Lewis Hamilton Aims To Be ‘Purest’ F1 Driver
It’s almost here, the penultimate F1 race in the calendar, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Today will provide an insight into how Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen get on at Jeddah’s Corniche Circuit.
It’s practice Friday, as the most exciting Formula 1 season in years nears its finale, with the Red Bull star able to knock off his Mercedes rival as early as this weekend, though everybody expects the seven-time world champion to at least survive until Abu Dhabi, if not take another chunk into the Belgian-Dutch driver’s lead, which currently stands at a slender eight points.
While there will be many thrills and spills left in the Drivers’ Championship, there is sure to be drama, too, in the Constructors’ Championship. This will emphasise the drives of Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez, who both have pivotal roles to play in our their teammates negotiate the final two races of the season.
In terms of track dynamic, there will be long straights at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit this weekend, which ought to favour Mercedes as they gun for a one-two finish. But if Hamilton was to win and collect the bonus point for fastest lap, with Verstappen finishing second, it would create the extraordinary scenario of both drivers having 269.5 points going into the final Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit.
Wolff and his Red Bull counterpart Christian Horner have been involved in back-and-forth encounters too, drawing amusement from some and disdain from others, as the fight goes on for the constructor championship as well as the drivers’ title. Elsewhere outside the big two, Fernando Alonso’s podium finish, the changing team line-ups for next year and even the additions of rules such as sprint qualifying have all been big talking points in Formula One recently.
Here’s all the latest F1 news and reaction as the build-up to Saudi Arabia continues:
F1 drivers face the media ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 08:37
Daniel Ricciardo on Cyril Abiteboul tattoo: ‘I lost faith that it was ever going to happen’
“I was just worried that it became so long that it was… irrelevant,” said Daniel Ricciardo.
“It was hard with travel, Covid, just trying to tee up the times. I thought if it gets too long, we might just forget about it but it seems everyone was pretty excited for it.
“It’s a real thing. Zak [Brown] and Cyril are now stamped for life. It was good because a lot of people I think lost faith that it was ever going to happen but we got there, it was a good time.
“There was definitely some negotiating – design, size and all those things – but actually in the end, pretty happy with the result,” he added.
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 08:30
Lewis Hamilton revelling in ‘uncharted territory’ ahead of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
“It’s different in one sense because we’ve got two incredibly close teams, it’s different because we’re fighting for uncharted territory, no one’s ever won eight titles, team or driver, so that’s quite fresh and new,” said Hamilton, who will leave Saudi Arabia level on points with Verstappen to set up a winner takes all Abu Dhabi finale if he wins with the fastest lap ahead of the Dutchman.
“Then on the other side I’m more relaxed than I’ve ever been. I remember how it was my first championship and even my second and third, the sleepless nights and all those sorts of things.
“Obviously, (I’m) a lot more sure about myself and just applied myself better than ever before. All I can do is prepare the best I can for what’s up ahead of me and I 100% know I have.”
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 08:22
Max Verstappen downplays Lewis Hamilton’s extra experience in title fight
Max Verstappen admits seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is “better prepared” for a title fight but does not believe the extra experience gives his rival the upper hand with two races remaining.
While Hamilton seeks a record eighth drivers’ crown, Verstappen is looking to claim his first title after a fine season with Red Bull.
The Dutchman sits eight points clear at the top of the standings but heads into this weekend’s F1 debut in Saudi Arabia on the back foot, with Hamilton winning the last two races in Brazil and Qatar.
Hamilton, 36, claimed his first title back in 2008 and has racked up a further six in the past seven seasons as both he and Mercedes have dominated the sport.
“I think it’s natural of course that when you are in this stage of your career you are better prepared than what you were in your first or second, when Lewis was fighting for his first title,” said the 24-year-old Verstappen.
“I think it’s a natural progression and it’s very normal. I also feel much better prepared and more experienced than when I first came into Formula One.
“No, I don’t think that makes a big difference, because otherwise it would have shown already throughout the season.”
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:59
Lewis Hamilton addresses ‘pretty terrifying’ LGBTQ+ laws in Saudi Arabia
Lewis Hamilton is in the midst of the most exciting Formula One title battle in recent memory but insists he is uncomfortable racing in Saudi Arabia highlighting the country’s “pretty terrifying” LGBTQ+ laws.
The inaugural race in Jeddah is the penultimate grand prix of the 2021 season in which reigning champion Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen have tussled for the title.
Verstappen is just eight points clear heading into Sunday’s race in Saudi Arabia but Hamilton has the momentum of winning the previous two races for Mercedes.
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:40
Lewis Hamilton accused of dropping ‘subtle little digs’ in F1 title race
There has been a war of words between Red Bull and Mercedes throughout an engrossing season, which has included the team principals Horner and Toto Wolff verbally sparring in public.
F1 legend Alain Prost claimed the trash talk has gone too far, but Horner maintains the seven-time world champion is trying to use the media to unsettle Verstappen, who holds an eight-point lead over Hamilton heading into the final two races.
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:39
Red Bull confront F1 chiefs over Mercedes battle and ‘one-sided’ decisions
Red Bull boss Helmut Marko discussed “one-sided” decisions in favour of Mercedes with Formula 1 bosses this season.
Marko says he spoke to the FIA and Liberty Media about regulatory changes around the rear wing which were implemented after Mercedes complained about Red Bull.
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:38
Red Bull hint at engine change for Max Verstappen as F1 season reaches final two races
The Dutchman leads defending champion Lewis Hamilton by eight points with two races left this season, with the Briton having served two engine-related grid penalties this year, while Verstappen is still on his third engine – the permitted amount.
But, with Hamilton closing in, the 24-year-old might be forced to change engines before the year is over, receiving a five-place grid penalty if he is to do so.
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:37
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix practice schedule
10.45am – F2 Practice Live
1pm – F1 Practice One Live (session starts 1.30pm)
3.15pm – F2 Qualifying Live
4.45pm – F1 Practice Two Live (session starts 5pm)
Jack Rathborn3 December 2021 07:25