F1 news LIVE: Max Verstappen did brake on Lewis Hamilton as Red Bull apologise ahead of Abu Dhabi

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The finale to this F1 season is almost here ahead of Abu Dhabi this week and the sport has reached a feverish level after the drama in Saudi Arabia as Lewis Hamilton defeated Max Verstappen to draw level in the battle to become the 2021 F1 world champion.

Hamilton and Verstappen are level on points going into the final race after Hamilton’s chaotic win in Jeddah, which came after the two clashed multiple times including physical contact when Verstappen suddenly slowed under orders to let Hamilton past him, having illegally held on to the race lead earlier in the night. Hamilton was not prepared and ran into the back of his rival, damaging his front wing. Six laps later, Verstappen eventually handed the lead to Hamilton, who went on to win.

The result means Hamilton, chasing his eighth world title, is level on points with Verstappen, hunting his maiden championship of what is sure to be a stellar career in Formula 1. The pair both have 369.5 points and head to this weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi with everything to play for. Follow all the latest news and updates below.

Watch: Hamilton v Verstappen: Their careers in numbers

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F1 title permutations: What do Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen need to do in Abu Dhabi?

Lewis Hamilton would’ve ‘thought better of’ fastest lap chase if he’d seen front wing damage

Lewis Hamilton feared Max Verstappen may put him out of Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

 F1 news and build-up to Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Verstappen warned he ‘can’t defend’ against Hamilton pace at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fight was ‘rental karting’, Villeneuve claims
Marko apologises and accepts Verstappen did brake on Hamilton in Jeddah
Verstappen branded ‘bad sportsman’ after walking off F1 podium without joining celebrations
Wolff insists Horner respect will return after title fight
Mercedes end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm after backlash
Hamilton ‘bullying’ Verstappen and ‘not playing fair’, Ecclestone claims

Lewis Hamilton took victory in Saudi Arabia to draw level with Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers championship. (Giuseppe Cacace/AP) (AP)
Lewis Hamilton took victory in Saudi Arabia to draw level with Max Verstappen at the top of the drivers championship. (Giuseppe Cacace/AP) (AP)

 Lewis Hamilton was ‘unsure’ over Max Verstappen intent in Jeddah
17:15 , Jack RathbornMercedes’ Andrew Shovlin says Lewis Hamilton was unclear about Max Verstappen after the Red Bull star slowed centrally on the track in Jeddah.“You could see Lewis had a problem because Max was driving right in the middle of the track,” Shovlin says, according to Motorsport-Total.“And this is usually just as wide as three car widths. He couldn’t know if Max was moving left or right.“Max stayed very central and braked hard, and Lewis was only at 50 bar and later braked to avoid driving into Max. That’s all he could do.“Nobody would expect anyone to let you pass by. If you let your team-mate pass, we all know how to handle it. And when you return a position, it shouldn’t be completely different.”

 (Getty)
(Getty)

 Verstappen vs Hamilton in Saudi Arabia was ‘rental karting’, not F1, claims Villeneuve
16:50 , Jack Rathborn“It wasn’t F1, it was rental karting, everything was wrong. So I’m not sure what to say,” Jacques Villeneuve told Motorsport.com.“It’s hard to stay neutral, it’s hard to give a comment on what happened every time and be perceived as being neutral. You will always be perceived as taking sides and that’s when it becomes a bit too much.“Do we want sport and good F1? Or do we just want a Hollywood show? If you want a Hollywood show, Sunday was amazing. But is that what F1 is all about?“And then when you see the team principals, everyone is shouting and putting pressure even on the marshals and so on. That becomes ridiculous. It really has become ridiculous.“It was great for the fans, so that probably will increase the viewership which is great for F1. But we are starting to get away from the sport, that’s all. So ultimately, it depends if you are a purist or not.”

