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Max Verstappen storms off podium after ill-tempered Lewis Hamilton battle at Saudi Arabian GP


Verstappen and Hamilton were involved in several key incidents in Jeddah, and was clearly left fuming after finishing second behind his title rival

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Max Verstappen was in no mood to celebrate his second-placed finish at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, angrily storming off the podium after a controversial race which saw him collide with title rival Lewis Hamilton.

It was the Mercedes star who won the inaugural race in Jeddah, but not without being involved in several more flashpoints with the man who is trying his best to prevent him from defending his title.

Tempers were rising early in in the Grand Prix, with Mercedes unhappy with an early red flag which benefitted Verstappen, as he was able to change his tyres without losing any time while the Silver Arrows had already pitted both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

The resulting restart saw Verstappen overtake illegally and was forced to cede position back after another red flag, before the Dutchman overtook again – this time within the rules – as the race got under way for the third time.







Max Verstappen collected his trophy, but didn’t stick around on the podium much longer after that
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Image:

Pool via REUTERS)

But the biggest moment came with 12 laps to go, as Verstappen was again told to let his rival past – but instead of a routine change-over, what we got was another collision between the racers.

Verstappen slowed down, but Hamilton also eased off and, when he did try to dart down the left, his front wing made contact with the back of the Red Bull with both drivers sounding perplexed about what had happened over team radio.

Hamilton survived that wing damage to win the race as Verstappen was let down by his ailing tyres in the final few laps, though he did manage second ahead of Bottas who pipped Esteban Ocon to third.

The combination of having to let Hamilton through, the collision, a five-second penalty he was slapped with for overtaking off the track and the result had Verstappen fuming, and he made his feelings clear on the podium.







Lewis Hamilton had driven into the back of Max Verstappen as the Red Bull moved aside to let the Mercedes through
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Image:

Getty Images)

He stuck around long enough to receive his trophy and bottle, but as soon as the national anthems had finished he made a beeline for the stairs, rather than stick around to spray champagne with the Mercedes racers.

Verstappen has been called to the stewards to explain what had happened in that moment as he and Hamilton made contact, with the Dutchman accused of brake-testing his rival.

However, Sky Sports reported that Red Bull adviser Helmut Marko had said the team had telemetry which proved that was not the case.

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