Saudi Arabian Grand Prix LIVE: F1 result as Hamilton beats Verstappen after rivals collide in chaotic F1 race

·38 min read

Lewis Hamilton claimed a crucial pole position for this evening’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen as the F1 title race took another twist.

The Red Bull driver was poised to leapfrog his Mercedes rival before a stunning crash confirmed the seven-time word champion at the front of the grid in what promises to be a historic race in Jeddah.

Now the Briton, who admitted his pride at gaining an edge over his title rival in qualification, hopes to maintain his advantage and either close the Belgian-Dutch driver’s eight-point lead or eliminate it entirely should he also seize the bonus point for the fastest lap. It promises to be a race packed with thrills and spills as the Formula 1 season arrives at its penultimate race before the finale in Abu Dhabi. It is imperative that Hamilton wins here, with Verstappen able to move towards the brink of title glory with a win, as it would stretch his lead enough that only significant trouble could prevent him from winning even if the Mercedes star wins the final race in Abu Dhabi.

And after what was a rare mistake from Verstappen in a dramatic qualifying session, he admitted: “Of course it’s terrible. It was a good qualifying. I knew the pace was there, I don’t really understand what happened but I locked up, clipped the wall and had to stop. P3 is a bit disappointing but the car is quick and let’s see what we can do in the race.”

Follow live race updates from Jeddah, reaction and analysis as the F1 season rumbles on:

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • Lewis Hamilton on pole, with Valtteri Bottas second and Max Verstappen third

  • F1 title permutations: How Verstappen can clinch Drivers’ World Championship at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • F2 race suspended after frightening crash

  • Verstappen takes lead as Hamilton pits with safety car on track

  • Red flag stops race and offers Verstappen advantage

  • Wild restart sees Perez, Russell and Mazepin crash out – as second red flag is waved

  • Chaos continues as rivals collide in bizarre incident

  • Hamilton retakes the lead after Verstappen appears to let him past

Lewis Hamilton wins Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:50 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen:

“It was quite eventful. A lot of things happened that I didn’t agree with, but it is what it is. Still, second.

“It will be decided in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully we have a good weekend. Let’s see.”

Lewis Hamilton wins Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!

19:48 , Jamie Braidwood

“Get in there Lewis, that was the craziest race I remember, but your cool head won the day!” Pete Bonington tells Hamilton.

Hamilton is on a run of three wins in a row. Now time for the drivers’ interviews.

Lewis Hamilton wins Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!

19:46 , Jamie Braidwood

Incredible celebrations from the Mercedes team as Hamilton leaps into their arms in the paddock.

He won after two and a half hours of racing!

Lewis Hamilton wins Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!

19:45 , Jamie Braidwood

“I think Verstappen needs to take a look at his driving,” says Martin Brundle. “That was too much.”

Here’s how we stand. Absolutely incredible.

=1) Verstappen - 369.5

=1) Hamilton - 369.5

LEWIS HAMILTON WINS SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX

19:40 , Jamie Braidwood

Hamilton and Verstappen are going to be level on points heading into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix!

And Bottas pips Ocon to the podium at the line!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - FINAL LAP

19:40 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 50/50: It’s going to be win number 102 for Hamilton - and surely none have been more chaotic than this one.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:38 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 49/50: Lewis Hamilton is going to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - but that’s only the start of the drama. Can you imagine what these drivers and principle interviews are going to be like?

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:36 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 47/50: “Keep off the kerbs, Lewis.”

Hamilton’s front wing is almost hanging off his car and there was debris flying as he kissed the wall!

He’s six seconds up on Verstappen so he just has to nurse this home now.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:35 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 46/50: Hamilton has a broken front wing - but he’s continuing to set an impressive pace. There are all sorts of radio messaging and complaints flying around. Verstappen has dropped off the pace significantly. His tyres seem done and Red Bull are considering pulling him in to go for the fastest lap.

But can they risk that with Ocon behind and the five-second penalty?

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:32 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 45/50: “You didn’t need to do that, Max,” Red Bull tell Verstappen. He had surely slowed down there.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:31 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 44/50: AND NOW HAMILTON RETAKES THE LEAD!

He makes the same move around the outside and Hamilton leads with six laps to go! Was Verstappen letting him past though?

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 43/50: Oh my goodness, it’s all happening! After being ordered to give the place back, Verstappen lets Hamilton past before immediately attacking him up the inside!

