MAX VERSTAPPEN and Lewis Hamilton are doing battle in the Saudi Arabian GP – and the title is on the line.
The Brit star is looking to defend his crown, but started the race trailing by eight points from the Dutchman.
To win the Championship today, Verstappen needs to score 18 points more than Hamilton in Jeddah.
It’s been all happening so far, with TWO red flags by lap 16 with racing now back underway.
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Hamilton getting quicker…
He’s now just 0.7 seconds behind as yet another virtual safety car comes into play to get rid of an errant piece of debris.
Both Verstappen and Hamilton have just recorded their fastest lap.
This could be a nail-biting finish.
The gap between the leaders is 1.8 seconds with Hamilton having to hesitate before overtaking Raikkonen.
A slow Kimi Raikkonen is holding up Verstappen which is allowing Hamilton to get closer to his rival.
An unhappy Verstappen said: “Why is Kimi not speeding up, what the f***.”
Yet another virtual safety car as debris is cleared from the track.
This Grand Prix has had it all.
Fernando Alonso has called for a safety car.
The Spaniard said: “The conditions are the worst they have been all weekend.”
Hamilton’s aim is to keep the gap tight and hope to overtake Verstappen as his tyres wear towards the end of the race.
But Sky Sports’ Ted Kravitz said: There is no reason why Verstappen cannot go to the end of the race on these medium tyres.”
Vettel was involved in another collision with Kimi Raikonnen.
The Aston Martin man is not happy.
Tsunoda receives a five second penalty for his collision with Sebastien Vettel.
The German’s car has taken a knock and he has slipped down the standings.
Hamilton getting closer to Verstappen.
He has mostly been around 1.3 seconds behind the Red Bull man but just closed the gap to 0.7 seconds.
AS THINGS STAND
Hamilton trailing Verstappen means he will be 14 points behind his rival if the race was to finish now.
Meanwhile, Tsunoda has managed to salvage his race as he makes it back to the pits.
DRS enabled for Hamilton…
Yuki Tsunoda has crashed into the barriers.
He has lost his front wing but is attempting to get back into the pits.
Virtual safety car released.
Hamilton getting faster and faster and now just 0.6 seconds behind his rival.
Hamilton records the fastest lap of the race as he and Verstappen tear away from the rest of the pack.
Blistering pace from Mercedes.
Verstappen complaining about a lack of power with Hamilton two tenths faster through the first section of Lap 20.
How things stand:
Hamilton overtakes Ocon on the straight so it is the top two battling for the win once again.
All to play for with Hamilton 1.5 seconds behind his rival.
Hamilton is down to third with Ocon second after having to yield due to running off the race track.
Advantage Max once again!
All three touch but Verstappen leads!
FORMATION LAP COMPLETE
Verstappen has switched to medium compound tyres – Hamilton did question why Mercedes decided to stick with hard.
It’s going to be another standing start…
Let’s hope this one goes off without a hitch! Hamilton starts in second behind Ocon but AHEAD of Verstappen.
It has been a crazy start with just 16 laps completed after an hour and eight minutes.
Here is what Jensen Button had to say on Twitter.
RACE SET TO RESUME
There will be another standing start but Red Bull are asking race control to have a look at Bottas’ role in the chaos moments ago.
Race Control will also look at Hamilton staying more than 10 car lengths behind Verstappen during the previous formation lap.
Red Bull have been given an offer which would see Verstappen restart in third, Hamilton second and Ocon in pole.
The race stewards will only get involved if Red Bull reject the proposal.
Hamilton said: “I had to avoid a collision there.
“He (Verstappen) cut across the whole kerb. He just overtook me outside the white line.”
Mazepin smashed into the back of Russell with Hamilton also narrowly avoiding a collision in front.
The narrow, fast track means collisions are always likely…
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