Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic and controversial Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday and added to fuel the fire in his rivalry with fellow Formula 1 star Max Verstappen
The Mercedes star won the chaotic race to set up a winner-takes-all title bout in Abu Dhabi next weekend.
Hamilton and Verstappen are tied on points heading into the season finale, but the rivals came close on the track on Sunday as they controversially collided mid-race.
Sure to go down as one of the most dramatic Grand Prix races in recent memory, it was stopped twice and featured three starts, with the two title contenders, who snubbed one another on the podium, each boasting the advantage at numerous stages.
Hamilton came out as the victor despite Verstappen crashing into the back of him when the Red Bull driver was letting the Brit pass.
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Pool via REUTERS)
The Dutchman twice had to cede a position to Hamilton, who has won the last four championships, having illegally gained on him.
Post-race, the 36-year-old admitted how tough it was to remain focused amid the wild events in Jeddah and accused his Dutch rival of crossing the line.
“I really had to try to keep my cool out there, which was really difficult to do,” Hamilton revealed.
“I’ve raced a lot of drivers through my life – in 28 years I’ve come across a lot of different characters.
“There are a few at the top who are over the limit – they don’t think the rules apply. Today I just tried to do my talking on the track, keep my car between the white lines and do it the right way.
“There were so many crazy curveball sent, and then he brake-tested, I think to try to get the DRS into the last corner to overtake me again back into turn one. I thought I had lost my wing – I took a lot of risks to get [the fastest lap].
“[Verstappen] is over the limit for sure. I’ve avoided collision on so many occasions with the guy. I don’t always mind being the one that does that, because you live to fight another day.”
Hamilton added on his collision with Sunday’s runner-up: “I didn’t get the information so I didn’t really understand what was going on – it was very confusing.
“He started backing up and then moving a little bit so I wondered: ‘Is he trying to play some crazy tactic?’ I don’t know.
“But then the message started coming through as he hit the brakes so hard and I nearly hit the back of him and took us both out.
“For him it doesn’t matter if we both don’t finish – for me, we both need to finish.”
Verstappen, who finished second, gave his take by saying: “It was quite eventful!
“A lot of things happened, which I don’t fully agree with, but it is what it is.
“I tried to give it my all, I don’t think the tyres were lasting. I was lacking a bit of rubber at the end, nevertheless, still second.
“I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn’t want to overtake and we touched. I don’t really understand what happened there.
“It will be decided [at Abu Dhabi] hopefully we have a good weekend.”