After the fallout from the Qatar Grand Prix, who propelled Lewis Hamilton to favourite for the Formula 1 drivers’ championship, the build-up to Saudi Arabia and how Max Verstappen will react with his advantage now within reach of the seven-time world champion.
The Briton is only eight points behind the Dutch driver and with just two races to go, having timed his latest excellent drive to perfection in a comprehensive win from start to finish, there is no room for error for either driver now.
Verstappen showed his toughness to limit the damage after a damaging grid penalty took a win out of the question, surging up from seventh on the grid after a five-place penalty to snatch second, while also landing a late blow on Mercedes with the bonus point for the fastest lap.
The sport is flying right now, and the iconic Fernando Alonso delivered some nostalgia with a first F1 podium in seven years to the delight of Alpine, with his performance topping Indy Sport’s Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings.
Here’s all the latest F1 news and reaction from Qatar as the build-up to Saudi Arabia begins:
Glock criticises Bottas for lack of Hamilton support
Former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock has criticised Valtteri Bottas for not doing enough to support Lewis Hamilton in his title fight with Max Verstappen.
The German spent five season in F1, most notably with Toyota as Jarno Trulli’s team-mate, scoring a single podium at the 2009 Malaysian Grand Prix. Glock believes the Finn does not have the required desire to support Hamilton fully.
“He’s never in a position where you realise that he really wants to drive forward to support Lewis Hamilton,” Glock told Sky Germany. “He drives his races without taking any risks and he always needs motivation from Toto Wolff. I think Lewis and Max are on their own to decide the championship.”
Mercedes are too fast to cheat, says Ralf Schumacher, as Lewis Hamilton chases F1 world title
Ralf Schumacher has poured doubt over suspicions Mercedes are bending the rules to win the Formula 1 world championship, saying they are fast enough not to cheat.
Questions have been asked of Mercedes in recent weeks as Lewis Hamilton was hit with grid-place penalties, first for yet another engine change and then over the specification of his rear wing.
Hamilton won the Qatar Grand Prix to cut his deficit to Max Verstappen to eight points at the top of the drivers’ championship, with two races to go.
F1 title race: When and where will Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen battle be decided?
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.
Lewis Hamilton details ‘clever’ strategy to beat Max Verstappen
“When you’re on the outside, it’s almost always the more sensible option to pull back so you can finish the race,” Hamilton told Auto Motor und Sport when asked if his strategy to back down against Verstappen on the track was a sign of weakness.
“On the inside, there were situations where I clearly saw myself as being in the right, like at Silverstone, for example. Look at the pictures again. My front wheel was level with his front wheel. It wasn’t that my front wheel was at the corner entrance level with his rear wheel. If I had acted like Max in Brazil in this situation, that is, had stayed on the gas, left the track and held the position, how would that have turned out?
“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.”
Source Link F1 LIVE: Lewis Hamilton rejects weakness over tactics to defeat Max Verstappen