Lewis Hamilton has tied level on points with championship rival Max Verstappen after a drama feel battle between them in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The two contenders pushed each other beyond the limits as they fought for victory in Jeddah, in a race full of incidents and intrigue.
The beginning of the race deciding incident was on lap thirty-seven when Hamilton tried to pass Verstappen, on his second attempt the Mercedes driver ran into the back of Verstappen who appeared to brake test Hamilton. The two made contact with Verstappen being told to let Hamilton past, the contact saw damage to the front win.
The incident seemed minor in the race, as incidents in the first fifteen laps saw the race red-flagged three times. As well as numerous safety cars as accidents were never far away. Hamilton drove a steady race and was given the lead twice by Verstappen, who was deemed by the stewards to cross a line on his final attempt. Arguably the championship is firmly open with the winner takes all in Abu Dhabi.
The defining moment came on Lap Thirty-Seven, when Hamilton closed up on Verstappen, with the Red Bull staying on the outside of Turn One before sliding wide a the next corner. Red Bull instructed the Dutchman to give the place back to him, but admits confusion the Mercedes ran into the back of him.
Verstappen was handed a five-second time addition penalty and he then appeared to slow again to let by Hamilton at the final corner. This time, Verstappen attacked back on the outside, with Hamilton getting a warning for edging him into the runoff as the Briton stayed ahead.
Following that move, the race had been effectively decided as the Dutchman’s tyres had gone past their best.
Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas finished third, fifteen seconds behind Verstappen. The Finn again does not appearing to have the pace to run with the top two, having dropped behind at the final red flag and needing to pass Verstappen.
Haas’s Mick Schumacher caused the first red flag when he crashed into the wall at turn twenty, his teammate Nikita Mazepin would follow on the restart. The Russian going into the back of George Russell, as others braked ahead the chain reaction put the Williams driver into the back of the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez bringing the red flag out once again.
The second red flag saw extraordinary scenes as Red Bull negotiated with race director Michael Masi over which position Verstappen should be in at the re-start, them eventually agreeing that he would be third behind Ocon and Hamilton. Verstappen then threw the Red Bull down the inside passing Hamilton and Ocon taking third.
Ocon would hang on to that position for the Remainer of the race to finish fourth, finishing ahead of the McLaren of Daniel Ricciardo. The Australian taking his first stop under the red flag which allowed him to finish ahead of the Alpha Tauri of Pierre Gasly.
Charles Leclerc finished seventh ahead of his Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz by two seconds. While Antonio Giovinazzi was ninth with Daniel Ricciardo rounding out the top ten.
Lance Stroll finished eleventh ahead of Nicolas Latifi and Fernando Alonso. Yuki Tsunoda and Kimi Raikkonen, the final finishers.
Sebastian Vettel being the only retirement not caused by a collision, stopping with four laps to go.