F1 news LIVE: Max Verstappen did brake on Lewis Hamilton as Red Bull apologise
Verstappen and Hamilton go into F1 season finale level on points
The finale to this F1 season is almost here ahead of Abu Dhabi this week and the sport has reached a feverish level after the drama in Saudi Arabia as Lewis Hamilton defeated Max Verstappen to draw level in the battle to become the 2021 F1 world champion.
Hamilton and Verstappen are level on points going into the final race after Hamilton’s chaotic win in Jeddah, which came after the two clashed multiple times including physical contact when Verstappen suddenly slowed under orders to let Hamilton past him, having illegally held on to the race lead earlier in the night. Hamilton was not prepared and ran into the back of his rival, damaging his front wing. Six laps later, Verstappen eventually handed the lead to Hamilton, who went on to win.
The result means Hamilton, chasing his eighth world title, is level on points with Verstappen, hunting his maiden championship of what is sure to be a stellar career in Formula 1. The pair both have 369.5 points and head to this weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi with everything to play for. Follow all the latest news and updates below.
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix odds
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 16:35
Verstappen to ‘give it all’ to win ‘epic battle’ for F1 title
Max Verstappen insists he will “give it all” to win the Formula One title this weekend.
The 24-year-old is vying for his maiden world championship and goes into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix level on points with the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
The pair have put on quite a show this year and have both led the drivers’ standings at different points of a season that will live long in the memory.
Verstappen had been the favourite for the title until Hamilton secured a hat-trick of wins in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
But he is still determined to take the crown as he aims for back-to-back wins at the Yas Marina Circuit.
“Last year is not always a good reference in terms of result as there were multiple factors that contributed to it,” he said. “We’ve been lacking a bit of pace for the past few races, but hopefully that won’t be the case this weekend.
“The Yas Marina Circuit has had a few changes and the track is much faster now. It’s going to be interesting to see how it will affect the set-up of the car.
“It has been an epic battle so far. We’ve had a lot of wins and good moments this year and we’ve been a lot more competitive in general, compared to the years before.
“We are level on points and I know that we as a team are going to give it all to win this Championship. This is going to be an exciting race and we want to finish the season in the best way possible.”
Ben Burrows8 December 2021 16:30
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix key dates and times
Practice 1: Friday 10 December: 1330-1430 (0930-1030 GMT)
Practice 2: Friday 10 December: 1700-1800 (1300-1400 GMT)
Practice 3: Saturday 11 December: 1400-1500 (1000-1100 GMT)
Qualifying: Saturday 11 December: 1700 (1300 GMT)
Race: Sunday 12 December: 1700 (1300 GMT)
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 16:20
Max Verstappen on his racing conduct
“We’ve had so many f****** questions about this, it’s just ridiculous, honestly,” Max Verstappen said back in July ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix when quizzed on his conduct on the track.
“Honestly, the whole Thursday [media day] we’ve been answering this stupid s*** all the time. So can we just stop about it please?”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 16:05
Nikita Mazepin would have feared Saudi Arabian Grand Prix crash outcome 15 years ago
“I’m fine, it was quite an impact unfortunately,” said Nikita Mazepin when asked about his crash at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. “I took quite a big hit, especially on the left side of my upper body, and for sure will wake up sore tomorrow.
“But I’d say I’m very fortunate to be racing in this era because the work Jean Todt has done together with the FIA made us able to walk out of this. And I’m not sure if it was the same, let’s say, 15 years ago.
“From what I saw, Charles didn’t have anywhere to go, spun Sergio around. The place is so tight that when Sergio was sideways it took about 85% of the circuit. So George, seeing what’s happening, took a precaution and then lifted or braked.
“And I was fighting with [Lance] Stroll out of Turn 2 and we were both going to go flat through that place. But unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time to stop because the speeds were over 200, I also tried to brake but it just was impossible to avoid George’s back.
“The track is so narrow that it’s like a traffic jam and going full speed inside it.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 15:50
F1 title permutations: What do Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen need to do in Abu Dhabi?
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 15:40
George Russell reveals Toto Wolff’s cheeky visor message in Saudi Arabia
“Toto wrote me a nice little message – we’ll keep that between us – on my visor before FP2,” Russell told the F1 Nation podcast while chatting to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
The Austrian replied: “Actually, a compliment.”
Russell then added: “Usually the helmet guy writes on the visor how many tear-offs you’ve got… and then Toto took over this week on helmet duty and wrote me a lovely little message on there.
“It began with F, it had a K in it and ended with R, so you can fill in between…”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 15:05
Zhou Guanyu named as China’s first F1 driver
Racing young-gun Zhou Guanyu has made motor racing history after being named China’s first Formula One driver.
Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN announced on 16 November that the 22-year-old will join their team for the 2022 season, with the opening race scheduled for the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain on 20 March.
Mr Guanyu’s teammate at Alfa Romeo will be Finnish racing veteran Valtteri Bottas, 32, who currently drives for Mercedes-AMG Petronas alongside seven-time world F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.
“Becoming an F1 driver has always been my dream, and I’m really excited to finally fulfil my dream. I want to thank all my fans who have been following my races and supporting me,” Mr Guanyu said.
“I’m looking forward to the opening race of the next F1 season. Until then, I will continue to comprehensively improve. And I will learn from my teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is a very experienced driver. I hope you can always support me and follow my first F1 season.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 14:50
Red Bull ‘need a miracle’ to overhaul Mercedes at Abu Dhabi, Christian Horner admits
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says they “need a miracle” to beat Mercedes to the constructors’ title and that their focus is entirely on the drivers’ championship.
Lewis Hamilton’s win in Saudi Arabia helped pull Mercedes 28 points clear of Red Bull in the team standings, and with only one race to go it leaves the German team in an almost unassailable position and close to winning their eighth successive constructors’ title.
However the drivers’ championship remains in the balance, with Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen level on points heading into the final race in Abu Dhabi this weekend – Verstappen is technically first, having won more races.
“Constructors, we’re on the back foot, we need a miracle to win that,” admitted Horner. “We’ve got one more shot to have a go at winning this [driver’s] title with Max. Somebody, either Lewis or Max, will come out on top after next weekend. The driver’s is where the prestige is. It’s not where the money is but it’s where the prestige is. That’s the one people remember.”
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 14:35
Mercedes F1 end controversial sponsorship with Grenfell insulation firm after backlash
Mercedes have ended their partnership with Kingspan after outrage over the company’s links to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Survivors’ group Grenfell United highlighted the insulation firm’s links to the 2017 disaster which took 72 lives.
While Kingspan rejected having any prior knowledge of their product being used for the tower’s cladding system.
The deal, which was announced last week, which saw the company’s logo on Mercedes’ cars at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Cabinet minister Michael Gove publicly called on Mercedes to end the agreement.
Jack Rathborn8 December 2021 14:18