Hamilton grabs Jeddah pole position as Verstappen crashes on final lap

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen crashed at the final corner of his final lap.

The championship leader was up by two tenths of a second against his rival in the second sector, but a mistake at turn 27 saw him clip the wall, forcing him to stop on circuit.

Hamilton will line up on the front row on the grid alongside Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas. Despite the accident, Verstappen takes a provisional third place on the grid, but it remains to be seen whether he will require a replacement gearbox which would lead to a penalty.


Traffic was the major concern for all 10 teams as the busiest of the three qualifying sessions began under artificial lights.

With drivers having been told by race director Michael Masi they could only slow down after turn 25 in the final sector to give themselves a gap to cars ahead, George Russell became the first driver to blast past a queue of cars on the run to the final corner.

Red Bull were the early pace-setters, with Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez sitting on the top of the times. That was until Lewis Hamilton went quickest from his team mate, Valtteri Bottas.

With heavy track evolution, times tumbled over the course of the session as teams found more confidence with the soft tyres. Carlos Sainz Jnr briefly jumped to the front in the Ferrari, before Sergio Perez went quickest overall.

In the dying moments of the session, Max Verstappen’s final flying lap was ruined when he came across a melee of slow cars around the last corner.

“Max, there’s too many cars, just back out, there’s too much risk,” Verstappen was told by race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase. “Fucking hell. Can I box? Holy shit,” came the reply from Verstappen.

After having had a late engine change in his Mercedes due to a fuel leak prior to qualifying, Valtteri Bottas reported a misfire in his power unit before pitting on his final run. Bottas came to a halt in the entry of pit lane, his Mercedes mechanics having to push the car clear.

Despite the concerns over traffic, the session completed without any red flag interventions or even yellow flags. When the chequered flag flew, the two Haas drivers of Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher were eliminated first, with the two Aston Martins of Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel knocked out in 18th and 17th, respectively. Nicholas Latifi was the final driver to miss the cut in 16th.

An incident involving Pierre Gasly and Carlos Sainz Jnr was investigated by the stewards after the AlphaTauri appeared to impede the Ferrari through turn three.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’29.177
17Sebastian VettelAston Martin-Mercedes1’29.198
18Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’29.368
19Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’29.464
20Nikita MazepinHaas-Ferrari1’30.473

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With the harder compound tyres expected to work better for the race than the softer tyres, reaching Q3 on medium tyres was a key aim for the front runners heading into the second session.

Verstappen’s first effort on the medium tyre was also the first to break through the 1’28 barrier all weekend, with Hamilton only able to manage a lap seven tenths of a second slower than his championship rival.

Sergio Perez moved to second with a 1’28.175, before Hamilton’s second effort on the medium tyres saw him take the position and move within just over a tenth of Verstappen. Perez improved on his next run, taking the overall fastest time, seven-thousandths quicker than his team mate.

Carlos Sainz Jnr had a high-speed spin through the turn 9-10-11 complex, but somehow managed to avoid contact with the barriers. The Ferrari driver had to pit for new tyres and minor repairs, leaving him with only one lap to safely secure passage to Q3. A mistake at the same corner put paid to any chances of further progression for Sainz.

Hamilton improved his time on his eight-lap old medium tyres to go fastest, while Verstappen opted not to set a lap on new soft tyres in the final minutes.

With Sainz unable to set a representative time, an opportunity opened for a driver to snatch a place in Q3. That opportunity was taken up by Antonio Giovinazzi, who secured a Q3 appearance with tenth place at the chequered flag despite clipping a wall.

That left Daniel Ricciardo as the first driver eliminated from the second session, with Kimi Raikkonen out in the second Alfa Romeo in 12th. Fernando Alonso was knocked out in 13th, ahead of George Russell in the Williams who will line up 14th on the grid.

Bottas and Raikkonen had a minor collision exiting the long turn 13 corner, with the Mercedes’ right-front clipping the left-rear of the Alfa Romeo. Lando Norris also complained that Perez had held him up in the final corner during one of his early runs.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.668
12Kimi RaikkonenAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’28.885
13Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’28.920
14George RussellWilliams-Mercedes1’29.054
15Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’53.652

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Once again, the fight for pole position appeared to be a straight shootout between the two championship protagonists.