Verstappen has been handed a five-second penalty for a the earlier incident!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:25 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 40/50: Absolute carnage. Verstappen now has a 2.4s second lead over Hamilton.

Hamilton is told that Red Bull have been ordered to give the place back.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:23 , Jamie Braidwood

“It’s just dangerous driving, dude.” Hamilton says.

And Verstappen is being investigated by the stewards.

Both cars are still out there and Verstappen remains out in front.

It’s unclear what the damage was on the two cars.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:21 , Jamie Braidwood

VERSTAPPEN AND HAMILTON COLLIDE!

This is unbelievable! Verstappen had been told to slow down to give the place back to Hamilton. He dropped his pace in the middle of the track - Hamilton wasn’t expecting it and he rammed into the back of him!

Toto Wolff is absolutely livid - smashing his headphones of his desk. What is going on?!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:20 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 36/50: Hamilton is pushing so hard now - and he attacks down the outside of Turn 1! Hamilton had the pace and went for the move and there’s contact between the rivals! Verstappen stays ahead!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:19 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 35/50: Hamilton had just set another fastest lap and was down to about 0.5s when the VSC was confirmed. There was a large piece of debris on the track - but it doesn’t last for long and we’re back racing.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:17 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 34/50: Hamilton sets a new fastest lap as the championship rivals continue to set a remarkable pace out at the front of the field.

But wait, there’s more debris on the track!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Green flag!

19:14 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 33/50: Verstappen jumps Raikkonen at the green flag, but Hamilton isn’t so lucky and is briefly held up before he is able to make the pass.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:13 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 33/50: Verstappen is fuming again, this time with Raikkonen, who has slowed down and has been caught up by the leaders. The Red Bull is annoyed because he can’t overtake Raikkonen under the VSC, which allows Hamilton to come back into it.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:11 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 32/50: This is undoubtedly helping Red Bull and Verstappen, as the cars continue to make their way around the circuit under the VSC.

It not only whittles down some laps but it helps him look after his tyres in preparation of another assault from Hamilton.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:07 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 29/50: And there’s the Virtual Safety Car, which drops Verstappen and Hamilton’s speed by 40%.

Alonso: “We need a safety car. The track is in the worst condition its been all weekend.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:05 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 28/50: The gap between Hamilton and Verstappen is fluctuating between about 0.5s and 1.5s, depending on the part of the track.

There’s a lot of debris still out on the track.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:02 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 26/50: Tsunoda is handed a five-second penalty for colliding with Vettel, whose car is damaged. Debris is falling off his car. “Come on guys, ****”.

Oh, that actually seems to have come from a separate collision with Raikkonen.

19:02 , Jack Rathborn

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

19:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 25/50: Hamilton goes fastest ahead as he closes in on Verstappen. Alonso took a spin but was able to save his car from hitting the wall.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Green flag

18:59 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 24/50: Tsunoda was able to limp back to the pits to change his front wing - and we’re off! Hamilton closes the gap to Verstappen to 1.1s, but the Red Bull was quick off the restart.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - YELLOW FLAG

18:58 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 23/50: Tsunoda puts his car into the wall and we have yellow flags! It’s only going to be a Virtual Safety Car, though, as he didn’t damage the barriers. The contact came via a collision with Vettel.

18:58 , Jack Rathborn

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - YELLOW FLAG

18:57 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 23/50: Tsunoda puts his car into the wall and we have yellow flags! It’s only going to be a Virtual Safety Car, though, as he didn’t damage the barriers. The contact came via a collision with Vettel.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:54 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 22/50: Wow - this pace from Mercedes is impressive. Hamilton is closing the gap to Verstappen to about 0.5s on the long straight next to the pits. He’s in striking distance, but a sloppy first sector has dropped him back slightly.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:52 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 21/50: False alarm, maybe. Red Bull assure Verstappen that his battery was recharging. Hamilton is so fast right now, though, and is back to within 1.0s of Verstappen.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:51 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 20/50: “Lack of power,” says Max Verstappen.

What does that mean?!

Hamilton just clocked 0.2s faster than Verstappen on the last lap.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:50 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 19/50: And now, finally, we’re back racing. Verstappen leads by 1.5s but Hamilton has clocked the fastest lap of the race after managing to get past Ocon.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:48 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 18/50: Hamilton springs back ahead of Ocon in the straight. But what an incredible restart from Verstappen. He saw the narrowest of gaps up the inside of Hamilton and hugged the wall to make the move. Incredible driving.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - LIGHTS OUT!

