'Absolutely crazy': F1 world in disbelief over 'insane' drama

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Lewis Hamilton, pictured here winning a chaotic Saudi Arabia Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic Saudi Arabia Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen. Image: F1/Getty

The Formula One world was left in disbelief on Sunday as Lewis Hamilton won a drama-filled Saudi Arabia Grand Prix to go level with Max Verstappen in the championship.

Hamilton passed Verstappen with six laps remaining to win the chaotic inaugural race in Saudi Arabia and pull even on points with his rival as Formula One's thrilling championship race heads into the title-deciding finale.

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On a chaotic night in Jeddah, the race took almost as many twists and turns as the rollercoaster season with crashes, safety cars, red flags, claims of dirty driving, penalties, collisions and angry exchanges with race director Michael Masi.

Eventually, seven-times world champion Hamilton prevailed and also took the bonus point for fastest lap to level with Verstappen on 369.5 points after 20 races.

Red Bull was allowed to negotiate a penalty for Verstappen, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff slammed his headset in rage, and Hamilton drove into the back of his title rival before ultimately passing Verstappen for the win.

“Lewis, that has got to be the craziest race I can remember,” Hamilton's engineer radioed after he crossed the finish line.

“Great job, guys, great job!” Hamilton replied. “That's more like it, let's keep pushing!”

A dejected Verstappen, who has seen his hold on the title race evaporate over the last three races, was dejected.

“It is what it is," the Dutchman said. “I tried, at least.”

Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, pictured here on the podium after the Suadi Arabia Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the podium after the Suadi Arabia Grand Prix. (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Verstappen was penalised for going off course on the second restart, was later told to yield position to Hamilton, but Hamilton ran into the back of his Red Bull to damage the front wing on his Mercedes. 

The two then went back and forth over the closing sequence.

But once the seven-time world champion passed Verstappen for good, Hamilton controlled the finish and won for the third-consecutive race.

"I've been racing a long time, but that was incredibly tough," Hamilton said. 

"I tried to be as tough and as sensible as I could out there, with all my experience over the years.

Verstappen, booed by some in the crowd, said: "It was eventful, a lot of things happened that I don't fully agree with.

"I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn't want to overtake and we touched."

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, pictured here battling it out in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen battled it out in the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

F1 world in disbelief over 'crazy' race

Fans and commentators were left in disbelief over the crazy race.

“This is absolutely crazy. It’s kind of like we’re making it up as we go along," commentator Martin Brundle said.

“But it’s so many unusual situations.

“It has been a dirty race in terms of tactics.

“There is aggressive, determined, feisty racing and then there is what we saw this evening - which was too much.”

Australian Daniel Ricciardo emerged from the drama to finish fifth in his McLaren behind third-placed Valtteri Bottas and fourth-placed Esteban Ocon.

Hamilton has eight wins on the season and has now pulled into a tie with Verstappen in the standings.

The championship will be decided next Sunday in the finale in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton is the four-time defending F1 champion and seeking an eighth title to break the all-time record he shares with Michael Schumacher. 

The 24-year-old Verstappen is seeking his first championship and had dominated the season for Red Bull until this late three-race charge by Mercedes and Hamilton.

with agencies

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