Mercedes were the first to take to the track, looking to take advantage of the clear circuit. But Hamilton blew his first attempt when he also lost control of his car sweeping through turn nine, having to abandon his lap.

Hamilton built up for a second lap and was able to go provisionally fastest on a 1’28.035 – just over a tenth faster than team mate Bottas. But that was immediately eclipsed by Verstappen, who lowered a 1’27.653 to take the top spot with a superbly clean and composed effort.

Bottas’s second attempt of the session moved him ahead of his team mate into second place, while Sergio Perez sat in fourth place before he was demoted by Gasly’s AlphaTauri.

Hamilton opted to make an early final run and despite having to scythe his way past slower cars he was able to take provisional pole by a tenth ahead of a second over Verstappen.

In response, Verstappen strung together a dramatic lap in the closing moments, going over two tenths quicker than anyone through the first two sectors. But entering the final corner of turn 27, Verstappen locked up his left-front wheel and ran wide, clipping the barrier on exit with his right-rear tyre and pitching him back into the wall.

As Verstappen’s Red Bull lay stricken on the exit of the corner, the yellow flags prevented anyone else from improving their times. That saw Hamilton secure pole position, with Bottas making it an all-Mercedes front row.

Verstappen takes a provisional third on the grid, but the threat of a grid penalty for a replacement gearbox may loom over him. Charles Leclerc took fourth on the grid for Ferrari, ahead of Perez in fifth and Gasly in sixth.

Lando Norris secured seventh for McLaren, with Yuki Tusnoda, Esteban Ocon and Giovinazzi rounding out the top ten.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’27.511
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’27.622
3Max VerstappenRed Bull-Honda1’27.653
4Charles LeclercFerrari1’28.054
5Sergio PerezRed Bull-Honda1’28.123
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Honda1’28.125
7Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’28.180
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri-Honda1’28.442
9Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’28.647
10Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’28.754

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2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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126 comments on “Hamilton grabs Jeddah pole position as Verstappen crashes on final lap”

  1. What a great qualifying! The track is fast…great for quali, let’s see if it produces a good race

    1. All the more reason Sprint Qualifying should be scrapped.

  2. Noticed that the Red Bull had a more aggressive setup today compared to Mercedes. We shall see tomorrow. The onboards of this qualifying session was just so satisfying to watch. There is nothing so satisfying to hear the engines at high speeds.

    1. On another note, Red Bull would be foolish to keep the gearbox on Verstappen’s car if they find the slightest amount of damage, just like what Ferrari did to Leclerc at Monaco.

      1. @krichelle

        A three-place grid penalty would drop him behind Perez , Gasley and LeClerc. Only the Ferrari will slow him down, so they can probably take the gearbox without too much worry.

        1. A gearbox change is 5 places…?

          1. Davethechicken
            4th December 2021, 18:52

            It would only be a 2 place penalty as Sergio, Pierre and Yuki will jump out of his way instantly.

          2. @theswift you are correct that a 5 place penalty is the normal penalty that would be imposed for a gearbox change. However, as we have seen in other races, Perez, Gasly and Tsunoda will be ordered to let Verstappen through if he is directly behind them, which is why some are saying it’s effectively only a two place penalty.

            I strongly suspect, therefore, that Red Bull will play it safe and change the gearbox – the downsides of changing the gearbox are likely to be much lower than the downside of a DNF.

      2. @krichelle Indeed. P8 would be better than DNS, so they definitely should avoid taking any risks if they find even slight damage. The Monaco case serves as a warning precedent.

      3. Either way, Max will be on the backfoot?

  3. If anyone is still unsure of the difference between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, they should watch Q3 of this qualifying session.

    Max cracked under pressure whilst 2/10ths up on his rival, and with a guaranteed pole position. The look on his engineers and Christian Horner’s face says it all.

    He has the makings of a great driver, but he isn’t quite there yet.

    1. José Lopes da Silva
      4th December 2021, 18:39

      As usual, Verstappen has to take more risks.

      1. He didn’t today, that’s the problem – he had the better car. Watch the replay’s, the RB is planted compared to the MERC.