18:45 , Jamie Braidwood

VERSTAPPEN TAKES HAMILTON UP THE INSIDE!

WHAT A MOVE!

Ocon is pushed wide but he stays ahead of Hamilton, who is third!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Standing start!

18:43 , Jamie Braidwood

We go again. There will be another standing start - a brave call after the chaos of last time!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:41 , Jamie Braidwood

Ok, time for take three. Verstappen once again leads the cars out of the pits before letting Ocon and Hamilton through. Ocon leads!

Will we go for the standing restart again? Surely not.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:38 , Jamie Braidwood

So after that game of Deal or No Deal, the new top three is Ocon, Hamilton and Verstappen. Daniel Ricciardo is up to fourth after Bottas locked up at the restart. Lando Norris is running in last after having to avoid contact in the crashes.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:33 , Jamie Braidwood

Red Bull: “We’ll accept that. We understand the order is Ocon, Hamilton, Verstappen.”

Masi: “Yes.”

Red Bull: “Are you having a look at Bottas dropping off and Hamilton at the restart?”

Masi: “Yes we are.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:31 , Jamie Braidwood

Race director Michael Masi has offered Red Bull P3, which would drop him behind Hamilton, after what happened in the restart.

Red Bull are going to think about whether to accept it - if they don’t they could leave themselves open to the a penalty from the stewards.

It’s all a bit confusing. Masi originally offered Red Bull P2, before he realised he had made a mistake and hadn’t considered Ocon.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:27 , Jamie Braidwood

Mazepin could do nothing about the crash. A couple of cars made contact ahead of him and he was unsighted as shunted into the back of George Russell. That’s why so many drivers were concerned about this track being too dangerous ahead of the Grand Prix, there was no space and no time for him to react.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:25 , Jamie Braidwood

There is so much to unpack from that restart:

Hamilton made the better start and led Verstappen into the first corner - but then the Red Bull forced Hamilton wide.

“He’s cut across the whole kerb and re-passed me behind the white line,” Hamilton says.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - RED FLAG

18:22 , Jamie Braidwood

Can you believe what is happening here?! There’s a huge crash further back after Perez spins and Mazepin smashes into the wall. He’s out of the car and looks ok.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - LIGHTS OUT (AGAIN!)

18:20 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 15/50: HAMILTON NIPS AHEAD OF VERSTAPPEN BUT HE’S PUSHED WIDE!

Verstappen comes back, and then Ocon jumps Hamilton!

And there’s a HUGE CRASH further back - it’s another red flag!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Standing start!

18:19 , Jamie Braidwood

Confirmation that it will be a standing restart - so Verstappen will come under pressure from Hamilton at the first corner!

“Why is the safety car driving so slow?” Verstappen complains. “Lewis is further back than 10 cars,” he adds. “This is not allowed!”

There is so much tension out there.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:16 , Jamie Braidwood

Verstappen leads the way as the cars slowly emerge from the pit-lane for the second formation lap of the race.

“He [Verstappen] just did a practice start from the pit lane,” Hamilton says.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: RED FLAG

18:14 , Jamie Braidwood

Mercedes are expecting that all the cars who are now on new hard tyres (including Verstappen) to run until the end of the race.

“The main thing for now is pressure him,” Mercedes tell Hamilton.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: RED FLAG

18:13 , Jamie Braidwood

We’re just a few minutes from restart - but we still don’t know for sure how they’ll be doing it.

A standing restart is the expectation.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: RED FLAG

18:10 , Jamie Braidwood

Hamilton: “That’s unbelievable, man. James [Vowles, Mercedes chief strategist], that was a big gamble they just took because we were right behind them. That doesn’t even make sense.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:06 , Jack Rathborn

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: RED FLAG

18:06 , Jack Rathborn

The flurry of pit stops shook up the top 10 before the red flag. Here’s how things stand, while we await confirmation of how the race will restart. It will be restarting in 10 minutes - so 18:15 GMT.

1. Verstappen

2. Hamilton

3. Bottas

4. Ocon

5. Ricciardo

6. Leclerc

7. Gasly

8. Perez

9. Sainz

10. Giovinazzi

RED FLAG

18:01 , Jamie Braidwood

Tensions are running high, that’s for sure.

