F1 Grand Prix race results: Hamilton wins wild Saudi GP

Lewis Hamilton won the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday for Mercedes after one of the most bizarre races in Formula 1 history with title rival Max Verstappen.

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In a race that required two restarts and four virtual safety cars, Hamilton and Verstappen clashed on track numerous times. After numerous interjections from race control, Verstappen was handed a 5s penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage as well as being docked two places for the second restart.

Verstappen also handed the lead to Hamilton on two occasions, and had Hamilton drive into the back of him at one point in a botched position switch move.

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix race results

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Interval Points
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 50 -   26
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 50 11.825 11.825 18
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 50 27.531 15.706 15
4 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 50 27.633 0.102 12
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 50 40.121 12.488 10
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 50 41.613 1.492 8
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 50 44.475 2.862 6
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 50 46.606 2.131 4
9 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 50 58.505 11.899 2
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 50 1'01.358 2.853 1
11 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 50 1'17.212 15.854  
12 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 50 1'23.249 6.037  
13 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 49 1 lap    
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 49 1 lap    
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 49 1 lap    
16 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 44      
  Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 14      
  Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 14      
  United Kingdom George Russell Williams 14      
  Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 8      

How the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix unfolded

From pole position Hamilton led his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas and Verstappen. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc held fourth, ahead of Sergio Perez (Red Bull – who locked up at Turn 1 and just missed Verstappen), Lando Norris (McLaren) and Esteban Ocon (Alpine), the latter duo gaining spots from Pierre Gasly’s slow-starting AlphaTauri. His teammate Yuki Tsunoda also lost places after banging wheels with Ocon on the run to Turn 1.

Hamilton pulled clear of Bottas, who in turn had a healthy gap over Verstappen. The race was interrupted by a safety car for Mick Schumacher’s crash at Turn 22 on Lap 10, which sent both Mercedes into the pits but Verstappen stayed out.

Bottas had blatantly held up Verstappen to the tune of a couple of seconds to allow a gap so Mercedes could stack its cars, sparking complaints from Max. A few minutes later, the complaints were coming from Hamilton instead, as the red flag was thrown for barrier repairs, which gifted Verstappen a free tyre change while retaining the lead.

After the barrier repairs were completed, Verstappen lined up on pole for the standing restart, ahead of Hamilton, Bottas and Ocon.

Verstappen made a poor getaway, allowing Hamilton to get ahead, but Verstappen outbraked the Mercedes on the outside, overshot the first corner and they almost made contact as he rejoined, Max now in front having missed the apex kerb. Ocon vaulted up to second in the melee, as Bottas locked up and ran wide.

Further back, Perez spun after getting caught in the middle of a three-wide pincer, spun around the bows of Leclerc. Behind that incident, George Russell’s Williams was slammed into from behind by Nikita Mazepin’s Haas. The required a second red flag.

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Following a bizarre exchange between Red Bull, Mercedes and the FIA on the radio about the restart grid lineup, Red Bull eventually accepted Verstappen dropping to third on the grid behind Ocon and Hamilton.

The second restart saw Verstappen – who switched to medium tyres – grab the lead in a wild sprint to the Turn 1 apex. Ocon ran wide this time – after being hit by Hamilton in a three-wide moment – and passed Max off the track, but immediately gave the position back. Hamilton fell to third, ahead of Ricciardo, Bottas and Gasly.

Hamilton passed Ocon for second on Lap 18, while Verstappen reported a lack of power as his battery was topping up on recharge. Hamilton reeled off a sequence of fastest laps, despite sporting some wing endplate scars and using hard tyres to Verstappen’s mediums.

A brief virtual safety car was called after Tsunoda clashed with Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin at Turn 1. Soon after racing resumed, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) suffered a huge spin and continued, while Vettel collided with Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), which caused another quick VSC.

Hamilton got within Verstappen’s DRS range just after half distance, before a third VSC period. Verstappen opened the gap out to 1.8s as the race went green again on Lap 33, and was back inside it when another VSC was required to clear up more debris.

