Max Verstappen is the 2021 world champion after a chaotic and controversial single-lap dash with Lewis Hamilton to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen has beaten Lewis Hamilton to the 2021 world championship in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but Mercedes is protesting the outcome after a last-lap safety car restart turned the race on its head.

Max Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and sensationally claim the 2021 Formula 1 world championship.

The Dutchman had been on course for a sound defeat to Hamilton, who jumped Verstappen off the line and controlled the race, until five laps from the finish, when a safety car was deployed to clean up Nicholas Latifi’s wrecked Williams, which had come to a crashed end in the barriers at Turn 14.

Hamilton didn’t have the margin on Verstappen to make a safety stop, gifting the Dutchman a free switch to a set of softs to combat the Briton’s badly worn hard rubber.

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Max Verstappen raises a first in celebration

Max Verstappen has snatched the all-important pole position from championship rival Lewis Hamilton in qualifying for the title-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen stunned championship rival Lewis Hamilton by taking a comfortable pole position for the season-deciding Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Hamilton started qualifying as the favorite after a strong series of practice sessions, whereas a lackluster Saturday practice left the Dutchman as the underdog, the Red Bull Racing car apparently off the pace.

Matters seemed to get only worse for Verstappen in Q2, when a lock-up on what should have been his race-starting set of medium tires forced him to switch to softs and what is thought to be an inferior strategy for the grand prix.

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Max Verstappen claimed top spot in first practice at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton had his best time deleted for exceeding track limits.

The Dutchman used two sets of soft-compound tires to set a time of 1m 25.009s, pipping Valtteri Bottas by 0.196s despite complaining of a right-leaning steering wheel during the first half of the session.

Lewis Hamilton had taken second spot with a fresh set of softs of his own to trail Verstappen by just 0.033s, but the time was erased for running wide exiting the last corner, dropping him to third and 0.346s short of his title rival. Sergio Perez completed the top four just 0.008s further adrift.

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Max Verstappen led the way in Formula 1’s arrival at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, while Lewis Hamilton endured trouble with a damaged car and a lack of power.

The title leader looked comfortable around the sandy track on his way to the fastest time, a 1m23.723s, to beat AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly by 0.437s, the Frenchman rising through the order with a late lap on softs.

Mercedes followed in third and fourth, with Valtteri Bottas 0.471s adrift and Lewis Hamilton a further 0.351s off the pace.

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A career-best drive from Lewis Hamilton not only won him the Sao Paulo Grand Prix against the odds, but it threatened to change the complexion of the final stint of the championship.

Max Verstappen is closing in on his first Formula 1 world championship, and with a dominant performance in the Mexico City Grand Prix the Dutchman and Red Bull Racing stamped their authority on the 2021 season.

Max Verstappen has dealt a blow to Lewis Hamilton’s title chances with a comfortable 16-second victory in the Mexico City Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen turned third on the grid into an easy victory at the Mexico City Grand Prix to extend his championship lead over Lewis Hamilton.

The Dutchman used the powerful slipstream on the 880-yard run from the start to the first braking zone to sweep effortlessly around the outside of polesitter Valtteri Bottas and into a lead he would relinquish only during the pit stop window.

It was a sweet start for Red Bull Racing but a disaster for Mercedes. Bottas and Hamilton had shared the front row, but Bottas’s limp defense at the first turn had him passed by his teammate and left him exposed to contact on the Turn 1 apex with Daniel Ricciardo, who had attempted to reserve the space for his McLaren.

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Sergio Perez consolidated Red Bull Racing’s stranglehold on the Mexico City Grand Prix weekend with the fastest time of Saturday practice, while Mercedes struggled to hit the sweet spot ahead of qualifying.

The Mexican ratcheted up expectations among his fanatical home crowd with a lap of 1m17.024s late in the session on a used set of medium tires, taking a 0.193s advantage over the sister car.

Verstappen set only one flying lap in the final four minutes of the hour, — having been waylaid in his garage for apparent damage at the rear of the car — and it was messy, the Dutchman complaining of an unexpected lack of grip.