Hamilton: “Why it is red flag. The tyre wall looks fine. ****. Find out what the reason for the red flag is.

“Have they said what the reason is? That’s unbelievable man. The tyre wall looks fine.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:59 , Jack Rathborn

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RED FLAG

17:57 , Jamie Braidwood

This is HUGE. The race has been suspended in order to fix the safety barriers following Schumacher’s crash.

It basically means that Verstappen gets a free tyre change, with Hamilton and Bottas having already pitted during the safety car.

“Does this mean he can change tyres?” Hamilton asks his team radio. “Unfortunately, yes it does,” is the reply.

17:57 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 13/50: Verstappen isn’t happy, either, with the pace of the safety car. He wants it to go faster.

17:55 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 12/50: Schumacher lost control of his car at the apex and hit the barriers side on. He’s out of the race but Haas say he is OK.

17:53 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 12/50: And look at this: Valtteri Bottas appeared to significantly drop off the pace before he pitted, slowing Verstappen down.

“Look at his pace - that shouldn't be allowed,” Verstappen says on the Red Bull radio.

The reply from Horner contained lots of swear words.

17:51 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 11/50: Now this could be big! Schumacher has crashed out of the Grand Prix and that triggers a wave of pit stops as the safety car comes out!

Hamilton pits from the lead, and Bottas joins, but Verstappen stays out! The Red Bull is now in the lead, but it that a missed opportunity from him to pit now?

17:49 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 10/50: Hamilton extends his lead over Bottas to four seconds now. The top five is still as you were:

1) Hamilton

2) Bottas

3) Verstappen

4) Leclerc

5) Perez

17:46 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 8/50: So far, so good for Hamilton. He’s how he stayed in front of Bottas and Verstappen to start this Grand Prix.

17:43 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 5/50: But that’s immediately traded back to Hamilton, who is starting to settle down into the race and now has a three-second lead over Verstappen.

17:41 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 4/50: Bottas sets the fastest lap of the race so far to remain in touch with Hamilton.

17:40 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 3/50: Leclerc comes under some pressure from Perez in the battle for fourth. Red Bull need to get Verstappen’s teammate into the mix.

Hamilton holds 1.3s over Bottas, who is 1.4s ahead of Verstappen. DRS is now enabled.

17:37 , Jamie Braidwood

Lap 2/50: Hamilton remains a second ahead of Bottas, who is staying close to his teammate. That will help him defend from Verstappen.

17:36 , Jamie Braidwood

LAP 1: It’s a clean start, with all 20 cars making it through. The top five is as you were but Norris has jumped a couple of places.

LIGHTS OUT!

17:34 , Jamie Braidwood

AND HAMILTON LEADS INTO THE FIRST CORNER!

It’s a brilliant start from Mercedes and Bottas stays ahead of Verstappen too!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:32 , Jamie Braidwood

The formation lap is underway - just seconds away from lights out!

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:28 , Jamie Braidwood

We are MOMENTS away from the latest instalment in this thrilling Formula One season.

The championship could be won in Saudi Arabia tonight, but Lewis Hamilton starts on pole and is primed to cut Max Verstappen’s title lead ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next week.

You do not want to miss this.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:20 , Jamie Braidwood

Toto Wolff: “[Red Bull] had tremendous pace and deserved pole but [Verstappen] made a mistake. One-two was great for us.

“If it stays like this until the end then it’s all wide open for Abu Dhabi.

It feels so great [to have a title fight] because this is why we are racing. We are privileged to be in a fight and feel the butterflies - I love it.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:18 , Jamie Braidwood

George Russell: “I’m excited - you can’t afford to go a millimetre out of line.

“I don’t think it will be easy to overtake on this track but hopefully we can do some racing

“It’s like you’re on the fastest rollercoaster of your life and you can’t afford to make a mistake.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:14 , Jamie Braidwood

Carlos Sainz had a disappointing qualifying result yesterday and the Ferrari driver is prepared to play the long game as he lines up in P15.

"Quite a bit of work to do,” he tells Sky Sports. “Hopefully I can translate into good race pace and make a comeback. I've been good from the back lately. It's a difficult balance to find, I need to be on the attack, in the points with a good race. I need to pace myself and find the balance."