On Lap 37 Hamilton got DRS on the front straight and got ahead but Verstappen dive-bombed him at Turn 1 and took them both wide but retained the lead. Verstappen slowed down to give him the place and, incredibly, Hamilton drove into the back of him – and then suggested Max brake tested him.

Verstappen was then told by race control to hand the place back and did so ahead of the final corner but then dive-bombed his way past Hamilton again, and got the bonus of DRS for the following straight. A lap later, Verstappen handed the position back again, with Hamilton pushing Max wide this time. While all this was going on, a 5s penalty was given to Verstappen anyway.

Hamilton won by 6.8s (11.8s with Verstappen's time penalty), as Bottas passed Ricciardo for fourth on Lap 40 and passed Ocon for third on the finish line by 0.1s using DRS. Ricciardo finished fifth, ahead of Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi and Norris.

2021 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fastest laps

Cla Driver Chassis Laps Time Gap Interval km/h
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 47 1'30.734     244.962
2 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 47 1'31.408 0.674 0.674 243.155
3 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull 35 1'31.488 0.754 0.080 242.943
4 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari 46 1'31.601 0.867 0.113 242.643
5 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine 46 1'31.633 0.899 0.032 242.558
6 France Esteban Ocon Alpine 47 1'31.797 1.063 0.164 242.125
7 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari 37 1'31.851 1.117 0.054 241.983
8 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren 49 1'31.914 1.180 0.063 241.817
9 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 46 1'32.297 1.563 0.383 240.813
10 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri 44 1'32.506 1.772 0.209 240.269
11 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 43 1'32.716 1.982 0.210 239.725
12 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams 49 1'32.751 2.017 0.035 239.635
13 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo 45 1'32.778 2.044 0.027 239.565
14 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin 45 1'32.804 2.070 0.026 239.498
15 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo 37 1'32.865 2.131 0.061 239.340
16 Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 41 1'34.030 3.296 1.165 236.375
17 Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull 9 1'34.138 3.404 0.108 236.104
18 Germany Mick Schumacher Haas 8 1'36.043 5.309 1.905 231.421
19 United Kingdom George Russell Williams 7 1'36.130 5.396 0.087 231.211
20 Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas 7 1'37.043 6.309 0.913 229.036

2021 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix tyre history

Cla Driver Chassis 1 2 3 4 5
1 United Kingdom Lewis Hamilton Mercedes M 19 H 3 H 5 H 40    
2 Netherlands Max Verstappen Red Bull M 17 H 2 M 35        
3 Finland Valtteri Bottas Mercedes M 17 H 3 H 5 M 35    
4 France Esteban Ocon Alpine M 20 H 2 H 37        
5 Australia Daniel Ricciardo McLaren H 13 M 2 M 37        
6 France Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri M 20 H 2 H 37        
7 Monaco Charles Leclerc Ferrari M 15 H 3 H 5 H 40    
8 Spain Carlos Sainz Jr. Ferrari H 13 M 5 M 40        
9 Italy Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo M 19 H 2 H 37        
10 United Kingdom Lando Norris McLaren S 14 H 3 H 5 H 40    
11 Canada Lance Stroll Aston Martin M 9 H 5 H 7 M 35    
12 Canada Nicholas Latifi Williams M 10 H 3 M 2 H 38    
13 Spain Fernando Alonso Alpine M 10 H 3 H 5 H 34 S 5
14 Japan Yuki Tsunoda AlphaTauri M 20 H 2 M 10 H 28    
15 Finland Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo M 13 H 2 H 13 M 28    
  Germany Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin H 14 M 2 M 29        
  Mexico Sergio Perez Red Bull M 17 H 3 M 1        
  Russian Federation Nikita Mazepin Haas M 13 H 1            
  United Kingdom George Russell Williams M 9 H 4 H 5        
  Germany Mick Schumacher Haas M 8                
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