F1 news LIVE as Red Bull complain over ‘very unsportsmanlike gesture’ in Mercedes battle

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·18-min read
F1 news LIVE as Red Bull complain over ‘very unsportsmanlike gesture’ in Mercedes battle
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  • Max Verstappen
    Max Verstappen
    Dutch-Belgian racing driver
  • Lewis Hamilton
    Lewis Hamilton
    British racing driver

Follow all the latest news and updates from the world of Formula 1 as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen take their title fight to Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend. Verstappen is eight points clear of his title rival, while Mercedes are just five points ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ standings heading into the final two races of the season, with Abu Dhabi to come on the final weekend.

The long straights of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit are expected to favour Mercedes and they will be trying to plot 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:

Read More

F1 title race: When and where will Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen battle be decided?

Red Bull confront F1 chiefs over Mercedes battle and ‘one-sided’ decisions

Max Verstappen has ‘polished up’ his aggression, says Daniel Ricciardo

Lewis Hamilton explains why he won’t be testing Mercedes’ 2022 F1 car any time soon

F1 news

  • Thrilling F1 title race has just two races remaining

  • Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by eight points

  • Red Bull complain to F1 chiefs over ‘one-sided’ decisions

  • Verstappen has ‘polished up’ his aggressive driving style

F1 news

16:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

Kimi Raikkonen has said Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s rivalry has been unnecessarily turned into a “big story”.

Defending champion Hamilton trails Verstappen by eight points in the Formula 1 drivers’ standings with two races left this season.

The Briton and the Dutchman have clashed on the track more than once this season, but 2007 world champion Raikkonen has said the pair’s rivalry is nothing unusual for a title race. Full story:

Kimi Raikkonen weighs in on Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rivalry

F1 news

15:43 , Lawrence Ostlere

Red Bull boss Helmut Marko discussed “one-sided” decisions in favour of Mercedes with Formula 1 bosses this season.

The two F1 teams have been enthralled in battles due to how close a title race it has been between their respective drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Currently Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points with just two races to go.

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.

Full story:

Red Bull confront F1 chiefs over Mercedes and ‘one-sided’ decisions

F1 news

14:46 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton closed further on Max Verstappen in a thrilling drivers’ championship with a dominant win at the Qatar Grand Prix.

But despite narrowing the gap to just eight points with two races remaining, the Belgian-Dutch driver (351.5 points) can close the deal in Saudi Arabia in what has been a fascinating F1 season.

Alternatively, the seven-time world champion (343.5 points) can usurp the Red Bull star for the first time since the 15th race of the season at the Russian Grand Prix, when the Briton had a two-point advantage. That ramps up the pressure at the first-ever race at the Jeddah street track on 5 December, with one mistake likely to prove vital.

There is the prospect of a first-ever title race with both drivers tied on points, while Hamilton could become the first winner since Nico Rosberg in 2016 to win the title with less Grand Prix victories than a rival, as he currently trails Verstappen 9-7.

Here’s how the title race can come to a premature close before the season finale Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on 12 December...

When and where Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen title race will be decided

F1 news

14:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton has not yet tested MercedesFormula 1 car for the 2022 season because it is still on a “steep learning curve” in the wind tunnel.

Speaking to Motorsport.com, he said: “I haven’t driven the car in the sim because I’ve literally just been focusing on this one. It’s been a hard enough workload as it is.

“But I’m in constant contact with the team. Even after our races, I’m always talking about, ‘this is where our car is right now, and these are the things I want on next year’s car, keep an eye out for these things.

“These are the issues I have with the engine, I don’t want to see that next year, please fix it’. I’m constantly having these conversations with heads.

“But right now, with the progress it’s making in the wind tunnel, there is no point driving the car because it’s on a steep learning curve.”

Hamilton insists he will not test the 2022 F1 car yet (AFP via Getty Images)
Hamilton insists he will not test the 2022 F1 car yet (AFP via Getty Images)

F1 news: Damon Hill raises track concerns

14:07 , Lawrence Ostlere

Damon Hill has raised concerns about the track Formula 1 drivers will race on for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The location is the next destination for the F1 season which will see Lewis Hamilton attempt to close the gap between himself and Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is just eight points ahead of Hamilton with two races remaining.

But it could be a treacherous race with Hill telling the F1 Nation podcast: “The track we’re going to discover, I think it’s going be a big challenge, by the looks of things.