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:09 , Jamie Braidwood

Red Bull boss Christian Horner on the decision to not replace Verstappen’s gearbox:

“It’s passed all the tests. We have confidence in our measurements, in our tools, and in the analysis that we have.

“We’ve got to go for it. Max can still see his rival just ahead of him. He’s been driving beautifully this weekend and it was a great shame he couldn’t complete that lap.

“There’s a lot of racing to be done.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

17:07 , Jamie Braidwood

Red Bull: “Everything ok to the grid, Max?”

Verstappen: “Yep.”

Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey provides a few more details to Sky Sports, and there is a hint of a suggestion here that there is some concern about Verstappen’s gearbox heading into the race.

"As far as we can tell yes [it’s going to be OK],” he says. “Fingers and toes crossed for everything."

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

16:59 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen’s gearbox passes its first early test as the Red Bull makes its way around the track on its formation lap.

He starts P3 and the fact that he has avoided taking a five-place grid penalty means the starting grid is as follows:

1. Hamilton | 2. Bottas

3. Verstappen | 4. Leclerc

5. Perez | 6. Gasly

7. Norris | 8. Tsunoda

9. Ocon | 10. Giovinazzi

11. Ricciardo | 12. Raikkonen

13. Alonso | 14. Russell

15. Sainz | 16. Latifi

17. Vettel | 18. Stroll

19. Schumacher | 20. Mazepin

F1 paddock honours Frank Williams

16:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Just moments ago, the entire F1 paddock came together with former drivers such as Sir Jackie Stewart to pay tribute to Sir Frank Williams, who died last week at the age of 79.

The founder of the Williams F1 team was a true pioneer in the sport and his impact and legacy is being celebrated this weekend in the first Grand Prix since his death.

BREAKING: No gearbox change for Verstappen

16:34 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen has not been forced to change his gearbox following his crash in qualifying yesterday and the Red Bull driver will therefore line up third on the grid.

The FIA have confirmed that several parts and parameters on Verstappen’s car have been replaced or changed following qualifying, in which he hit the wall at speed on the final corner.

The list of changes does not include his gearbox, however, which would have resulted in a five-place gird penalty.

F2 Feature Race suspended after frightening crash

16:30 , Jamie Braidwood

The Formula 2 Feature Race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was suspended following a frightening collision between Theo Pourchaire and Enzo Fittipaldi on the start line.

After Pourchaire stalled at the start of the race, an un-sighted Fittipaldi shunted into the back of his car at speed. The drivers were immediately attended to by emergency and medical crews and Formula 2 have confirmed they were conscious when they were transferred to hospital.

“The drivers were conscious and extricated by the attending medical crews. Both have been transferred by ambulance and helicopter to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital, Jeddah,” F2 said in a statement.

More here:

Enzo Fittipaldi airlifted to hospital after horror F2 crash in Saudi Arabia

Jeddah’s controversial circuit ripe for drama in first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

16:13 , Jamie Braidwood

As if the F1 title race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen wasn’t exciting enough, how about throwing a brand-new, wickedly quick street circuit into the mix?

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas called it “extreme”. Red Bull boss Christian Horner called it “insane”. Dangerous might be another word: drivers have talked this week about the importance of hugging the apex of its many fast corners, but that means skirting perilously close to the wall. “It’s going to be very high speed and not much run-off,” said Damon Hill this week. “It’s high risk, high jeopardy.”

This is the Jeddah Corniche Circuit - “Like Suzuka with walls.”

‘Like Suzuka with walls’: Jeddah’s controversial street circuit ripe for drama

Martin Brundle: Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen has feel of ‘changing of the guard'

15:55 , Jack Rathborn

Martin Brundle agrees this world title race has the feel of a changing of the guard: “I do, but one guard doesn’t want to move over, does he?

“Lewis is 37 in January and he’s got all the glory, all the money. I think I described it as a trophy warehouse he must have by now – it’s not a room, is it, or a cabinet?

“He still seems to have all the same motivation and work ethic, work-rate and determination I’ve ever seen him have.”

The Formula 2 field starts their feature race of Round 7 in Jeddah (Getty)
The Formula 2 field starts their feature race of Round 7 in Jeddah (Getty)

Martin Brundle would rather have speed than points in F1 title race

15:50 , Jack Rathborn

“I’d rather have the speed than the points right now,” Martin Brundle told PA Sport ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“A good soccer analogy – you’d rather have the points than the games in hand. I think if Lewis carries on at that rate of knots and if Valtteri (Bottas) can get involved and have one of his on-form days, then who knows?

