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Lewis Hamilton takes victory in chaotic Saudi Arabian GP

Saudi Arabia hosted the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Jeddah track on Sunday, and it was a memorable affair for perhaps all the wrong reasons, with Sir Lewis Hamilton taking victory in what was a chaotic affair.

After Max Verstappen's crash in qualifying, the Dutchman started the race in third place behind Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

It was a routine start in truth, with Hamilton holding his lead into the first corner and beyond, and it looked as if the Mercedes cars were headed for a 1-2 finish with relative ease, especially on a track that wasn't engineered for overtaking.

However, it was a track that proved to be incredibly difficult to negotiate, as a number of cars found as the race progressed.

Hamilton's fine start was totally disrupted after 10 laps when Mick Schumacher sent his Haas car careering into a barrier after losing control going into a corner.

With a safety car called, Hamilton made the decision to go into the pits and change his tires to the hard compound, which was reported to be able to last until the end of the race.

However, after three laps under the safety car, the race was red-flagged as the damage to the barrier was severe, meaning Verstappen was able to change his tires freely in the pitlane, whilst the race was stopped.

Thus, the Dutch driver led going into the restart, which was a standing one from the grid, yet chaos reigned in the first corner as Hamilton took back the lead, only for his title rival to cut the first corner and take back the spot, as well as creating the gap for Esteban Ocon to sneak into second.

Focus quickly turned to the back of the grid with Sergio Perez and Nikita Mazepin having separate incidents, which produced a further red flag, almost immediately.

Both Mercedes and Red Bull were badgering the stewards to lobby their respective sides, but it was determined that Verstappen would give the places he took illegally back, starting third at the restart behind Hamilton and Ocon.

Ironically, this would prove to be perfect for the Dutchman, as he was able to move on the inside and take the lead cleanly.

This was more than enough drama for one race, and the chase was now on for the seven-time champion to claw in Verstappen and overtake him.

It seemed as though this would happen, with Hamilton getting beyond the Dutch driver, but he then cut another corner to retake the position.

Verstappen was told to give the place back to Hamilton, but a mistake in message relaying from the FIA led to a bizarre situation where Verstappen slowed right down, appearing to allow Hamilton to pass, yet then when Hamilton got close, unsure of the situation, the Red Bull driver started moving.

Hamilton drove straight into the back of Verstappen sparking fears and his title challenge was over, with both teams furious with the conduct of the other.

The race continued under the cloud of controversy, although Hamilton's speed eventually shone through as he took the lead, with Red Bull appearing to let the place go once more.

As his medium tires lost all grip, Verstappen slipped to eight seconds behind Hamilton, although he still finished second despite being handed a five-second penalty.

Heading into the United Arab Emirates for the final race, the two superstar drivers are dead-level on points, with the winner of the final grand prix of the season set to take the title.

F1 Saudi Arabian GP 2021 Results

1º L. Hamilton (D) Mercedes 50

2º M. Verstappen (M) Red Bull + 11"825 50

3º V. Bottas (M) Mercedes + 27"531 50

4º E. Ocon (D) Alpine + 27"633 50

5º D. Ricciardo (M) McLaren + 40"121 50

6º P. Gasly (D) AlphaTauri + 41"615 50

7º C. Leclerc (D) Ferrari + 44"475 50

8º Carlos Sainz (M) Ferrari + 46"606 50

9º A. Giovinazi (D) Alfa Romeo + 58"505 50

10º L. Norris (D McLaren + 61"358 50

11º L. Stroll (M) Aston Martin + 77"212 50

12º N. Latifi (D) Williams + 82"249 50

13º Fernando Alonso (B) Alpine + 1 lap

14º Y. Tsunoda (M) AlphaTauri + 1 lap

15º K. Raikkonen (D) Alfa Romeo + 1 lap

16º S. Vettel (M) Aston Martin DNF

17º G. Russell (D) Williams DNF

18º S. Perez (M) Red Bull DNF

19º N. Mazepin (D) Haas DNF

20º M. Schumacher (M) Haas DNF

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