“I’m a bit worried about the speed. I mean, there’s not much run-off. They’ve got the SAFER barrier that they’re using, which is like they do in Indianapolis, but it’s gonna be very high speed and not much run-off.

“So [it’s] high risk, high jeopardy. That always gets your attention as a racing driver.”

Full story:

Damon Hill concerned by ‘high risk’ Saudi Arabian GP track making F1 debut

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

13:37 , Lawrence Ostlere

Sergio Perez has said he is willing to focus on helping Max Verstappen win this year’s Formula 1 championship, as the season approaches its final two races.

“It’s part of the game; Max is the one fighting for the championship, and I have no problem helping him,” the Mexican told Canal Plus.

“It’s in everyone’s interest. It doesn’t bother me. Max is the driver of the moment, he’s very strong.

“It’s not easy to be his teammate, but I think I’m doing well. I would have liked to win more races, but I had to adapt to the team.

“That’s a real process with such a competitive car. It took a little longer to get started than expected, but you realise how difficult it is to be successful when you get into this sport.

“It’s not guaranteed; there are so many good drivers and good teams that you have no guarantee of winning even one grand prix.”

Max Verstappen (left) with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez (Getty Images)
Max Verstappen (left) with Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez (Getty Images)

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

13:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

This weekend’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will suit Lewis Hamilton more than Max Verstappen, according to Red Bull chief Christian Horner.

Dutchman Verstappen leads seven-time champion Hamilton by eight points heading into the final two races of the 2021 season.

But the Brit has reduced the gap in recent weeks after back-to-back victories in Brazil and Qatar.

And with the Saudi Arabian GP set to benefit cars built for faster circuits - such as Mercedes - Horner feels it is a track Hamilton will be confident of winning.

12:55 , Lawrence Ostlere

Damon Hill remembers Sir Frank Williams: “I was in awe of Sir Frank. There will be so many people who were touched by his organisation, his determination to succeed and his love of motor racing.”

More:

F1 NATION: 'A story of a man who started with nothing’ – Damon Hill remembers Sir Frank Williams | Formula 1®

F1 latest news

12:38 , Lawrence Ostlere

Fernando Alonso agrees with Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton should be sent to the back of the grid for his engine usage.

Full story:

Fernando Alonso thinks Lewis Hamilton should be sent to back of grid over engine use

F1 news: No fear from Red Bull

12:21 , Lawrence Ostlere

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko insists Max Verstappen has no need to fear Lewis Hamilton’s “rocket engine” ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Hamilton used a new engine system and showed prolific speed in Brazil, where he produced a stunning performance to take victory from tenth on the grid.

The Briton switched back to an older engine in Qatar without consequence, as Hamilton won again to narrow Verstappen’s lead in the championship to just eight points.

Mercedes will reinstall the new system ahead of next week’s inaugural race in Saudi Arabia, but Marko is adamant the FIA’s introduction of new rear-wing tests will limit Hamilton’s advantage.

F1 news

12:03 , Lawrence Ostlere

Only a few days until the grand prix begins, but Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon were in Paris last night to hand out some trophies:

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

11:39 , Lawrence Ostlere

Saudi Arabia’s inaugural F1 grand prix this weekend is set for the streets of Jeddah, on the Red Sea coast. The track is the second longest on the Formula One calendar and will be the fifth night race of the season. It looks like it’s coming together nicely for a blockbuster weekend of racing.

The Jeddah Corniche Circuit gears up for F1’s visit (AFP via Getty Images)
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit gears up for F1’s visit (AFP via Getty Images)
Workers put the final lick of paint on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit (AFP via Getty Images)
Workers put the final lick of paint on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit (AFP via Getty Images)

F1 news

11:21 , Lawrence Ostlere

Fernando Alonso agrees with Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton should be sent to the back of the grid for his engine usage.

In the Brazilian Grand Prix, the British driver used his fifth internal combustion engine of the season. He was handed a five-place grid penalty but Alonso believes it should have been a stronger punishment.

“Those who have exceeded a certain number of engines per year should be sent to the back of the grid,” Alonso told Spanish outlet AS.

Hamilton won the Brazilian race in November to close the gap on title rival Verstappen, who wasn’t happy about the engine used. He said: “In theory Mercedes can put in a new combustion engine every Grand Prix, take five places penalty and benefit from the power boost.”