 (AP)
(AP)

 Verstappen to ‘give it all’ to win ‘epic battle’ for F1 title
16:30 , Ben BurrowsMax Verstappen insists he will “give it all” to win the Formula One title this weekend.The 24-year-old is vying for his maiden world championship and goes into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.The pair have put on quite a show this year and have both led the drivers’ standings at different points of a season that will live long in the memory.Verstappen had been the favourite for the title until Hamilton secured a hat-trick of wins in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.But he is still determined to take the crown as he aims for back-to-back wins at the Yas Marina Circuit.“Last year is not always a good reference in terms of result as there were multiple factors that contributed to it,” he said. “We’ve been lacking a bit of pace for the past few races, but hopefully that won’t be the case this weekend.“The Yas Marina Circuit has had a few changes and the track is much faster now. It’s going to be interesting to see how it will affect the set-up of the car.“It has been an epic battle so far. We’ve had a lot of wins and good moments this year and we’ve been a lot more competitive in general, compared to the years before.“We are level on points and I know that we as a team are going to give it all to win this Championship. This is going to be an exciting race and we want to finish the season in the best way possible.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

 Nikita Mazepin would have feared Saudi Arabian Grand Prix crash outcome 15 years ago
15:50 , Jack Rathborn“I’m fine, it was quite an impact unfortunately,” said Nikita Mazepin when asked about his crash at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I took quite a big hit, especially on the left side of my upper body, and for sure will wake up sore tomorrow.“But I’d say I’m very fortunate to be racing in this era because the work Jean Todt has done together with the FIA made us able to walk out of this. And I’m not sure if it was the same, let’s say, 15 years ago.“From what I saw, Charles didn’t have anywhere to go, spun Sergio around. The place is so tight that when Sergio was sideways it took about 85% of the circuit. So George, seeing what’s happening, took a precaution and then lifted or braked.“And I was fighting with [Lance] Stroll out of Turn 2 and we were both going to go flat through that place. But unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to stop because the speeds were over 200, I also tried to brake but it just was impossible to avoid George’s back.“The track is so narrow that it’s like a traffic jam and going full speed inside it.”

 F1 title permutations: What do Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen need to do in Abu Dhabi?
15:40 , Jack RathbornLewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen head to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend locked on level points at the top of Formula One’s drivers’ championship.The Brit is aiming for a record eighth drivers’ title and kept his hopes alive with a third win in three races at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday.Having stormed to pole position on Saturday, Hamilton came out on top in a wild race which was twice halted by red flags and saw him tangle with the Red Bull of Verstappen - who he labelled “f****** crazy” - as the pair wrestled on the track and bickered over the radio.What do Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen need to do to win F1 title?

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 Zhou Guanyu named as China’s first F1 driver
14:50 , Jack RathbornRacing young-gun Zhou Guanyu has made motor racing history after being named China’s first Formula One driver.Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN announced on 16 November that the 22-year-old will join their team for the 2022 season, with the opening race scheduled for the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain on 20 March.Mr Guanyu’s teammate at Alfa Romeo will be Finnish racing veteran Valtteri Bottas, 32, who currently drives for Mercedes-AMG Petronas alongside seven-time world F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.“Becoming an F1 driver has always been my dream, and I’m really excited to finally fulfil my dream. I want to thank all my fans who have been following my races and supporting me,” Mr Guanyu said.“I’m looking forward to the opening race of the next F1 season. Until then, I will continue to comprehensively improve. And I will learn from my teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is a very experienced driver. I hope you can always support me and follow my first F1 season.”Zhou Guanyu named as China’s first F1 driver

