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Lewis Hamilton takes Saudi Arabian F1 GP pole as Max Verstappen crashes

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Lewis Hamilton took pole for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix but only after this fascinating Formula One season once more delivered tense drama for the title protagonists. The world champion was on top but only because Max Verstappen pushed too hard and was left wondering what might have been over a damaged car, stranded on the track.

 

 

Hamilton had endured nervy moments before qualifying awaiting a steward’s decision in Jeddah, when the world champion’s hopes for a win and his championship ambitions hung in the balance. Cleared of any offences, however, he delivered with great execution, but it might so easily have belonged to Verstappen, who clipped a wall on his last lap when on for taking pole. He was classified only in third behind Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas.

“It was intense but enjoyable,” said Hamilton, who described his car as being on a knife-edge. “This was heart in your mouth for all of us. If Max had finished his lap he would have been ahead.”

Verstappen has pushed hard all season and he was once more absolutely on the limit on his final lap. On the very edge for 26 corners it was nail-biting but superb, only for him to take too much on the very final bend. For the title these moments may prove vital with Hamilton’s attempt to take an eighth Formula One world championship still very much in his own hands.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Verstappen. “We had a good car, everything seemed to be coming together, in Q3 it was good but unfortunately I couldn’t finish the lap. At least it seems like we can fight here.”

It had been difficult to call between the two drivers throughout until the decisive minutes. Hamilton made an error on his first hot lap in Q3, briefly losing the rear, and had to abort his quick lap. He stayed out to put in another run and this time was clean. However, Verstappen was immense on his first hot lap, threading the needle between the walls of this testing circuit with inch-perfect precision. He set a time of 1min 27.653sec, a fearsome target almost four-tenths up on Hamilton.

Hamilton went out first on the final runs and this time he was feeling the grip and was especially strong through the final two sectors, sweeping though the sequence of undulating left and right hand curves. He put in a 1min 27.511sec but Verstappen pushed in response and was on fire. He was over two-tenths up only to lock-up and brush the wall on the final corner. It was a disaster that may yet be compounded if he has to take a new gearbox because of damage and receive a grid penalty.

A win for Hamilton at Jeddah would guarantee the championship will head to a finale at Abu Dhabi and, if Hamilton also scores fastest lap to a second place for Verstappen, the two rivals would go into the decider equal on points. Verstappen can still clinch the title in Saudi Arabia, though that now looks a major task. He leads Hamilton by eight points and can take it this weekend in three ways: if he wins and scores the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes sixth or lower; if he wins without the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes seventh or lower; or if he outscores Hamilton by 18 points.

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Certainly Hamilton holds the whip hand. With the narrow track and few passing points, making overtaking difficult, and the low tyre degradation auguring for a single-stop strategy, track position will be vital and Hamilton has the advantage of pole and his teammate at his back.

For an uneasy period before the session began, Hamilton’s fate had been subject to the deliberations of the stewards. He was summoned an hour before qualifying began for two separate offences they were investigating from Saturday’s final practice session. The first was for failing to slow under double-waved yellow flags and the second for impeding another driver. Verstappen was found to have failed to slow under waved yellows at the last round in Qatar and was given a five-place grid penalty.

However, the stewards ruled that the flag warning system had been triggered accidentally and warning lights had not been shown where Hamilton was on track and they took no further action. He was also given only a reprimand for the impeding incident because he had not been informed by his team that Nikita Mazepin was closing on him from behind.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was in fourth and Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez in fifth. Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda were in sixth and eighth for AlphaTauri.

Lando Norris in seventh for McLaren. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was in ninth and Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi 10th.

Daniel Ricciardo was 11th for McLaren, Kimi Räikkönen 12th for Alfa Romeo and Fernando Alonso in 13th for Alpine. George Russell was in 14th for Williams and Carlos Sainz in 15th for Ferrari.

Nicholas Latifi was in 16th for Williams, with the Aston Martins of Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll in 17th and 18th. Mick Schumacher and Mazepin were in 19th and 20th for Haas.

