JEDDAH: Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen in a truly chaotic Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, which was restarted twice and in which the two title rivals collided with each other once again in the 2021 season.
In one of the most dramatic races in living memory, Hamilton and Verstappen went wheel to wheel on several occasions at the Jeddah Corniche street circuit, with the Briton crashing into the back of the Dutchman at one point after a misunderstanding over yielding a position.
The two drivers are now level on points in the drivers' championship, setting the stage for a winner-takes-all season finale in Abu Dhabi next weekend.
With just next week's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix remaining in one of the most enthralling seasons in F1 history, Hamilton and Verstappen are tied on 369.5 points, though the Dutchman is in front with nine race wins to Hamilton's eight. Bottas is assured of a third place finish with 218 points.
In the constructors' standings, Mercedes extend their lead to 587.5 points over Red Bull's 559.5. Ferrari are third on 307.5 points.
"I've been racing a long time and that was incredibly tough," said Hamilton afterwards. "I tried to be as sensible and tough as I could be and with all my experience just keeping the car on the track and staying clean."
"It was difficult. We had all sorts of things thrown at us so I'm just really proud of everyone. Red Bull have some raw pace, it was hard to overtake them." IANS