A remarkable win, and one that gives him an equal chance of taking the championship in Abu Dhabi.
Bottas is third! Taking Ocon at the line, and gets the podium. Verstappen has brought out some serious bronca in Hamilton of late, but Red Bull could definitely take this still.
Formula 1
'Mercedes had no grounds for complaint' - Horner
17/12/2021 AT 09:49

Lap 49/50 - Hamilton has the fastest lap

A superb race, and in truth, Verstappen was racing right at the edge. He may not yet race like a gentleman, but it hardly holds you back in this sport.

Lap 48/50 - The finale approaches

There are eight seconds for Hamilton now. With his penalty, he doesn't need to be risking anything here.

Lap 47/50 - Hamilton moves forward

He's got six seconds advantage, and is warned to stay off the curbs as he starts dropping bits and bobs.

Lap 45/50 - Hamilton has three seconds advantage

Verstappen is dropping well back now, 3.6 seconds. That's 8.6 seconds, but Hamilton is told off for not giving the Dutchman any room on the track.

Lap 43/50 - Hamilton back in front!

Lap 43/50 - Vertsappen back in front

Verstappen lets Hamilton through, engages DRS, and then gets hit by a five-second penalty.

Lap 41/50 - Verstappen and Hamilton's teams argue

The two teams are arguing over who told what, when. It's an absolute mess and Verstappen might have the benefit of the doubt if he didn't keep putting other drivers at risk.

Lap 39/50 - Verstappen investigated

He should be off here, in mine. Cynical stuff.

Lap 37/50 - Hamilton runs into Verstappen!

Verstappen is told to give the place back by his team, and he puts on the brakes suddenly in front of Hamilton and the two collide. It breaks Hamilton's wings. Verstappen has appeared to be pretty cynical there.

Lap 37/50 - Hamilton attacks

Verstappen refuses to yield as Hamilton uses DRS, gets into the slipstream, and Verstappen cuts into him again. 'That guy is crazy, man!' Verstappen may have invited an investigation.

Lap 36/50 - Virtual safety track


Lap 35/50 - Debris on the track

There's more garbage on the track, so this race could pretty much be a write-off. Plenty of drama.

Lap 33/50 - The safety car is off

The virtual speed restriction has been turned off, and Hamilton has 17 laps left.

Lap 29/50 - The safety car is on


Lap 28/50 - The safety car is off

Off we go, yet again.

Lap 25/50 - Verstappen and Hamilton tangle with DRS looming

Hamilton may be able to push the Dutchman's tires to fatigue here, but this is a new race and on the other hand, nobody knows anything.

Lap 23/50 - Verstappen pulls away, Hamilton follows

There's a touch over a second between them but they're leaving the pack behind them. Tsunoda has lost his wing, DRS has been disabled. Is there going to be another yellow flag?

Lap 20/50 - 'Lack of power, guys'

A worrying statement from Verstappen. He's told it's a battery topping up. Mercedes' Hamilton is closing in.

Lap 19/50 - Hamilton trails

1.5 seconds behind Verstappen, who just sets a fastest lap.


Ocon and Hamilton touch! Verstappen goes into the lead, legitimately. up the inside. Hamilton is in second. Mary Poppins!

Lap 16/50 - The cars are back in the pits

And we don't seem especially close to a restart. A lot of drivers wee themselves if they are in a long race - I'm choosing a nicer alternative. Back in a minute.

Lap 16/50 - Explanation

The race director are suggesting Red Bull take third, Mercedes second, Ocon first. Or it gets referred to the stewards.
Red Bull take the offer. They ask the director to look at Hamilton and Bottas' behavious in the formation lap prep.

Lap 16/50 - Confusion

As New Order sang. Verstappen has been invited to start in second... Ocon and Hamilton, who knows?
Red Bull say they would accept P2 on basis Oconn is on pole. But the race stewards say that would be behind Hamilton.

Lap 16/50 - Mazepin smash

Mazepin just flew into the back of Russell with no chance to stop, and that's why we're back in the pits.
'I had to avoid a collision there,' says Hamilton. He'll be hoping to have his position back, but where does that leave Ocon?

Lap 15/50 - RESTART

The lights go off! Hamilton pelts forward and Hamilton takes the lead, Verstappen comes back at him, cuts him off, Ocon is into second, and there is a huge collision somewhere at the back. Verstappen was super aggressive there - I think he's been naughty.
Red flag!

Lap 14/50 - Things getting petty

Verstappen complains that Hamilton is not close enough to him as they warm up, more than 10 lengths away. 'This is still more than 10 cars, this is not allowed!' he carps.

Lap 14/50 - Cars line up in the pits

And off they trundle.

Lap 14/50 - Race restarts in 10 minutes

They need to get the crane out to complete the repairs for the barrier.

Lap 14/50 - Hamilton issues an 'EFF'

Possibly. 'This is BEE ESS' I am guessing Hamilton said. He says 'the wall looks fine' but 'that was a big gamble they took.'


