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Wednesday , January 19 2022

Hamilton wins Saudi Arabian GP

JEDDAH, Dec 6, (AP): The increasingly tense Formula One title fight between defending champion Lewis Hamilton and his formidable challenger, Max Verstappen, will head to the last race of the season with the fierce rivals level on points. Next weekend’s Abu Dhabi showdown will see Hamilton crowned for a record eighth time – or Verstappen win his first title. Hamilton’s nail-biting win at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday was his third straight to pull him level with Verstappen on 369.5 points. The British veteran is within touching distance of title No. 8 to move one ahead of Michael Schumacher and stand alone among F1 legends. Verstappen still leads by a hair’s breadth, only because he has more wins: 9-8. “Of course it’s exciting,” said Verstappen, who won last year in Abu Dhabi.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates winning the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in front of the second placed Red Bull driver Max Verstappen of the Netherlands, in Jeddah. (AP)

“We’re starting again like we started the season.” Hamilton’s win in the heat and humidity of Jeddah saw him pass Verstappen with six laps remaining of a chaotic race, as the pair tangled again this season following high-octane crashes at the British GP and the Italian GP. Hamilton is in no mood to back down with the finish in sight, but Verstappen has drawn out the street fighter in him. The race on the street circuit under the lights on the 30-kilometer (18.6- mile) coastal resort area in Jeddah will go down as one of the more memorable events of the season – if not the last several years. It saw three standing starts, a pair of restarts, multiple safety cars, and an intense back-and-forth between the title contenders including a minor late collision.

Red Bull was allowed to negotiate a penalty for Verstappen, Mercedes head Toto Wolff slammed his headset in rage, and Hamilton drove into the back of his title rival before ultimately passing Verstappen for the win. Verstappen was dejected and incredulous after finishing second. Verstappen is exasperated at some decisions that stewards have made this season Hamilton needed a few moments to recover after one of the most draining of his record-extending 103 career wins in the heat and humidity of the Middle East. He sat on a chair next to his physical trainer, with his face buried into a towel as he waited for the podium ceremony.

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