“One mishap around here and Max is the World Champion, one mishap for Lewis…because it wouldn’t be difficult around here, that’s for sure.”

Lewis Hamilton concedes Red Bull were superior ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:40 , Jack Rathborn

“What a difficult track this is,” Lewis Hamilton said. “All of us were pushing so hard.

“The track shifted a little bit. I don’t know if it was just the wind but it made it so difficult with tyre temperatures and we were having to do heavy quick out laps to try to get the tyres working and in the right window, which was very odd.

“The Bulls were definitely faster today, I don’t know if we lost performance or they just gained.

“Wooh. That was one of the most intense qualifying sessions we’ve had for a while.

“This one was heart in mouth for all of us. If Max had finished his lap, he would have been ahead, but we have to work as a team tomorrow.”

Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)

Max Verstappen won’t join Mercedes with ‘bad loser’ Toto Wolff

15:30 , Jack Rathborn

Jos Verstappen told De Limburger newspaper: “Here at Red Bull Racing we are in a good place.

“There have been conversations with Toto Wolff and I also thought we had a good relationship with him, but the real Toto has shown himself lately.

“There is no relationship anymore. You could say that [Wolff is a bad loser], yes.

“Mercedes was, of course, leading for years. Now they are cornered for the first time and you see another Toto. It’s a shame, but that’s how you get to know people.”

F1 title permutations: How Max Verstappen can become world champion at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:27 , Jack Rathborn

  • If Verstappen wins the race with the fastest lap (26 points) and Hamilton finishes sixth (8 points) or lower

  • If Verstappen wins the race without the fastest lap (25 points) and Hamilton finishes seventh (6 points) or lower

  • If Verstappen finishes second with the fastest lap (19 points) and Hamilton finishes 10th (1 point) or lower

  • If Verstappen finishes second without the fastest lap (18 points) and Hamilton finishes outside the top-10

Max Verstappen explains qualifying crash at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:20 , Jack Rathborn

“I saw it was a good lap,” Max Verstappen said. “I was 0.3secs faster on my delta and then I thought on the last corner there might be still a bit to gain.

“I knew of course Lewis was 0.1-0.15secs ahead, but I approached it like I always do in qualifying. But somehow I just locked up. And I have to see if I actually braked later or not. From my feeling, I didn’t.

“Just really disappointing. It was a really good lap. I was really enjoying it and then not to finish it is extremely disappointing, especially now in this fight you want to start first.”

Sir Jackie Stewart arrives at Paddock before Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:12 , Jack Rathborn

Sir Jackie Stewart walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Sir Jackie Stewart walks in the Paddock (Getty)

15:10 , Jack Rathborn

Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing walks in the Paddock before the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit (Getty)
Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing walks in the Paddock before the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit (Getty)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
George Russell of Great Britain and Williams walks in the Paddock (Getty)
George Russell of Great Britain and Williams walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)
Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP walks in the Paddock (Getty)

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Lando Norris is anticipating a difficult start to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and is expecting to “pay the price” for McLaren putting him on soft tyres for Q3.

The Briton will start seventh on the grid while teammate Daniel Ricciardo could only manage 11th.

“It’s going to be very tricky, especially because I’m the only one on soft tyres,” Norris said. “So it’s going to be a difficult one, but I just thought I’d make my race even more difficult. Why not?

“We wanted to go through on the medium. It’s just risky. It obviously didn’t work out for Danny, so that could have been us... if I didn’t put a good lap in on the medium.

“So we decided to go for the safer option; go with the softs, which we’ll pay the price for tomorrow, but it also put us three or four positions higher.”

Lewis Hamilton ‘had nothing to do with Mercedes’ Kingspan deal’

14:54 , Jack Rathborn

“It is not something that I feel I have to speak about publicly,” Lewis Hamilton said. “I had nothing to do with the team signing any of the sponsors. Tommy [Hilfiger] was the only one I probably brought to the team.

