Lewis Hamilton takes Saudi Arabian F1 GP pole as Max Verstappen crashes

The world champion was on top but only because Max Verstappen pushed too hard and was left wondering what might have been over a damaged car, stranded on the track. Hamilton made an error on his first hot lap in Q3, briefly losing the rear, and had to abort his quick lap. He set a time of 1min 27.653sec, a fearsome target almost four-tenths up on Hamilton. A win for Hamilton at Jeddah would guarantee the championship will head to a finale at Abu Dhabi and, if Hamilton also scores fastest lap to a second place for Verstappen, the two rivals would go into the decider equal on points. He leads Hamilton by eight points and can take it this weekend in three ways: if he wins and scores the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes sixth or lower; if he wins without the fastest lap and Hamilton finishes seventh or lower; or if he outscores Hamilton by 18 points. For an uneasy period before the session began, Hamilton’s fate had been subject to the deliberations of the stewards.

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