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          4th December 2021, 18:52

          Perez being sabotaged, as usual.

        2. Planted until the end, why would F1 allow a walled design track in 2021, $$$$. I hope it’s a one off, watching how close they are running to the walls while alone at these speeds is such an unnecessary risk during the race. This being a great example. Pray tomorrow is safe.

        3. I think that will switch in the race. 3 drs zones suits the RB higher downforce set up but with only 2 it will lean a bit more to the merc set up.
          We wait snd see what the race brings but I can see a fast car parade with very little overtaking.

        4. The car wasn’t planted in the third corner though

        5. Max also has the points lead. He does not need to win both races. Pushing wide into the wall is not the move of a champion.

          Today we saw the difference between a good driver and a great champion.

      2. Given how fast Perez was, Max had the car this weekend. You’re right at some races like Brazil and Qatar, but here, the RB is rapid. Max cracked, and if he finishes third, he has cost himself the title.

    2. He needs to a better mentor to tell him when to hold his horses in the right place. He is like raging bull without a thought for consequences. He has been riding the curb where charles took a flight, max also did a jump on it as well, not sure his car will sustain such abuse for long time…

      His time on the final run was mighty but he was testing the limits of physics not just his car… well when you try to test physics, you always learn a new thing.

      1. I think it was out of corner 2 where he very nearly hit the wall that I could sense he was maybe trying to prove something extra or make a big statement. He was absolutely pushing the limits throughout the entire thing and it didn’t exactly surprise me to see him lock-up and then hit the wall in the last corner there.

        There’s been more than a few younger drivers over the years that tend to need to learn the hard way what the outer limits are of the cars and, more importantly, when pushing totally unhinged isn’t the best option.

    3. @kbdavies
      Lewis has made his fair share of mistakes this season. I think this was the first occasion I’ve seen Max make a driving mistake of this sort in his career so far, but he couldn’t have chosen a worse moment to do so…
      Still, he has the kind of supreme self-confidence that I’ve rarely ever seen in all my years watching sports, so he’ll probably brush this off as ‘just a mistake’ and move on.

      1. @neutronstar He overdrove in some qualifying sessions early in his career, even crashing, right? but yes, this was the first time in recent years I can remember anything similar.

      2. lexusreliability?
        4th December 2021, 19:01


        I think this was the first occasion I’ve seen Max make a driving mistake of this sort in his career so far

        Then maybe you forgot the Chinese GP in 2018, Monaco in FP3 just to name a few. This is just off the top of my head btw, there are loads more if I could care to research. Point being Max is more error prone than you seem to realise.

      3. That wasn’t a mistake. The wall didn’t yield to Max’s greatness.

        Joke apart, it’s a shame he overcooked it. I understand RB set his car up for quali and that was paying off handsomely.

        1. @Learon
          actually a good point, redbull will protest tomorrow against the wall to be punished next time around if it doesnt bend to not hit max that hard again.

      4. He crashed in 2 FP sessions this season alone, or are they not driving mistakes?

      5. Lewis doesn’t make mistakes in the “knock-out rounds” when it matters!

      6. Max has made tons of mistakes. In fact, I’d argue that he’s made more than Lewis, but they haven’t been as bad as Hamilton’s worst mistake at Baku.
        – Ran off the track at Bahrain to pass Hamilton despite having the best car and fresher tires.
        – Went wide at Portugal to allow an easy Hamilton pass
        – Went off turn one in France to gift the lead
        – Outbraked himself in Brazil and maintained his position only as a steward gift, despite running Hamilton off the track by 20-30 meters.
        – Crashed into Hamilton at Monza

        He has made many mistakes, most of them against Hamilton.

      7. Haha his first driving mistake of his career?! Was today your first time watching F1?

        1. @Matt

          That’s not what he said…

    4. Not sure why he pushed so hard being 2/10ths up.
      You have to keep your tyres alive for the whole lap, maybe he took too much out of them early on.

    5. You might want to wait before you criticize VER and tout Hamilton’s solid performance. In fact Ham has made his share of makes mistakes this year – more than VER. And if pressured he may make another.
      This is the kind of track where many cars could win due to safety cars causing reshuffling – strategy may well play a part in this.
      This may well end up being the most exciting race of the year.
      The season isn’t over for Max just yet.