 Red Bull ‘need a miracle’ to overhaul Mercedes at Abu Dhabi, Christian Horner admits
14:35 , Jack RathbornRed Bull team principal Christian Horner says they “need a miracle” to beat Mercedes to the constructors’ title and that their focus is entirely on the drivers’ championship.Lewis Hamilton’s win in Saudi Arabia helped pull Mercedes 28 points clear of Red Bull in the team standings, and with only one race to go it leaves the German team in an almost unassailable position and close to winning their eighth successive constructors’ title.However the drivers’ championship remains in the balance, with Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen level on points heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi this weekend – Verstappen is technically first, having won more races.“Constructors, we’re on the back foot, we need a miracle to win that,” admitted Horner. “We’ve got one more shot to have a go at winning this [driver’s] title with Max. Somebody, either Lewis or Max, will come out on top after next weekend. The driver’s is where the prestige is. It’s not where the money is but it’s where the prestige is. That’s the one people remember.”Red Bull ‘need a miracle’ to overhaul Mercedes at Abu Dhabi, Christian Horner admits

 Mercedes F1 end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm after backlash
14:18 , Jack RathbornMercedes have ended their partnership with Kingspan after outrage over the company’s links to the Grenfell Tower fire.Survivors’ group Grenfell United highlighted the insulation firm’s links to the 2017 disaster which took 72 lives.While Kingspan rejected having any prior knowledge of their product being used for the tower’s cladding system.The deal, which was announced last week, which saw the company’s logo on Mercedes’ cars at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.Cabinet minister Michael Gove publicly called on Mercedes to end the agreement.Mercedes end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm

 Ocon: Saudi Arabian GP finish ‘difficult to swallow’
14:12 , Jamie BraidwoodEsteban Ocon said his finish to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was “difficult to swallow” but has warned that his Alpine team could be “very dangerous” next season. The team were closing in on their second podium appearance in a row, following Fernando Alonso’s third-place finish in Qatar, when Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas pipped him to the line. Ocon said.: “It’s a bit difficult to swallow for sure, we had that third place until 50 metres to the end so the competitors inside us, they are not happy - but we are happy because we have extended our lead on AlphaTauri for 5th place in the constructors,” Ocon said.“We extract a lot from the car and as Fernando would say, it is part of the plan. We are pushing as much as we can and today we got a very strong team result, so pretty pleased with that and very happy for everybody.“I think it was a very solid weekend on our side. Once we have the same pace as the top cars we are going to be very dangerous.”

 Verstappen will not take out Hamilton, Horner insists
13:51 , Jamie Braidwood Christian Horner was also adamant that Max Verstappen will want to win the F1 title the right way and insisted he will not try and take out title rival Lewis Hamilton at the Yas Marina Circuit. Verstappen has nine victories so far this season to Hamilton’s eight, so the 24-year-old will win the championship if neither driver finishes the race. “Max wants to win this championship on the track,” Horner said. “It’s as simple as that. He’s a hard racer but a fair racer, and I expect no different this weekend. Nobody wants to win this championship in a gravel trap or in a stewards’ inquiry. “To finish first, first you’ve got to finish. That’s been our mantra throughout this season.”

 ‘He’s not crazy’: Horner defends Verstappen’s aggressive style
13:32 , Jamie BraidwoodChristian Horner has launched a fresh defence of driver Max Verstappen following criticism of his aggressive driving at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday. Lewis Hamilton accused the Red Bull driver of going “over the limit” and said Verstappen was “f***ing crazy” after the title rivals collided during the race. “He's certainly not crazy,” Horner told The Times. ““You’ve got two guys, different ages, going for the biggest prize in motorsport. Lewis is 36 and going for his eighth world title. Max is attempting to win his first. And I think Lewis has an enormous amount of experience; he is using all of that. He’s a wily competitor.“It’s frustrating. There’s been some confusion. Some incidents get punished, some go unpunished. Max does tend to get the harsher verdict, particularly when you look back at the weekend.”