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Max Verstappen has confidently topped Friday afternoon practice for Red Bull Racing at the Mexico City Grand Prix while title rival Lewis Hamilton struggled with set-up.

Verstappen’s best time of 1m 17.301s was almost half a second quicker than anyone else. Valtteri Bottas, fastest in the morning session, was next in the order, but the Finn was 0.424s off the pace.

Lewis Hamilton trailed in third and 0.085s further back after a messy session for the reigning champion and 2019 Mexico winner. He had an early lap time deleted for setting a time during double waved yellow flags before destroying a set of hard tires with a lock-up into Turn 1.

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The margin is only 12 points, but with three Red Bull Racing-friendly circuits scheduled for the next three weeks, Max Verstappen is within touching distance of a historic championship victory over Lewis Hamilton.

Max Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton at his own game to claim victory in a nailbiting United States Grand Prix, reasserting himself as the championship favourite in this dramatic season.

Max Verstappen scored an impressive victory over Lewis Hamilton in a thrilling United States Grand Prix, and with five rounds to go and a handy points lead, it could have been a championship defining race too.

The United States Grand Prix was almost a microcosm of the season to date. Form swung wildly between Mercedes and Red Bull Racing from first practice to the chequered flag, and in the end there was practically nothing between Verstappen and Hamilton on track. Either could have walked away a worthy winner.

But tiny percentage called got the job done for the challengers to put Verstappen in a strong position atop the title table, and Red Bull Racing closed its deficit to Mercedes in the constructors stakes to re-enliven its hops of a title double.

BACKGROUND

Around a month ago the Circuit of the Americas would have been considered a neutral venue for the two leading teams, favouring neither over the other. Two weeks ago it had moved into the Mercedes column thanks to the German marque’s performance at Istanbul Park, a track that makes similar demands of the car.

After first practice those more recent predictions appeared sure to come true. Mercedes led Red Bull Racing by almost a second, its car looking substantially more at ease through the high-speed corners in particular.

But the unexpected heat of the weekend, above 30°C, and the bumpiness of the track meant major changes were required for both cars overnight.

Mercedes had to raise its ride height so as to not risk floor damage, particularly on full tanks, while Red Bull Racing had Sebastien Buemi spend the night in the simulator at Milton Keynes to identify superior set-ups.

When the cards were put on the table on Saturday it was RBR and Verstappen who emerged with the better package.

But there was uncertainty around how these changes would affect race pace, particularly on the hard tyre. Knowing early that the hard compound would be key to a likely two-stop race, few drivers sampled the white-walled tyre, saving them instead for Sunday at the expense of understanding its longevity.

THE RACE-WINNING MOVE

For a moment it seemed Verstappen’s race would be undone in a moment, with Hamilton acing his start to take the lead at the first turn, but it quickly became clear that the W12 was no match for the RB16B on the medium tyre. Verstappen could easily follow Hamilton, even noting how much the Briton was sliding around on his overheating rubber.

But rather than try to launch a move or hang back and let Hamilton chew his tyres, Verstappen was handed the aggressive option of an early pit stop, coming in for the hard tyre on lap 10.

Mercedes was forced to make a decision: cover the early stop or stick it out on the ailing medium tyres. Without the benefit of having run the hards in practice, the team assumed they’d be similarly as delicate as the medium and that therefore splitting 46 laps between a pair of them would be too much to ask of the rubber. … Continue reading

Max Verstappen has treated a sell-out Austin crowd to a nailbiting last-lap victory over Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen withstood a late Lewis Hamilton lunge for victory to record a nail-biting win at the United States Grand Prix.

The two title contenders were running different tire strategies that brought them together on track for the final two laps of the race, with Verstappen defending on eight-lap-older tires.

Hamilton clung to the back of the Red Bull Racing car but struggled to break through the DRS threshold ahead of the straights, Verstappen nailing his launches to keep himself just far enough ahead to maintain a gap, taking the flag by 1.3s.

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