Live: F1 Saudi Arabian GP commentary and updates

Live commentary and updates for the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

By: Haydn Cobb, James Newbold, Tom Howard


  • Hamilton wins the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from Verstappen. Bottas snatches third from Ocon at the finish line.
  • Two red flags stop and start chaotic race.
  • First red flag for Schumacher crash and barrier damage.
  • Race resumed Verstappen grabs lead after running across the run off at Turn 1. Second red flag for big crash behind involving Perez, Russell and Mazepin. Perez was tagged by Leclerc. Mazepin ran into the back of Russell.
  • Hamilton and Verstappen clash at Turn 1. Verstappen holds the lead by using the run off. Verstappen then told to give position to Hamilton and they collide. Incident under investigation.
  • Verstappen handed a five-second penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
  • Hamilton takes lead with seven laps to go and wins from Verstappen. 
1. Hamilton, Mercedes
2. Verstappen, Red Bull
3. Bottas, Mercedes
4. Ocon, Alpine
5. Ricciardo, McLaren
6. Gasly, AlphaTauri
7. Leclerc, Ferrari
8. Sainz, Ferrari
9. Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo
10. Norris, McLaren
Status: Stopped
The race is finished but this one isn't over, oh no, not by a long stretch. Thanks for being with us for the last three hours of drama and keep an eye on the post-race fallout to follow. Until then, goodbye for now!

Have you caught your breath after all that? Here's the full race report to make sense of what we've just witnessed:

Verstappen didn't fancy hanging around for the podium celebrations as he walks off in the background while Hamilton and Bottas get busy with the fizzy.
Our stats gurus have been hard at work to deliver this: The only other time F1 title contenders have been equal on points going into the final race was in 1974: Emerson Fittipaldi for McLaren and Clay Regazzoni for Ferrari, with Fittipaldi taking the title.
Just like the start of the race there is an almighty lights show going on before the podium ceremony. Jeddah certainly puts on a show, in many, many ways going on that race.

Verstappen, on being told he was voted driver of the day, had some interesting comments on team radio: "Luckily the fans have a clear mind about racing because what happened today was unbelievable... this sport is more about penalties than racing and for me this is not Formula 1."

Hamilton on his collision with Verstappen: "I don't quite understand why he suddenly hit the brakes quite heavily, then I hit the back of him and he went off again. Then I got the message he was going to let me past, so it was quite confusing."
Hamilton, to cheers and boos, on his win: "That was incredibly tough and I tried to be as sensible and as tough as I could. With all my experience and I was trying to keep it on track."
Bottas on P3: "It was not easy today with a few red flags. Being on the hard tyres for the restart wasn't the right decision. It wasn't easy to overtake today but we got there in the end."
Verstappen, to a few boos from the crowd, on his P2: "Yes 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 on track."
Hamilton punches the air as he gets out of his car. Both he and Verstappen are keeping their distance in parc ferme but in truth they look absolutely shattered.
How about that then, Verstappen and Hamilton are level on points going into the final race of the season. Verstappen has the net lead by winning most races so far this season.
A mighty effort from Ocon but it isn't enough for a podium and he has to settle for fourth ahead of Ricciardo, Gasly, Leclerc, Sainz, Giovinazzi with Norris completing the points places.
Verstappen finishes second and Bottas gets Ocon at the finish line to steal third place! Wow, action all the way through!
Lewis Hamilton wins the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix! He also takes the point for fastest lap!
On the last lap, Leclerc has taken Sainz for seventh.
Bottas is struggling to find enough to close the gap on Ocon for an overtaking opportunity. Hamilton is starting the final lap of this wild race.
"Is he backing off to go for fastest lap?" Hamilton asks his Mercedes team. The response is he, Verstappen, is nursing the tyres to the finish with two laps to go.
Bottas is hunting down Ocon for third place, closing within a second of the Alpine, so it could be a double Mercedes podium in all this carnage.
Vettel has called it a day and retired. A day that started so promisingly all went awry with that lunge from Tsunoda.
Verstappen has reported his rear tyres are dropping - he's on the mediums remember - and his pace is dropping. The gap is 4.6s.
Leclerc is now just within a second of Sainz as the Ferraris continue to run in Noah's Ark formation. Could we see them swap places again as Sainz's tyres wear?
If this live text commentary is reading like we don't know what is going on, that's because we don't know what's going on. But we can say Hamilton leads by 3.9s from Verstappen with 5 laps to go.
On lap 43 Verstappen appears to let Hamilton through again at the final corner and now Hamilton leads.
A spot of housekeeping, no investigation necessary for the clash between Raikkonen and Vettel earlier on.
Hard to keep up with all this, honest. At Turn 27 Verstappen lets by Hamilton but bolts back ahead with the aid of DRS to keep the lead.
Verstappen has a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. So nothing to do with the clash? Who knows at this stage.
The FIA to team radio has shed some light on the chaos. It sounds like Verstappen was instructed to give the place to Hamilton but the Mercedes team, and therefore Hamilton, wasn't aware, so came up to the back of Verstappen and that triggered the contact.
"Race control has instructed him to give the place back," Pete Bonnington tells Hamilton over team radio. But so far the gap remains stable.
We've not seen it, but Giovinazzi has lost two places and is now behind both Ferraris, dropping back to ninth.
Verstappen currently leads by 2.0s from Hamilton, while further back Bottas gets by Ricciardo for fourth place.
This race and this title fight literally has had it all and is boiling over. Toto Wolff is furious in the Mercedes garage.
Amid all of that, Norris has passed Stroll for tenth.
Verstappen slowed in the middle of the track, likely to let Hamilton by, and that incident has been put under investigation. Hamilton has front wing damage but is still going. Not sure on damage to Verstappen's car yet.
Verstappen is told to give the place to Hamilton but as he slows Hamilton runs into the back of him! What is happening!
Hamilton catches Verstappen napping on that restart and gets the DRS down the start/finish straight. Hamilton goes around the outside but Verstappen gives him no room and forces them both wide.
Once again, it looks like Vettel's car that was the culprit of that most recent pause. Perhaps not surprising though, given the number of hits its taken from Tsunoda and then Raikkonen.
Aaaaaand it's gone. VSC over and back to green racing.
Virtual Safety Car! For yet more debris.