“It was news to me when I heard the things that have happened this week and I was very aware and watching closely all the families affected by what happened there. We know there has been a huge outcry and an amazing amount of support by people in the community around there.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

14:45 , Jamie Braidwood

It was a mixed qualifying session for the Ferraris on Saturday, with Charles Leclerc recovering from his crash in FP2 on Friday to put his car fourth on the grid but Carlos Sainz failing to make it out of FP2 - despite showing some impressive pace this weekend.

“Today was all about regaining confidence on this track and I worked on this from my first lap in FP3 to that last lap in qualifying,” Leclerc said. “I really took it to the limit and P4 is a very good result, one that we did not expect.

“Tomorrow will be a tough but exciting race. Despite it being a street circuit, the three long straights make it possible to overtake more than we had anticipated.”

Verstappen faces nervous wait over gearbox

14:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Christian Horner said after qualifying yesterday that it was too early to determine whether Max Verstappen’s gearbox had sustained significant damage.

“Pretty brutal,” the Red Bull boss said of the crash late in qualifying. “Let’s hope the gearbox isn’t damaged and we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.

“He didn’t say too much. He said he touched the wall and that was that. It was a great shame as it was a mighty, mighty lap.

“We’re on the back foot here and was pulling something very special out of the bag. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be — hopefully it isn’t a gearbox penalty as that would be especially brutal.”

Verstappen faces nervous wait over gearbox

14:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen’s dramatic crash in the final lap of qualifying did not only cost him pole position for today’s race but it also left Red Bull facing a nervous night in Saudi Arabia as they attempted to fix his car.

Verstappen took a fresh gearbox for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and after qualifying Red Bull had to evaluate any potential damage and make the call on whether to use it for today’s race.

If Red Bull are forced into a change following the crash, Verstappen would be hit with a five-place gird penalty, dropping him down eighth at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The team will want to do everything they can to avoid that but they will also not want to have any potential reliability issues at such an important stage in the season.

Hamilton: I had nothing to do with Grenfell deal

13:45 , Jamie Braidwood

Lewis Hamilton has said he had “nothing” to do with Mercedes’ partnership deal with Kingspan – an insulation firm linked to Grenfell Tower.

Hamilton is competing with the team at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend and Kingspan’s logo appeared on his car for the first time on Saturday.

On Friday, Mercedes principal Toto Wolff apologised to Grenfell survivors and bereaved relatives, and thanked campaign group Grenfell United for an offer to meet following its condemnation of the deal with Kingspan.

“It is not something that I feel I have to speak about publicly,” Hamilton said. “I had nothing to do with the team signing any of the sponsors. Tommy [Hilfiger] was the only one I probably brought to the team.

“It was news to me when I heard the things that have happened this week and I was very aware and watching closely all the families affected by what happened there. We know there has been a huge outcry and an amazing amount of support by people in the community around there.

“It is really nothing to do with me and I know Toto is sorting it.”

Verstappen warned overtaking Hamilton will be ‘hard’

13:30 , Jamie Braidwood

Max Verstappen will be on the “back foot” when he starts third on the grid at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as it will be difficult to overtake Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton ahead of the penultimate race of the F1 season but the narrow track at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit meant that pole position was always going to be crucial.

The Red Bull driver was on course to claim a stunning pole until his dramatic crash on the final corner of qualifying.

“Max will be frustrated I am sure as he knows what a good lap it was, but he just needs to put it behind him now,” Horner said. “He’s still P3 on the grid and he just needs to have a good start, as anything could happen in this race.

“Unfortunately, we are on the back foot now, so we’ll get the car back and hope the damage isn’t too bad. Grid position on any street circuit is crucial and it’s going to be very hard to overtake here, so it’s all going to be about strategy and Checo [Perez] could have a major part to play in the race.”

Perez questions ‘very dangerous’ Saudi Arabia circuit

13:20 , Jamie Braidwood

Sergio Perez said the brand-new street circuit being used at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend is “too dangerous” after his teammate Max Verstappen saw his hopes of qualifying on pole position by a dramatic crash in Q3.

Verstappen was pushing his car to the limit as he tried to beat Hamilton’s provisional pole but there was no margin for error after he locked up going into the last corner and hit the wall.

“It's a really nice circuit, very dangerous though,” Perez said after qualifying fifth for today’s race. “There is a lot of straights, but you are turning and [there are] blind corners, where I hope nothing happens. If you like, it’s too dangerous without a real reason.

“When you look at some of the onboards, it's quite scary. I just hope that it goes through that we don't see a big shunt out there.