      1. Fernand fofie wafo
        4th December 2021, 19:34

        You are damn right about Hamilton’s mistakes this year.
        The one in Baku,where,verstapen having crashed he could have sealed the championship with a victory,but managed to press the wrong button?was it?
        I wonder if Hamilton was not ORDERED to crash that day?
        He is a knight is he not?
        so orders are orders.

      2. Name one time Hamilton put his car into the wall this year?

        BOTH Lewis and Max have made mistakes this year, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, EVERY single driver on the grid has made a mistake this year.

        The point is, making mistakes is part of being a Formula1 driver. HOWEVER, Max Verstappen makes far too many mistakes under pressure. He has missed pole a few times this year when he had the fastest car.

        Today, he missed a GUARANTEED pole by crashing into a wall. This is his 8th season in Formula 1 for goodness sakes.

        1. Jonathan Edwards
          4th December 2021, 19:56


          1. Actually he put it into the pit wall:)

        2. “Max verstappen makes far too many mistakes under pressure”? The only mistakes he has made apart from this crash in qualifying was the track limits shenanigans at Bahrain and Portimao, which cost him what 7 points? How about Lewis, who: crashed in Imola, had no pace in Monaco, locked up and went straight on in Baku, damaged his car over the sausage kerbs in Austria, fluffed the start in Monza sprint and hit the pit lane wall during qualifying in Sochi? If not for some good fortune such as the red flag, Verstappen’s DNF in Baku, Silverstone and getting crashed into at Hungary, he would not even be in this championship fight with the number of points he’s thrown away.

        3. Oops! Glass houses and all that…

  4. Dear god this season keeps delivering drama! Never a dull moment this year.

    If Ver’s crash ends up being the beginning of the end of his title challenge I’d be disappointed, but unfortunately he only has himself to blame.

    1. However this is his first mistake of the season, less than hamilton, does verstappen need to be perfect to beat a less than perfect hamilton because of bad luck? High expectations.

      1. You must have been watching a different season if you claim this os Verstappen’s first mistake this year!

      2. Several crashes in practice. Several Qualifying rounds he should have walked but made errors. What about Monza?
        They have noth made errors. Max has just about made less consequential errors than Lewis but errors he certainly has made!

  5. This was one of the most intense qualifying sessions I’ve seen in normal racing conditions. Max was showing exactly why he should be WDC this year… Up until the last corner.

    Hope he still has a great race tomorrow… There’s no doubt he’ll be racing at a 111%

    1. He doesn’t need to race, actually. All he needs is not to press the brake pedal in the first corner, crashing into Hamilton. With how Verstappen behaves, it’s very much possible.

      1. True that, true that! He needs to put HAM in the barriers a la Silverstone, the stewards are on his payroll and won’t do a thing… impossible to lose this champ.

    2. It seems a lot think it is over for Max – not me.
      There is still a race to be run and anyone is vulnerable to what happened to Max and Charles.
      A question. If RBR have to changes Max’ gearbox would it also behoove them to change the engine?

      1. @Dan Changing both gearbox & engine would mean P13 rather than P8, so I doubt.

      2. exactly .. even if he gets third place here then he will still win the championship if he beat Lewis in Abu Dhabi .. all to play for.

  6. This was the first real pressure Verstappen has faced in a title showdown. And he just overdrove it. Brilliant to watch, but it wasn’t one final corner, the whole lap was on (over) the edge and in the end his luck ran out. Trace it back: after his first run he was asking Red Bull for ‘a tow’, even 3 tenths up on the Mercedes. That excess pressure was already there when he went into the final lap. Superb theatre though.

    1. For Red Bull to really get better as a whole, they need to start treating both drivers’ (cars) equally and give them equal cars, if you want to do some strategy, do it later in the race, but RB consistently running through good drivers and waste them in no time.

      Good tactic/strategy from Mercedes I think hiding their hand until the last run (be it engine map/fuel loads)

      1. lexusreliability?
        4th December 2021, 19:09


        I have to agree- but the problem is one we’ve seen in F1 countless times. Ricciardo was too competitive and Horner especially didn’t manage that well so they had to make a choice- they chose Max by offering Ricciardo an insulting contract renewal worth a fraction of Verstappen’s when he had just defeated him two seasons running.

