Hamilton takes win after thrilling 2021 F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Saudi Arabia’s first Formula One race turned out to be a chaotic event, with multiple incidents occurring including two red flags and a collision between the two remaining title contenders.

Mercedes-Benz AMG’s Lewis Hamilton came out on top at the Sunday race held on a street circuit in the coastal city of Jeddah. Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen finished in second place some 21 seconds back while Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas rounded out the final podium spot after finishing 27 seconds behind his teammate.

The night race started with Hamilton on pole and Bottas also at the front of the grid. Verstappen started in the second row but was blocked by Bottas after the lights turned green, with fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez almost crashing into his teammate because of the traffic.

Haas’ Mick Schumacher was soon into a barrier, causing a safety car period that turned into a red flag. This enabled Verstappen to move into the lead on the restart since the Mercedes drivers had both stopped for new tires.

2021 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2021 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Verstappen held the lead on the restart, but a crash on lap 15 involving Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Perez stopped progress, with the damage ending Perez’s race. Haas’ Nikita Mazepin and Williams’ George Russell also collided at this time, causing the second red flag of the race.

At the next restart, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was at the lead spot followed by Hamilton and Verstappen. Thanks to fresh tires, Verstappen made an impressive pass inside of the opening chicane for the lead. Hamilton was then on the chase and in an overtake attempt on lap 36, was denied by Verstappen who ran wide on Turn 2 and later instructed to give the position back to Hamilton. Verstappen slowed to give the position to Hamilton who, unaware at the time, ran into the back of Verstappen.

Both drivers could race on but there would be more drama ahead. Hamilton tried to pass Verstappen on lap 42 but Verstappen pushed him wide. The stewards then implemented a five-second penalty on Verstappen for the original incident, dooming him to second place. Hamilton then managed to hold on to the lead until the end of the race.

Following the results of the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Hamilton and Verstappen have an equal 369.5 points in the 2021 Drivers’ Championship, with Bottas in third with 218 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes leads with 587.5 points versus the 559.5 of Red Bull and 307.5 of Ferrari. So the title chase is a dead heat going into the final round this weekend in Abu Dhabi. It’s the first time two drivers were tied going into the final round since the 1974 season, when Emerson Fittipaldi battled Clay Regazzoni at Watkins Glen, with Fittipaldi eventually coming out on top.

2021 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

2021 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Below are the full results from the 2021 Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:

1) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-Benz AMG
2) Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing +21.825 seconds
3) Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz AMG +27.531 seconds
4) Esteban Ocon, Alpine +27.633 seconds
5) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren +40.121 seconds
6) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri +41.613 seconds
7) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari +44.475 seconds
8) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari +46.606 seconds
9) Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo +58.505 seconds
10) Lando Norris, McLaren +61.358 seconds
11) Lance Stroll, Aston Martin +77.212 seconds
12) Nicholas Latifi, Williams +83.249 seconds
13) Fernando Alonso, Alpine +1 lap
14) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri +1 lap
15) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo +1 lap
NC) Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin DNF
NC) Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing DNF
NC) Nikita Mazepin, Haas DNF
NC) George Russell, Williams DNF
NC) Mick Schumacher, Haas DNF

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