Full story:

Fernando Alonso thinks Lewis Hamilton should be sent to back of grid over engine use

F1 news: Verstappen mocks Hamilton

11:08 , Lawrence Ostlere

Max Verstappen has sarcastically mocked Lewis Hamilton over the FIA fines both drivers received following the Brazilian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver was fined a hefty £42,000 (€50,000) for touching his title rival’s rear wing during a controversial qualifying session in Sao Paulo, which then saw the Mercedes star receive a five-place engine penalty.

Hamilton battled back from 10th on the grid to snatch a stunning win, with his celebration including a Brazilian flag, which landed him with a breach of the International Sporting Code rule concerning seat belts, leading to FIA action.

The Briton was fined £3,700 (€5,000) plus a £14,900 (€20,000) suspended fine through 2022. The total was noticeably lower than Verstappen’s.

And ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Verstappen joked he’ll consider driving without a safety belt in future as it comes with a cheaper fine.

He told DAZN: “I’m not allowed to touch a rear wing anymore, that’s for sure. If you do, you have to pay a big fine, but apparently it’s cheaper to drive without the belts. So I’ll think about it.”

Red Bull driver and F1 title leader Max Verstappen (Getty Images)
Red Bull driver and F1 title leader Max Verstappen (Getty Images)

F1 news: Constructors standings

11:01 , Lawrence Ostlere

  1. Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 546.5 (10 wins)

  2. Red Bull Racing 541.5 (10)

  3. Scuderia Ferrari 297.5 (0)

  4. McLaren F1 Team 258 (0)

  5. Alpine F1 Team 137 (1)

  6. Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 112 (0)

  7. Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team 77 (0)

  8. Williams Racing 23 (0)

  9. Alfa Romeo Racing 11 (0)

  10. Haas F1 Team 0 (0)

F1 news: Driver standings top 10

10:44 , Lawrence Ostlere

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing 351.5 (9 wins)

  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 343.53 (7)

  3. Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport 203 (2)

  4. Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing 190 (1 )

  5. Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team 153 (0)

  6. Charles Leclerc, Scuderia Ferrari 152 (0)

  7. Carlos Sainz, Scuderia Ferrari 145.5 (0)

  8. Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren F1 Team105 (1)

  9. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda 92 (0)

  10. Fernando Alonso, Alpine F1 Team 77 (0)

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

10:35 , Lawrence Ostlere

Red Bull boss Helmut Marko discussed “one-sided” decisions in favour of Mercedes with Formula 1 bosses this season.

The two F1 teams have been enthralled in battles due to how close a title race it has been between their respective drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Currently Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points with just two races to go.

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.Red Bull boss Helmut Marko discussed “one-sided” decisions in favour of Mercedes with Formula 1 bosses this season.

Full story:

Red Bull confront F1 chiefs over Mercedes and ‘one-sided’ decisions

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

10:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

Max Verstappen says he is determined to “come back strong” in Jeddah this weekend after failing to challenge Lewis Hamilton in Qatar.

“I would of course have liked to make it a bigger gap,” he told reporters this week. “But when you don’t have the pace, it’s impossible to do that, so we’ll just try to be better, and come back strong, especially in Saudi on the street track, and then yeah, we’ll see in Abu Dhabi.”

Max Vestappen pictured in his Red Bull car (Getty Images)
Max Vestappen pictured in his Red Bull car (Getty Images)

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

10:06 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt says he initially rejected Ayrton Senna from joining his Formula 1 team.

Full story:

Former Ferrari boss reveals why he rejected move for Ayrton Senna

Red Bull complain to F1 chiefs over ‘one-sided’ decisions

10:06 , Ben Burrows

Red Bull boss Helmut Marko discussed “one-sided” decisions in favour of Mercedes with Formula 1 bosses this season.

The two F1 teams have been enthralled in battles due to how close a title race it has been between their respective drivers Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Currently Verstappen leads Hamilton by eight points with just two races to go.

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.

“When Mercedes saw that we were equal or even faster, they first came up with flexi wings and then with all kinds of other false arguments,” Marko told motorsport.com.

“We took those actions as a very unsportsmanlike gesture and afterwards we also focused on what happens at Mercedes, for example with those wings. That’s all part of it when the battle is as intense as it is this year and especially when someone is not used to another team offering competition...