 Verstappen being ‘bullied’ in F1 title race, Ecclestone claims
13:15 , Jamie Braidwood"It is psychological game playing,” Ecclestone, 91, continued. "Max has had a few years of racing but has not had years in the streets like Lewis. "It has built character and knowing he would win the race with Mercedes being the dominant force over the past few years has made him a much stronger character than Max."For Max, this season is the first one he has had a car capable of winning regularly whereas before it was nothing like competitive."More here: Lewis Hamilton ‘bullying’ Max Verstappen in F1 title race, Bernie Ecclestone claims

 Horner hits back at ‘wily’ Hamilton
12:54 , Jamie BraidwoodLewis Hamilton is a “wily” driver who “gives just as good as he gets”, Christian Horner has claimed, as the Red Bull team boss hit back over accusations that Max Verstappen had gone too far at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I would ask you to look at Lewis in the final corner, where he pushed Max off in the same way,” Horner said after the controversial race. “Any driver that’s come through karting or that raced in any category, you know that is hard racing. That’s how these kids have raced throughout their careers and Lewis gives just as good as he gets.“He’s very wily with the way he does it sometimes. But look at the last corner when he ran Max out wide there. There was another corner as well where he opened the steering wheel I think it was into Turn 1 and 2. “These are two guys that are fighting over such fine margins right pushing to the boundary. If you don’t want them to have the ability to run wide, put a gravel trap out there.”

 Changes made to Abu Dhabi circuit ahead of F1 finale
12:37 , Jamie BraidwoodAbu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit has undergone a series of changes in a bid to make the Formula One season finale even more exciting for drivers and fans.A number of corners have been taken out of the track and the circuit has been shortened slightly to make overtaking easier for the drivers. “I’m looking forward to the finale in Abu Dhabi as they have modified the track there, which I’m really pleased about as I think it will present a new challenge to the drivers,” said Ross Brawn. “I think they are going to enjoy it a lot more. The simulations we have done show the new Abu Dhabi is a better racing track with more opportunities for overtaking.More here: Changes made to Abu Dhabi circuit ahead of F1 season finale

 Verstappen being ‘bullied’ in F1 title race, Ecclestone claims
12:18 , Jamie BraidwoodFormer F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has claimed that Max Verstappen is being “bullied” by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in the title race. “Max is a kid compared to Lewis and the worst thing is Lewis has a massive publicity campaign working for him,” Ecclestone told AFP. “They have been pushing down all the time on Max and then the race directors have been looking in because Toto [Wolff] goes to the race director.“Max has more than a race to confront as he has them too on his back because they are bullying him and not playing fair.”

 Fury tells F1 fans to give ‘bad boy’ Verstappen a break
12:00 , Jamie BraidwoodTyson Fury has leaped to Max Verstappen’s defence after the Red Bull driver came under criticism following his collision with Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.“I’ve just been reading up about the F1 rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and how Max is being made out to be a bit of a bad boy,” Fury said in a video on his Instagram story.“It’s not nice, especially when you are young and ambitious and want to win. Give him a bit of a break - he’s only a young lad trying his best. Good luck to both men in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.”Fury is friends with Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who revealed earlier this season: “The two-time world heavyweight champion is a fan of Max and there has been a lot of excitement from other sports around the competitive championship fight we are in. “Tyson is an incredibly passionate and focused guy and I think he respects the fact that Max drives in a similar way.”

 Brundle tells Verstappen to stop ‘unfair’ tactics in F1 title battle
11:45 , Jamie BraidwoodMax Verstappen has been warned to stop his “unfair” tactics in his Formula One title battle with Lewis Hamilton, or he risks damaging his reputation.“I’m in awe of Verstappen’s driving skills and racing nous,” Brundle said in his Sky Sports column. “His touch and control behind the wheel is something to behold, but it saddens me that he’s resorting to such tactics, he’s better than that.“And for all his outwardly carefree attitude it will be such a shame if his legacy is to be labelled as an unfair driver.“Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher had their faults too, and I was on the receiving end from both of them on occasions, but it’s a sizeable dent on their immense reputations, not a positive.”

