Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen COLLIDE after the Dutchman is ordered to give first place up


Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s tense tussle for the Formula One title took another chaotic turn during the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix when the two collided after the Dutchman was ordered to give his rival the lead back after an unfair overtake.

A number of virtual safety cars halted Hamilton’s charge but he was soon able to attack Verstappen at turn one, with the Red Bull driver keeping the place but again running wide.

His team told him to give the position to Hamilton but, with the Mercedes set to pass, Verstappen slowed right down and Hamilton ran into the back of his title challenger, damaging his front wing and labelling Verstappen ‘crazy’ over the radio.

Lewis Hamilton (back) crashed into the back of Max Verstappen (front) during Sunday’s race

Hamilton ran into the back of his title rival after Verstappen was ordered to give the lead back

Hamilton ran into the back of his title rival after Verstappen was ordered to give the lead back

As Red Bull instructed Verstappen to give the place back, Hamilton hadn’t been relayed the message by Mercedes seeing him smash into the back of the Red Bull who has dramatically slowed down to allow the overtake.

A confused Hamilton, who was not made aware that Red Bull had instructed their driver to allow him to pass, claimed Verstappen had ‘break-checked’ him during the confusing scenes during lap 38 of the Jeddah race.

Verstappen was handed a five-second time penalty for initially gaining an advantage by cutting the corner, with the incident which saw Hamilton run into him being investigated after the race.

Hamilton sustained damage to his front wing as a result of the collision but was still able to nurse the car to the finish line on Sunday. 

Hamilton (left) sustained damage to the front right of his wing as a result of the collision

Hamilton (left) sustained damage to the front right of his wing as a result of the collision

The Dutchman revealed afterwards that he was following instructions in letting the seven-time world champion by him so he could give the lead back.

‘It was quite eventful,’ said Verstappen. ‘A lot of things happen that I don’t fully agree with but it is what it is, I tried on track to give my all. Nevertheless, I was still second.

‘I slowed down. I wanted to let him by. I was on the right, and he didn’t want to overtake. And we touched. I don’t really understand what happened there.’ 

The Brit claimed he didn’t understand why Verstappen slowed down.

‘I’ve been racing a long time but that was incredibly tough,’ Hamilton said.

‘I tried to be as sensible and tough as I could be out there with all my race experience, keeping the car on track and staying clear, and that was difficult.

‘We have had all sorts of things thrown at us and I’m just really proud of everyone.’

Hamilton’s opinion on the coming together with Verstappen differed to that of his rival, the British driver adding: ‘I didn’t quite understand why all of a sudden he hit the brakes pretty heavily and then I ran into the back of him and then he moved on and I got a message afterwards saying he was going to let me pass, so it was a bit confusing.’ 

Hamilton, meanwhile, set about beating Verstappen on the track – passing him and making it stick on lap 43 before going on to win the frantic and thrilling race.

Hamilton said he didn't understand why Verstappen slowed down in his post-race interview

Hamilton said he didn’t understand why Verstappen slowed down in his post-race interview

Hamilton went on to win the first ever Saudi Arabia Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen (back)

Hamilton went on to win the first ever Saudi Arabia Grand Prix ahead of Verstappen (back)

Mercedes’ race engineer Toto Wolff, who was filmed furiously throwing his headphones in anger after watching Hamilton clip the back of Verstappen, revealed Hamilton did not know about Verstappen’s instructions to slow down.

Wolff told Sky Sports: ‘I have some pressure release valve that needs to come out. We have a good doctor who is going to give me some supplies!

‘This is not yet done. Winning the race he deserved it. We could have been out a few times with a broken front wing. That was spectacular but not a good race.

‘The tele imagery shows he is slowing down then accelerating again. He’s slowing down. No, he (Hamilton) didn’t know and it was the wrong sequence of messages.

‘I don’t think that (DRS) was on Lewis’ mind. That was so intense, the sequence of events. I need to look at it.

‘I think it could have been confusion. I think we need to look at the tele imagery and come to a judgement. If it was confusion then that’s going to play a big role.

Toto Wolff furiously threw his headset after watching Hamilton collide with Verstappen

Toto Wolff furiously threw his headset after watching Hamilton collide with Verstappen

‘When a virtual safety car is called, when a red flag, credit to race control, it is very difficult to manage. We are biased from our side and there was frustration we spent a few laps behind a safety car. I have to reserve judgement before seeing the race again tomorrow.

‘It’s really the driving that needs to be assessed and looked at. It’s hard, very hard and we want to have a clean championship. If it’s Max at the end, then I will be at peace but I want it to be a fair race.

‘(Verstappen) has more wins (at Abu Dhabi). That is still an advantage. It is important to have a great, great race.

‘Everybody had a fair share of bad luck. Max lost a lot of points at Silverstone, lost a lot at Hungary but at the end it is going down to the wire. That is how the sport should be.’

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