Formula 1: Hamilton and Verstappen crash at 190mph
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The prickly relationship between Red Bull team principal Christian Horner and Damon Hill continued as the former world champion hit out at comments regarding Lewis Hamilton. The two men clashed in the aftermath of the epic Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where drama and controversy reigned.
Sunday’s race saw two red flags, multiple virtual safety car interventions and five drivers crash out before Hamilton won his eighth race of the season.
Hamilton and Verstappen battled for the race lead throughout, with controversial moments and exhilarating restarts aplenty.
The Brit took the chequered flag to tie the drivers’ standings ahead of next weekend’s finale in Abu Dhabi.
Verstappen finished second despite being dealt two time penalties for a total of 15 seconds.
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After the race, Horner and Hill went head-to-head over the incidents that occurred during Sunday’s classic contest.
Hill suggested that, while Verstappen was consistently excellent in the first sector, the Red Bull lost the race due to tyre struggles and asked the 48-year-old whether the race was lost due to their ill-advised car setup with higher downforce.
Horner, who had accused the 1994 world champion of bias towards Hamilton in the build-up to the race at Jeddah, quickly snapped back to inform the pundit that there was actually more downforce and their set-up was correct.
He simply stated the Mercedes is quicker, and he continued his frustrations with the race outcome before the Abu Dhabi finale.
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“It was a busy race, it was a tough race,” Horner admitted to the F1 Nation podcast.
“We’re not getting the rub of the green at the moment, and we’ve got one more shot.
“I thought the five second penalty was harsh. We did tell Max to give the place back, he then backed off in the last sector, it was obvious Lewis didn’t want Max to get the DRS so it was a question of how close they could go before reaching that line.
“Then you see Lewis run Max off the track, but that’s ok.
“Here we are going to the last race, it’s something I’ve said to all the boys in the garage, they can be massively proud that they have taken this fight to Mercedes, a team that nobody has come anywhere close to in the last seven years.
“We have thrown everything at this year.”
Hill took issue with Horner’s comments implying Verstappen would be more worthy a champion than Hamilton, who the Red Bull boss believes is in a faster car – and receiving the benefit of the doubt from officials.
“I don’t wholly agree with the things Christian [Horner] is saying,” Hill said in response.
“I think Lewis would be a worthy champion if he was to win it – I think they both would be worthy champions.
“The question for me is whether the ambition that Max has needs to be reined in a bit because he is really on the edge of incurring penalties all the time.
“You can’t change people like that. Max has got to where he is thanks to his driving style and his racing.”
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