunity to then take a brief lead. Meanwhile, another crash occurred further back involving Sergio Perez and Nikita Mazepin. During the resultant stoppage, race director Michael Masi took the unusual step of negotiating with Red Bull, offering Verstappen P3 and threatening a full investigation if he were to refuse. After a long deliberation, the Red Bull team accepted and this most unusual race got its third start of the evening.

Stunningly, Verstappen attacked Hamilton on the inside and immediately re-took first position from the restart. There was more heart-stopping action to be had, as Hamilton looked to take the outside of the Dutchman and there was contact between the cars as Max won the battle. “This guy is ******* crazy man”, remarked Hamilton on his radio.

An infringement led to Verstappen being ordered to give first place back to Hamilton, and even this routine changeover ended up causing a ruckus that will be debated in the coming days. The Red Bull driver slowed down, but kept his car central on the track and braked dramatically. Hamilton smashed into the back of his bitter rival, damaging his front wing. At the second attempt, Max did give up the place, but immediately retook his lead with an unbelievable move.

The Brit re-took the lead on the 44th lap, and did not relinquish it from there, going on to win an utterly bonkers race. With Verstappen coming second, the final race of the season is tensely-poised. Both drivers will go into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 369.5 points. The Red Bull man leads by virtue of more race wins this term. This most brutal of title battles is sure to deliver more drama and controversy as it approaches its final corner.

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