Lewis Hamilton is chasing down Max Verstappen at the top of the Formula 1 standings, just eight points behind after winning the Qatar Grand Prix – his second straight victory following a huge performance in Brazil.
Just over a week remains until the next race, with the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix being the penultimate one of the season – then it’s off to Yas Marina in the United Arab Emirates. The long straights will unquestionably favour the Mercedes cars over those of Red Bull, especially with Toto Wolff revealing Hamilton will get his newest “spicy” engine back in the car in Jeddah.
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:
Red Bull boss Christian Horner on lengthy wait on FIA decisions
With the FIA taking longer to make decisions on incidents of late, Christian Horner believes the race committee is being cautious in order to make the right calls amid a tense title race concluding.
“It is an unusual amount of time but I think, particularly with what’s at stake, there’s huge scrutiny going into each of these decisions.
“So I think they are very conscious that they want to make the right decision that doesn’t leave themselves open to scrutiny. So therefore they are taking the time to come to these decisions,” the Briton told Racer.
Max Verstappen jokes after fine for touching Lewis Hamilton’s car
Max Verstappen has laughed off a heavy fine after qualification for the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The controversial incident with Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes’ rear wing was said to be illegal saw the Red Bull star touching it.
‘’It is no longer allowed to touch your rear wing, otherwise you have an expensive fine. But apparently you can drive with your seatbelt off, because that fine is much cheaper’’, said Verstappen on Hamilton being fined €5,000 euro for loosening his seatbelt in the run-out lap.
Lewis Hamilton set for ‘boost’ at Saudi Arabia Grand Prix
Lewis Hamilton is set to gain a “boost” over title rival Max Verstappen at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix.
That’s due to Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin, who says: “It is another unknown and we have seen pretty big swings of performance over the recent races.
“Now, if we look at the track in Saudi, I think it should suit us. For Lewis, we have got the more powerful engine to go in the car so that is going to give him a useful boost.”
Lewis Hamilton feels he has to be the more intelligent driver to triumph when it comes to the regular clashes he and Max Verstappen have shared on the track this season. Talking to BBC Sport, he explained that he has backed out of certain moments when attempting to overtake, depending on who has the inside lane and how he judges his rival’s intentions.
“If you’re on the outside of a car, backing out is the sensible option pretty much all the time in order to see the end of the race,” he said. “If you’re on the inside, there are scenarios where I truly believe I was in the right, [when] I’m almost wheel to wheel with the car.
“At Silverstone, for example. Go and look at the footage. My front wheel was alongside his front wheel, so it wasn’t like my wheel was next to his rear wheel going in.
“And in that scenario, if I had taken the approach [Verstappen did] for example [in Brazil], just stayed on the gas and gone off track and then kept position, what would the scenario have been there? Would they have looked into the rules there?
“But anyways. I don’t mind being the one that… I am not too big or too successful to have to back out to fight another day. I know that is sometimes the route you have to take. You have to be the smarter one.”
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