        Merc- Hamilton and Rosberg was heat after Bahrain 2014 but the difference is Merc were so far ahead they could afford their drivers taking each other out. Hence we now have Bottas who isn’t quite on the top level.

        Remember Vettel and Webber? Even Jenson and Rubens was entertaining. Or Alonso and Hamilton…. The list goes on and on. The thing is you need the exceptional talent for the driver’s championship and a number two who on his day will mop up the points when the lead driver hits problems. But that is not always easy to find hence Red Bull’s problems since Ricciardo left. Perez is frankly average over a single lap which compromises him during the race.

        1. @lexusreliability?

          Exactly, when merc were dominant, they allowed their drivers to race eachother which created even bigger dominance as they were learning the car/performance much better than allowing only one head race…. There is nothing wrong with a support role, but someone to be support only demoralizes the driver’s potentials… great example is bottas, i m not saying he is super duper driver, but i dont think he was given fair chances due to pressure mostly… but they didnt waste him half way through the season like RedBull, and i dont think Bottas can complain much since it would be different story for him if he stayed at Williams… At least he was given the chance of winning races! Even Ric when competed with max was winning races despite heated moments… It was good for the team to know/learn/understand the car better and improve with 2 inputs…

          Now redbul is making a car for max, and they are only feeding his ego despite his mistakes. They dont know how to nurture their lead driver who has a very big ego and wrong kind of aggression and even FIA for the sake of entertainment not punishing enough to feed his ego. Also I dont think every driver come to RB is .5 sec slower than max consistently… or redbul is choosing really bad drivers on purpose to make max look legendary. Merc drivers (bar this year) were more consistent in their race trim and qualis… it is out there… redbul second drivers cant be that bad to be consistently off pace on qualis and races…

    2. Superb theatre… That must be from a Lewis fan :)

      1. lexusreliability?
        4th December 2021, 19:10


        Christ you still having a moan? A shot or two might do you good mate

    3. @david-br I thought about it and I think Max was probably too greedy. Locking up his front left he needed to save that but instead he tried to keep momentum and hit the wall. If, big if, he just saved the lock-up I reckon he would’ve been on the front row.

      Still felt sorry for him…

      1. @icarby He was brilliant through some of the corners, too much, like you said, in some of the others though. I think P1 or P2 was there for him if he’d kept it a bit more under control.

    4. @david-br
      What about Hamilton ? He also made a mistake in his first Q3 attempt and aborted his lap. If you see the onboard on his second attempt he adjusted his driving and didn’t attack that particular section of the track (sector 1) like he did in his first attempt. It’s clear that Mercedes do have more pace in hand than RBR (just look at Bottas) and Verstappen was squeezing every inch of that RBR and was flat out attacking every corner.

      Even if Hamilton has the experience weapon in his repertoire, that doesn’t obscure the fact that Verstappen was the better driver over the season and made less mistakes than Hamilton.

      1. @tifoso1989 Max was 3 tenths up after the first run in Q3. And yet somehow Mercedes were actually faster? Lewis asked for a change to correct understeer – the cause of the mistake you mention – which improved his (and presumably Bottas’s) final run times. But still Max had poll within grasp surely. If he’d just put together the best lap possible, he would have done it.

        As for the driver of the season, there’s still two races to go. I’m not sure it’s a question of experience. Hamilton has seldom overdriven in his career, it doesn’t match his driving style. It’s more something you see in brilliant ‘reflexive’ drivers like Sainz, more likely to go over the edge.

        1. @david-br
          Hamilton faced traffic and his lap was far from clean. Besides, Mercedes apparently fuelled Hamilton’s car for the whole Q3 session so it’s normal that he will be in contention for Pole only in his last attempt. Mercedes have had an issue working the tyres in their first attempt, once sorted they are back in their usual business.

          This was Verstappen’s pole to lose, I agree but he could have played it safe and maybe got pole or ended up second but to his credit he didn’t. Despite his first ever match-ball in a WDC and the immense pressure as you’ve mentioned, he went as usual in his uncompromising style and nearly did it.