 Mercedes end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm after backlash
11:18 , Jack RathbornMercedes have ended their partnership with Kingspan after outrage over the company’s links to the Grenfell Tower fire.Survivors’ group Grenfell United highlighted the insulation firm’s links to the 2017 disaster which took 72 lives.While Kingspan rejected having any prior knowledge of their product being used for the tower's cladding system.The deal, which was announced last week, which saw the company’s logo on Mercedes’ cars at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.Cabinet minister Michael Gove publicly called on Mercedes to end the agreement.A statement from the team said: “The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team and Kingspan today announced that they have mutually agreed to end their partnership with immediate effect.”Mercedes end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm

Jean Todt could return to Ferrari (Getty)
Jean Todt could return to Ferrari (Getty)

 Ferrari in talks to bring back outgoing FIA president Jean Todt
11:06 , Jack RathbornFerrari have begun discussions with the outgoing FIA president Jean Todt to return to the Scuderia.Todt could rejoin the Formula 1 team in an advisory role, report Corriere Della Sera reports.With talks initiated with Ferrari president John Elkann over a possible consulting role at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours.Todt would support Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s team principal and managing director, in a move designed to bring the team back to prominence.Todt was team leader at Ferrari in 1993, inspiring a historic run of six consecutive constructors’ titles and five drivers’ championships with the legendary Michael Schumacher.

 Latifi admits he got ‘lucky’ to avoid accident at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
09:46 , Jack Rathborn“Very, very challenging,” Latifi said, having been behind Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc. “Obviously very stop-start so it’s very difficult to keep a rhythm. Starting further towards the back as well is difficult to navigate through the carnage.“We pitted before the red flag and managed to make up a little bit with the accident, which was very, very close to me being collected in it.“It’s unfortunate we didn’t have more pace. I felt like I was giving it everything. Quite knackered as a result of it, but it wasn’t to be.“You could see the smoke and the cars checking up but you don’t know exactly which way to move and the second restart, [the crashes were] at the narrowest part of the track there. I think it could have been luck either way.“Even though I cleared Perez I could have quite easily been ran into from behind, so I think we got quite lucky and fortunate. Just a race to learn from and see what we can do in Abu Dhabi.”

 Red Bull chief apologises over view of Verstappen-Hamilton incident
09:45 , Jamie BraidwoodRed Bull chief Helmut Marko has apologised and admitted he was wrong to suggest that Max Verstappen did not brake in front of Lewis Hamilton at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.The controversial and dramatic incident between the Formula One title rivals occurred when Verstappen was ordered to give his lead of the race back to Hamilton after pushing the Mercedes wide following an attack from the seven-time world champion.Verstappen slowed down on a straight and braked unexpectedly in front of Hamilton, who drove into the back of his Red Bull car. Both drivers suffered damage following the collision but Hamilton was able to retake the lead and hold on to win his third race in a row and go level on points with Verstappen at the top of the drivers’ standings.Immediately after the race, in which Verstappen was also handed a five-second penalty, Marko claimed that Red Bull had been “treated unfairly”.Verstappen was subsequently hit with a 10-second penalty after both drivers were called to the stewards following the race and Marko has now backed down from his initial view of the incident.“At the time of the television interview, I passed on exactly the information I had previously received from the engineers,” Marko told F1 Insider.“They obviously weren’t right, so I’m sorry.”Red Bull chief apologises over initial view of Max Verstappen-Lewis Hamilton incident

 Wolff rejects accusations Hamilton vs Verstappen is ‘fake’ rivalry
09:30 , Jack Rathborn“It’s absolutely genuine because there is so much at stake,” Wolff told the F1 Nation podcast. “It’s ambitious people, ambitious teams that are really fighting tooth and nail for this championship.“Once you are in that, there’s just no ability in your mind to even create a space for another person. At least for me, I have no negative nor positive emotions [towards Horner] but I’m trying to really stay in that place.“Sometimes I was carried away when I heard a comment that annoyed me, but only twice this season. The rest is no emotion, neither positive nor negative.“It is impossible to just have a relationship because there is so much at stake. Everyone is trying to defend the interests of the team. We are very different personalities also, the way we probably perceive the world. And I try to just stay authentic to what I believe is right and he does it his way. Maybe in the future we can have a laugh about it, but not today.”