“We felt that there was a certain one-sidedness in the decisions. But in the meantime we have had several discussions with the FIA and also with Liberty, so I would say that it is partly ‘part of the game’.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

10:00 , Lawrence Ostlere

Emma Raducanu has thanked Lewis Hamilton for his advice and support since her thrilling maiden Grand Slam win in September, describing the seven-times Formula One world champion as her role model.

Speaking after her straight-sets win over Elena-Gabriela Ruse at an exhibition event in London on Sunday, Raducanu said Hamilton was a “really cool guy”.

Raducanu competed in karting and motocross events as a child, and is a big fan of Formula One.

“(Hamilton) said: ‘Be patient, you’ve just got to ride the wave. It’s all good. Don’t worry’. Good reassurance. He has been such a good role model for me in terms of helping me out through the next stages,” Raducanu told British media.

The 19-year-old also shrugged off talk of beating Hamilton to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award next month

“No, definitely not. I am rooting for Lewis in the race,” she said.

“I just don’t even think about it. For me, it’s something that’s so far out of the realms of possibility.”

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:47 , Lawrence Ostlere

Former Ferrari boss Jean Todt says he initially rejected Ayrton Senna from joining his Formula 1 team.

Todt was approached by Senna, who drove for McLaren at the time, ahead of the 1994 season in pursuit of racing for the team but, as they already had drivers contracted, the boss had to turn him away. Senna drove for Williams in the 1994 season.

“I offered him to switch to Ferrari in 1995, but he was pushing for 1994,” Todt told Planet F1. “We already had two drivers under contract, Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger, so we couldn’t satisfy his request, and when Ayrton asked why, I explained the situation to him.

“He didn’t give up, telling me that in Formula 1 contracts don’t count, but I replied that for me a contract has to be respected. So we offered him a deal for 1995, but unfortunately we know what happened.”

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:35 , Lawrence Ostlere

Read the full story:

Max Verstappen has ‘polished up’ his aggression, says Daniel Ricciardo

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:33 , Lawrence Ostlere

Max Verstappen’s former teammate Daniel Ricciardo believes the Red Bull driver has “polished up” his aggression and is benefitting from a more mature approach to the drivers’ championship.

Verstappen holds an eight-point lead over Lewis Hamilton heading into the penultimate race in Saudi Arabia, and their rivalry has had several flashpoints throughout the season, including collisions at the British and Italian Grands Prix.

Verstappen’s aggression came under further scrutiny in Brazil earlier this month when he ran wide and forced Hamilton off the track as they battled for the lead.

However, Ricciardo, who partnered Verstappen at Red Bull from 2016 to 2018, believes the 24-year-old has used his aggression much better this season.

“I think in general, being his teammate, I don’t know if I have any more knowledge than everyone watching from the outside, because I think teammate or not, we know Max, you know, the calibre of driving, how he races,” said Ricciardo.

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:28 , Lawrence Ostlere

Lewis Hamilton has stepped back into the simulator in search of an edge in the F1 title race.

The Briton trails Max Verstappen by just eight points heading into the penultimate race of the season in Saudi Arabia, having taken back-to-back victories in Brazil and Qatar.

Hamilton has famously never been a fan of simulators, insisting it did not reflect a real racing environment and that he preferred to avoid it when possible.

But on Wednesday, the seven-time world champion shared a photo from the simulator as he studied the intricacies of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. It will be the first time an F1 race has been held on the street circuit.

Much has been made of the animosity between Hamilton and Verstappen, as well as their respective Mercedes and Red Bull teams.

However, Hamilton has insisted this week that he wants to win a record-breaking eighth title as the “purest driver” without any controversy or collisions.

Pushed further on his strategy heading into the final two races, Hamilton added: “I don’t feel too big or too successful to avoid a fight. I know that sometimes you have to take this path.

“You have to be the clever one. Sometimes you lose points, but it’s not just about me. I have 2,000 employees behind me. A selfish act where I stick to my point and don’t finish the race could cost my whole team the bonus payments at the end of the year. And then create more work on the damaged car.”

F1 news: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:12 , Lawrence Ostlere

Follow all the latest news and updates from the world of Formula 1 as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen take their title fight to Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend. Verstappen is eight points clear of his title rival, while Mercedes are just five points ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ standings heading into the final two races of the season, with Abu Dhabi to come on the final weekend.

The long straights of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit are expected to favour Mercedes and they will be trying to plot a one-two finish. Verstappen could seal the deal in Saudi Arabia, 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.

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