“I just feel the track, yeah, it's a bit too risky without a reason. With the speed that we're doing, with the deltas around the track from some other cars, it's a bit unnecessary.”

Hamilton ‘proud’ to have the edge in Saudi Arabia

13:12 , Jamie Braidwood

Lewis Hamilton was described the Jeddah Corniche Circuit as like driving on a “knife edge” as he expressed his pride in clinching the 103rd pole position of his record-breaking career in Saudi Arabia.

“I think for all of us we were naturally pushing so hard,” Hamilton said. “It was very close between us all but I think the Bulls were definitely faster today.

“I am proud of the job we have all done. That was one of the most intense qualifying sessions I think we have had for a while.

“It was about trying to find the right balance of being on that knife-edge, you could see from Max we were all on the edge, there is a ‘wall of champions’ everywhere here.

“It was more heart in mouth for all of us and I got that lap right at the end that was good enough but if Max had finished his lap he would have been ahead, but regardless I am happy.”

Horner slams F1 ‘inconsistency’ after Hamilton escapes penalty

13:05 , Jamie Braidwood

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner called for “consistency” as Lewis Hamilton escaped a grid penalty after being summoned to the stewards for two separate incidents at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Hamilton will start on pole position for Sunday’s race after Max Verstappen hit the wall on the final lap of a dramatic qualifying session and and there was further drama earlier in the day as Hamilton was called to the stewards one hour before the start of qualifying in Jeddah after allegedly failing to respect double-waved yellow flags and impeding Nikita Mazepin.

Hamilton faced no further action for the yellow flag incident after the FIA admitted that the signals had been activated “accidentally” and for less than one second.

And while the seven-time world champion received a reprimand and Mercedes were fined €25,000 for impeding Mazepin during the Haas driver’s hot lap, Hamilton escaped any further punishment that could have had a bearing on the penultimate race of the season.

“We’ll have a good look at it,” Horner told Sky Sports when asked whether Red Bull would appeal the FIA’s ruling on the two incidents in practice. “It feels a little inconsistent from what we’ve seen two weeks ago. We’ve got the right to an appeal and we will have a look at the information.”

More here:

Christian Horner slams F1 ‘inconsistency’ after Lewis Hamilton escapes grid penalty

Mercedes boss Hamilton pole was 'gone’ before Verstappen crash

12:56 , Jamie Braidwood

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff admitted he thought Lewis Hamilton was about to lose pole position before Max Verstappen crashed into the wall in a dramatic qualifying session at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Reacting to Verstappen’s crash, Wolff told Sky Sports. “He was up by half a second and pole was basically gone. Then he ran wide and hit the wall and we end up one and two, which is a big, big, advantage ahead of tomorrow. It’s just crazy.

“It was important to keep it together and keep attacking. You see with Valtteri [Bottas] with his lap, that is a big difference to be there with the front-row lockout.

“I hope we can take it into tomorrow. I think they [Red Bull] concentrated on preparing for a one-lap. If we have a tiny bit of advantage tomorrow, who knows.”

Max Verstappen’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying regret

12:29 , Alex Pattle

After Lewis Hamilton secured pole yesterday and his title rival Max Verstappen crashed out on the final corner of qualifying, here’s what the Belgian-Dutch driver had to say:

“It was terrible but in general it was a good qualifying.

“I knew the pace was there and it showed in the last lap.

“I didn’t understand what happened, but I locked up… clipped the rear and it is disappointing knowing what lap I was on.

“P3 is a bit disappointing but the car is quick and let’s see what we can do in the race.”

Max Verstappen trudged back to the pits after crashing in qualifying (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen trudged back to the pits after crashing in qualifying (Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton clinches Saudi Arabian Grand Prix pole as Max Verstappen crashes out in Q3

12:17 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton ended an eventful Saturday at the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a pole position and a slap on the wrist as title rival Max Verstappen sensationally crashed out on the final corner of qualifying.

Verstappen leads the drivers’ championship by just eight points with two races remaining and Hamilton has the upper hand here at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Having won the previous two rounds of a scintillating season, Hamilton came here with plenty of momentum, but he had to survive two penalty scares in final practice before sealing an important pole on a track where overtaking could be at a premium.

Lewis Hamilton clinches Saudi Arabia pole as Max Verstappen crashes out in Q3

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