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 Albon: Hamilton and Verstappen battle in Jeddah was ‘pinnacle of chaos’
08:55 , Jack Rathborn“I think it’s brewing, and in each race it brews more and more and you think, ‘okay, that was a close one’,“And we’ve had it a few times this year, but this was the pinnacle of – I don’t know what you call it – I feel like it’s kind of chaos, to be honest with you.“I enjoy it, I think all of us enjoy it, but it seems like a lot of it’s been done in the stewards’ [room] rather than on track.”

 Max Verstappen branded ‘bad sportsman’ after walking off F1 podium without joining celebrations
08:22 , Jack RathbornMax Verstappen was branded “a bad sportsman” after walking off the podium without celebrating at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.Verstappen finished second to title rival Lewis Hamilton in Jeddah after a race full of controversy and contention, which included the pair making contact when Verstappen suddenly slowed to let the Briton past under stewards’ orders.The result meant Hamilton drew level on points with the young Dutchman, who is chasing his first ever world title as Hamilton seeks a record eighth. Their championship fight will be decided in the final race of the season, at Abu Dhabi this weekend.Max Verstappen branded ‘bad sportsman’ after walking off Jeddah podium

 Marko apologises and accepts Verstappen did brake on Hamilton in Jeddah
08:11 , Jack Rathborn“At the time of the television interview, I passed on exactly the information I had previously received from the engineers,” Helmut Marko told f1-insider.com.“They obviously weren’t right, so I’m sorry.”The Red Bull advisor initially said: “We feel we have been treated unfairly. We are working to prove Max’s braking pressure did not increase when he crashed with Hamilton,” said the Austrian.“Hamilton simply misjudged and drove into Max’s car. Unfortunately, that left two big cuts in our rear tyre. That’s why we couldn’t attack anymore.”

 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fight was ‘rental karting’, Jacques Villeneuve claims
08:10 , Jack RathbornFormula One risks becoming a “Hollywood show” after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix descended into “rental karting”, former world champion Jacques Villeneuve has warned.Lewis Hamilton beat title rival Max Verstappen to win a chaotic race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Sunday and take the world championship to the final race of the season.It sets up a thrilling season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with Hamilton and Verstappen level on points following one of the most dramatic campaigns in recent memory.Saudi Arabian Grand Prix fight was ‘rental karting’, Jacques Villeneuve claims

 Ross Brawn defends FIA stewards over Saudi Arabian Grand Prix decisions
08:09 , Jack RathbornFormula One chief Ross Brawn has defended Michael Masi’s handling of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after the race director came under criticism from Red Bull boss Christian Horner.After a chaotic race, Horner claimed that F1 had been missing the experience of Masi’s late predecessor Charlie Whiting and also said that the race director’s conversation with Red Bull, which attracted attention after it was broadcast on TV, was like being at “local market”.The first-ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was hit by two red-flag stoppages and marred by controversial incidents involving title protagonists Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.Ross Brawn defends FIA stewards over Saudi Arabian Grand Prix decisions

 Max Verstappen warned he 'can't defend' against Lewis Hamilton pace at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
08:09 , Jack RathbornRed Bull team boss Christian Horner has warned driver Max Verstappen that Lewis Hamilton is difficult to defend against on current form and given the straight-line speed of his Mercedes car.Hamilton has won the last three races since changing his engine at the Brazil Grand Prix to move level on points with Verstappen ahead of the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend.The seven-time world champion had the long-run advantage at the first-ever Saudi Arabia Grand Prix and was almost a second faster than Verstappen in sectors one and two at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.Max Verstappen warned he ‘can’t defend’ against Lewis Hamilton pace in Abu Dhabi

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