      2. @tifoso1989 – Hamilton had a couple of aborted attempts through out qualifying and was wrestling the car a bit but… he still improved and got the job done. He has a knack for doing this when it matters.

      3. Yes, discretion being the better part of valour. Look at the grid to see my point

  7. Surprising to see Verstappen make an error like that, especially when he really didn’t need to. He obviously knew he was a long way up on either Mercedes going into that corner…

    Hopefully there’ll be no gearbox damage, would much prefer a proper race tomorrow.

    1. It could be that he just took too much out of the fronts in the high speed stuff and could not stop the car one last time. I mean he was just throwing the car into that high speed stuff and I thought every time that guy is going into the wall.

      1. @dmw That’s a very good point actually, quite likely. Especially since he understeered in entry/mid corner

    2. After sector 2, I thought VER had the pole. Did not expect him to make the mistake in the last corner of all. That’s a tough one to swallow — if he loses WDC!

  8. Well Lucky Hamilton came away with 2 investigations. And Verstappen was unlucky with his last corner. That summens up the total of this championship. Congrats to Hamilton and his team.

    1. Unforced errors are called “unlucky” now?

    2. At least he was investigated…. If you know…

    3. After Brazil, RB and Max have no grounds to criticize anyone about “luck.”

    1. That was actually a reply to @TottoW :-/

  9. What a shame, but Max was over the limit. He needn’t to drive over the limit to take pole, but at this level…you just do your best. And his lap was insane…
    Let’s hope the battle stays strong until the last corner of Abu Dhabi

  10. Breaking news: Race Control have dispatched a vehicle recovery truck to Red Bull Hospitality. It’s the only thing considered capable of pulling a raging Jos off Max.

    1. Having a Parent living the dream via you cant be easy?

      1. @Plossi Especially a parent with criminally violent tendencies..

    2. For real Jos look like he put his whole hand through that table. My kid plays kids soccer and I get stressed watching him on a breakaway I can’t imagine watching your son going for the F1 WDC. I would have to be on some hard meds lol.

      1. Yeah, I feel kinda sorry for Max its like he’s caught between a rock and a hard place, do you need the pressure of your Dad being there, but what if you win the WDC and your Dad isn’t there, the Parent who said he sacrificed he’s racing career to get you there….

        1. I love that Jos is in complete denial over just how average a driver he was.

      2. Soccer? Breakaway?
        Sorry old boy, we cant have these Americanisms in FOOTBALL 😀

  11. Better luck next year Max! 😂

    1. Thanks for jinxing HAM:)

  12. Verstappen went out there from t1 absolutely sending it and that lap was amazing to watch up to the last corner. That man has some ice water in his veins coming inches from the wall turn after turn way up on the curbs. That was the most intense lap I’ve ever seen. I was ready to stand up and applaud in my living room.

    1. Same here. You have to appreciate it as a fan of the sport. But also an honest own mistake from him at the end. Could prove very costly but its at this moment only Saturday yet.

    2. It’s really frustrating for RB and Max, but I’m personally delighted to see him push at the very edge. Brilliant stuff. This is why we watch F1, not for them to cruise around.

  13. Was expecting everything to be left on the track from both Ham and Ver. I felt so sorry for Max, I was happy Hamilton responded by going faster but I was already applauding Max until I saw him hit the wall.

    Really hope he doesn’t have a grid penalty.

    Judging from the FP2 race start there’s still plenty of drama to come.

    1. I still cant imagine 20 cars getting through turn 1 without an incident, those 10+ on the grid wanna fuel light and pit on lap 1 to go to the end.

  14. Max will be kicking himself for that costly error, also because it was completely unnecessary.
    I don’t understand why Max would take such a high risk into the last corner. He basically had pole in his pocket, as he was already 0.25 ahead of Hamilton after S2 and the RB wasn’t any slower through S3 as well.
    That could be a decisive moment in the championship and Max might have lost it today. Fingers crossed they can repair the damage under parc ferme conditions and he at least gets a chance from P3.