A red flag. This is bigger than huge. It's large. The safety barriers need a repair, and that could be vital for Red Bull. The cars have to go back in to pit now, but that means Verstappen - who has pole position - can now change his tires. Oooooooooooooooooooh.

Lap 13/50 - Safety still out

The yellow flag and safety car is still out. And Verstappen is being held out. This extensive slow pace should mean that there's less wear on the hards for Mercedes.

Lap 12/50 - Verstappen radge

'Bottas is massively off the pace!' complained Verstappen. That held up Verstappen, and the stewards may look at that now. It's gamesmanship, clearly, but is it obvious enough to deserve censure?

Lap 11/50 - Verstappen leads

Russell has moved past Stroll in the pits into 18th. The Mercedes are coming out, while Verstappen is set to stay out and he is now into pole.

Lap 10/50 - Schumacher out

The safety car is out! Mick Schumacher has crashed, and crashed hard, on turn six. To take advantage some cars are coming in to pit. Mercedes could double stack to get onto the hard tires and try to hold on for the rest of the race.
Hamilton is told 'We are going to box-box'.

Lap 9/50 - Hamilton moving away from Bottas

As you might expect with a clear run ahead of him, Hamilton puts in another fastest effort. He is now 2.5 seconds ahead of his teammates. This is his to lose.

Lap 8/50 - Sainz continues to move up the pack

It's a three-and-a-bit second lead for Hamioton for now. Sainz is up into 11th and he has Giovinazzi ahead of him to challenge for points now. Sainz is on hard tires now so he will hope to stay out for a while now.

Lap 7/50 - Sainz moving up

Sainz, who started in 15th, is in 12th for Ferrari now. However he's up against another Spaniard, Fernando Alonso, and there's a battle on as they both try to catch the top 10.

Lap 6/50 - Bottas chips in

Another fastest lap for Hamilton, but Bottas puts in a request to his team, asking the Briton to get a move on so he doesn't need to deal with dirty air.

Lap 5/50 - Hamilton in control

The leader is coasting so far... but there might be a problem.

Lap 4/50 - Mercedes in control

Seems like Mercedes are aiming to set a strong pace early on, with Verstappen now close to three seconds behind. They need to rack up a decent lead in order to ensure a calm finish.

Lap 3/50 - Hamilton stretches out

As Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race so far, he has a 1.251s second lead over Verstappen, who is a couple of seconds behind.

LAP 2/50 - Sainz up to 13th

Now we see Hamilton pull away from Bottas. If the Finn can stay ahead of Verstappen while blocking his progress, that could make a huge difference to the outcome of tonight.

LAP 1/50 - Hamilton and Bottas race away

Away we go! The front two keep their lead with no incident in the first couple of turns.

17:25 - Some flashing lights

And a link to Amnesty International's report on Saudi Arabia.

17:20 - Formation lap a few minutes away

Will one of the drivers try to gain an early edge by sprinting off? No, because that's not how it works.

17:10 - A glimpse of the speed

17:00 - The grid is filling out

16:50 - How Verstappen could win the championship

16:40 - A tribute to Frank Williams

16:30 - How we line up


Good afternoon and welcome to our Formula 1 live text updates from the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix as Britain's Lewis Hamilton aims to win from pole position after Max Verstappen's crash.

Qualifying recap

Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas placed first and second respectively at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix qualifying, with Verstappen taking third and crashing out.
It was another dramatic qualifying session as the season intensifies. Hamilton is the current champion but trails Red Bull’s Verstappen and is in danger of losing his grip on the drivers’ championship at the end of the season.
Hamilton goes into Sunday’s race on 343.5 points, with Verstappen on 351.5.
Moving into the top 10 shootout, Verstappen took an early lead with Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Bottas second.
That all changed in a frenetic final lap under the lights.
With a final, flying lap for the pair, Hamilton secured pole with the fastest run of the day, giving him a lockout with Bottas alongside him for tomorrow.
Verstappen pulled out all the stops to challenge his British rival - unfortunately for him he was unable to stay on the edge and veered too hard into the red, and hit a barrier on his last lap, unable to put down one final challenge to Hamilton.

Reaction from qualifying

Speaking after the run out, Verstappen said: "I don't really understand what happened [on the final flying lap]. I locked up a bit.
"P3 is disappointing but today did show that the car is quick around here... so we'll see what happens tomorrow."
Hamilton added: "What a tough track this is. It's amazing what they've built, the speed and the pace around here is phenomenal.
"It's a great result for the team and a great job by Valtteri [P2] - he's the best team mate there's ever been in this sport."
Formula 1
Verstappen: 'I don't feel sorry for Hamilton'
17/12/2021 AT 08:47
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
'No assurances' Hamilton will race next season, says Mercedes boss Wolff
16/12/2021 AT 13:13