Lewis Hamilton won his third-straight race in a row after finishing first at the Jeddah Circuit to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The race was not without its share of controversy as one might have expected from a race of this magnitude.
Hamilton began the race at pole position and was able to finish the race as the winner, despite losing the lead at some point to Max Verstappen, who started from P3. At one point, Hamilton slipped to third with Verstappen at the lead and Esteban Ocon in front of Hamilton. This was the first race to hold in Saudi Arabia.
There were some crashes on the track, involving other drivers, which caused the race to be restarted twice. Hamilton crashed into the tail of Verstappen’s car, at Lap 37, after Verstappen slowed down to give Hamilton the lead as instructed. Speaking after the race, Hamilton said he had no idea what Verstappen was planning to do and thought he was being ‘brake-tested’.
Hamilton had to finish the race with a damaged front wing and both Verstappen and Hamilton were invited by the stewards over the crash. The Dutch driver was visibly upset after the race, where he was handed a five-second penalty. He did not join Hamilton and Bottas, who finished P3, at the podium. He commented: “What happened today is unbelievable and this sport is more about penalties than racing. For me, this is not Formula 1.”
Hamilton and Verstappen are now tied at the top with 369.5 points apiece. This means that next week’s race, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, would be the real title decider. Tensions were quite high today and they could run much higher next week as they battle for the world title. Both drivers would have to do their best to be competitive while still being professional to avoid penalties.