    Congrats to Hamilton and Bottas. They put in their best laps when they needed them the most.
    I’d rate Bottas’ performance at least as high as Hamilton’s, considering he had to switch to an older engine and there were some concerns about misfiring cylinders at the end of Q1. Hopefully he doesn’t retire with an engine failure tomorrow.

    Pérez, on the other hand, did a pretty poor job in Q3. I was surprised at how he was able to keep up with Max in Q2, but then he couldn’t set half a decent lap in Q3 and ended up behind Leclerc in P5. Doing just the one run in Q3 was definitely a mistake. It could’ve gone even worse for Pérez, if Gasly and Norris had found a couple of hundreds more.

    1. I think PER has under performed most of the year and it surely has cost VER some points.

    2. lexusreliability?
      4th December 2021, 20:27


      don’t understand why Max would take such a high risk into the last corner.

      This is Verstappen’s approach- he has always driven this way. That’s why his fans love him and why the opposite number don’t- lacks racing IQ. Max just had to keep it tidy for the final corner- but no- had to leave no quarter as he always does and this time he paid for it with no one else to blame.

    3. But did he know he had those 2 tenths advantage going into that final corner? @srga91

      1. He knew he was very nearly 0.4s up on his previous lap. He should have known that was more than enough for pole. The lap delta is displayed on his steering wheel.

      2. Obviously he didn’t know Hamilton’s time, but he could see how much he was up on his own previous time. He also had three purple and two personal best minisectors up to that point in S3, so he knew very well how much time he made up on that lap.
        I guess he knew he left a little bit of time on the table there on his previous lap and wanted to absolutely smash it. He did smash it, but not the way he intended.

  15. That was very bold and brave of Max. He gave his everything to get that crucial pole position. Very impressive. Good job by the Merc drivers too. Hoping for a clean start at the front tomorrow and an exciting race.

  16. Ham WDC stolen valor.

    1. What does that even mean?

      1. Don’t they make Gas Boilers?

      2. He wears fake military medals so people can tell him “thank you for your service”? Maybe!

        1. That makes less sense than the gas boilers

  17. Sprint Qualifying will never, EVER, replicate the kind of drama we saw today.
    This should be the nail in it’s coffin.

  18. That lap by Verstappen was the best lap I have ever seen, it was like watching Senna, hugging the walls, seemingly passing through them…

    And then my jaw got closed, as I saw needless cluttering of the wall.

    Now whatever advantage he had in the championship is erased. Lewis will get an easy win tomorrow and then last race will be for the win.

    1. @jureo – Kind of contradicted yourself but it was very nearly a mega lap.

      Tomorrow is another day plenty more to come.

    2. Best lap you have ever seen lol
      Crashing at a crucial point of the season.
      A great lap has to be one that is completed.

      1. @matthew
        Precisely. Very strange that anyone would consider that lap to be the best quali lap they’ve ever seen when the difference in it was 2/10th’s…we’ve seen Lewis smash the Red Bull’s (Verstappen and Ricciardo) by over a second and the rest of the field by multiple seconds in the wet at the 2017 Italian grand prix…we’ve seen Lewis smash the field in the wet, the dry, and everything in between….for years. Today’s Verstappen lap was going to be a great one, but the greatest? C’mon….be better. Fans trying to hand out participation awards to Max for almost getting the job done. Hilarious.

  19. To finish first. First you have to finish.. So the saying goes. Tracks like this will definitely separate the boys from the men. As sum1 said d other day. The. New generation of drivers have tracks with too many run offs etc. If you make a mistake the tracks are more forgiving. This is a track where finesse and speed goes hand in hand.

  20. Name one time Hamilton put his car into the wall this year?

    BOTH Lewis and Max have made mistakes this year, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, EVERY single driver on the grid has made a mistake this year.

    The point is, making mistakes is part of being a Formula1 driver. HOWEVER, Max Verstappen makes far too many mistakes under pressure. He has missed pole a few times this year when he had the fastest car.

    Today, he missed a GUARANTEED pole by crashing into a wall. This is his 8th season in Formula 1 for goodness sakes.