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F1 Racing

Is Decision On Lewis Hamilton’s F1 Future Coming Soon? Who’ll Replace Him If He Quits?

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After losing the final race of the 2021 world drivers’ championship under controversial circumstances, Lewis Hamilton is rumoured to be contemplating his Formula One future.

 

 

Despite the fact that Hamilton himself has not spoken anything regarding his retirement, speculations have circulated that the British driver is planning to leave the sport following his shocking defeat at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix late last year. The rumours found more support after Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he is unsure whether Hamilton will return for the 2022 season.

Hamilton was disappointed after the race last month because he was unable to win his record-breaking eighth championship. After leading for 57 laps at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton undoubtedly believed he had all but clinched yet another Formula One championship. When Nicholas Latifi collided with the wall and the safety car was called in, everything for Hamilton flipped upside down as Max Verstappen, with a fresher set of tyres, was able to overtake the Briton and win his maiden drivers’ championship.

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When is a decision on Hamilton’s future coming?
A decision on Hamiton’s future in Formula One is likely to come in a couple of weeks. With pre-season testing set to begin in February, Hamilton’s decision on his Formula One future is expected to be made before that. The Bahrain Grand Prix will kick off the new season in March. meanwhile, some reports have already suggested that he will be back with Mercedes for the 2020 season.

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F1 Bosses surprisingly advice Lewis Hamilton for F1 career; ‘Red Bull!’

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Lewis Hamilton will return to Formula 1 next season despite his anger over last season’s final race, Martin Brundle has said.

 

 

The Mercedes man is said to be still furious with the FIA after a controversial decision from race director Michael Masi helped Max Verstappen win his first world title on the last lap. In a special edition of The F1 Show titled Abu Dhabi: One Month On, Brundle was asked whether Hamilton and Mercedes could consider leaving F1 ‒ but was adamant in his response.
He said: “Absolutely not, I don’t buy any of it to be honest.

“I’m sure Toto has been asked by Lewis, ‘what are you doing about this?’ But Formula 1 is fantastically successful for the Mercedes-Benz brand, while Lewis is 37 years old and we know he’s driving at his peak, incredibly determined and competitive.

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“He’ll be back.”

While Hamilton has enjoyed dominance at Mercedes since 2014, this hasn’t stopped speculation around his future.

He said: “I personally believe Lewis should go to Red Bull and not to Ferrari.”

When asked in 2020 about the prospect of Hamilton joining Red Bull, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said “never say never”.

He added: “Never say never. I’ve seen crazier things in my life.

“But I don’t see why Lewis would do that.

“He has a very strong personal bond with the Mercedes brand and the team that he helped to create.

“At the moment we are giving him the best car and we have mutual trust in each other. We still have successful times ahead of us.

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Is Lewis Hamilton Retiring?; The question people frequently ask

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The recently knighted, seven-time motorsport world champion is not in a rush to shift gears, but in an interview with T&C he hinted at his focus after Formula One—philanthropy.

 

 

Winning doesn’t mean anything unless you do something with it.”

Lewis Hamilton told me that in Mexico City in November. The Briton was competing in the Grand Prix there, one of the last legs of the Formula One World Championship circuit, and he was neck and neck in the rankings with Dutch rival Max Verstappen of team Red Bull while in pursuit of an historic eighth world title.

Hamilton did not appear like a man under pressure. In fact, the opposite. He was reflecting on his legacy, and relished the idea of spending more time on his philanthropy. Back then, his comments did not strike me as out of the ordinary; in recent years Hamilton has doubled down on his work as an activist. Now, in light of the rumors about his retirement, our conversation takes on a whole new meaning.

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“When I was younger, all I could think about was training and winning and being the best I could be,” he told T&C. “Now, I have a different feel.”

Hamilton, 36, is one of motorsport’s all-time greats—he is tied with the retired Michael Schumacher for the most World Drivers’ Championship titles—but he was coming into Mexico City an underdog, lagging in points behind the 24-year-old Verstappen.

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