    1. Ooops! This comment is in the wrong place. Why isn’t there an option to delete comments?

      1. There is. Go into comments in your account. You will see delete next to this one

  21. Max binning the car like this shows how much pressure he is in but everyone is worshiping him painting him as a victim for the amazing lap, an amazing lap is finishing in one piece. If Lewis crashed people like ‘crofty’ would claim hes washed up rapper cracking under pressure to wunderkind max… gotta love the double standards shown in modern liberty era ‘drama alert’ F1.

    Also If max wants to be a future great he needs to stop the kamikaze esports mentality,a aggressive full attack ‘angry’ driving never pays off.
    As it now looks like the rear half shaft took a massive horizontal load from crashing into the wall the gearbox must have terminal damage and needs to be replaced.
    RB don’t want a monaco Leclerc situation where a quali knock caused a dnf, the 5 place penalty for a gearbox change would be mitigated somewhat by Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda team orders but starting further back in the pack has risk of being wiped out off the line as seen in F2.

    1. Don’t you see? Max is still the underdog somehow.

  22. Max has to drive on the very edge of what is possible with his car. This to compensate for the faster Mercedes with the new engine from Lewis. He is giving it all, and I applaud him for his courage and skill in the risks he has to take.

    1. That’s just not correct though. RB was faster over 1 lap in this qualy. He certainly did not need to over drive like that. He took everything out of his tyres and left nothing for that last corner where you can gain masses of time anyway.

  23. As a massive Lewis fan, I was elated to see Max in the wall at the last turn of Q3.
    As a MASSIVE F1 fan, my entire soul and heart broke to see Max in the wall at the last turn of Q3.
    That qualifying lap was pure magic, giving me Hamilton at Singapore 2018 vibes. I was astounded as Max pushed his car to the absolute limit to be 0.2+ seconds up from Lewis. It was an utter joy to see him romp around the track as charged as a bull.
    Max has so many championships under his belt – His time will come as soon as it can!

    1. I think the key point is at the present moment he’s never won any championship in his career, full stop. Until he does, its just hype. Win or lose though I doubt this will be his only chance.

  24. Sainz broke his rear wing and the tried a second attempt with the damaged wing which he deemed as undrivable.

  25. Nico Rosberg, a few races ago:
    “Max Verstappen is finding out just how good Lewis Hamilton really is.”
    Come at the King, best not miss…

    1. Except he isnt. He is almost twice as old and has had a car my grandma would become WDC in.

  26. Mark in Florida
    4th December 2021, 22:18

    To finish first you must first finish. I forget who that quote is attributed to but Max failed the cardinal rule of racing. He didn’t finish the lap. He clearly overdrove the car. He nearly crashed in the first corner. I felt bad for him but in a year where the championship is so tight you can’t give away points or positions. It almost seemed like a fit of rage at the end. His ability was greater than what the car could deliver so it ended in tears for him when the car let him down.

  27. Probably it was Tsunoda’s best qualifyings yet.
    Hopefully he does similarly well at the race. Interesting that this performance came from him at this apparently very demanding, and seemingly dangerous or fearsome track. 27 Turns, to dumbos like me that would take more than a day to memorize :)

    1. Interestingly I have heard of him that he is better at slow speed corners, but these corners are not slow at all. Maybe it was the time when he finally clicked? But then it was a bit late click, as the cars will change a lot for the next season, and then again they will fit his taste or not.

  28. Max Chrashtappen

  29. TheLongAndWindingRoad
    5th December 2021, 1:22

    Yeah. Verstappens lap was bonkers from the first batch of corners. Going as far as no one else dared. Then you’d think he might ease off a little, but not, another near crash in the middle sector. Finally a mistake. Overconfident he could compensate the lock-up with a karting snap, trying to throw the back of the car.
    Well. It may turn out to be good for him, like that Senna’s mistake in Monaco ’88 made him more careful and payed dividends.

  30. This track is crazy. It’s like F1’s version of an Indycar oval. They approved a high speed track with no run-off’s. Hope nobody gets hurt. As far as the championship goes, I hope Hamilton wins just to get an 8th. I hope Max wins just cause it adds drama as to whether Hamilton will get an 8th. I hope Hamilton wins cause he is arguably the cleanest multi-time world champion ever and deserves it. I hope Max wins cause he truly is world championship material, loves racing more than anything, and deserves it. What a season.

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