Max Verstappen will go to the final race of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship level on points with title rival Lewis Hamilton after finishing second behind the Mercedes driver in a hugely dramatic 2021 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
There was definitely a lot of action today, a lot of things happened. I was told to give the position back, so I moved off the racing line and slowed down, Lewis just stayed behind me, I don’t understand why he didn’t pass. I don’t agree with the five-second penalty, but it is what it is and we’ll just move on. We didn’t have a perfect pace in the race today, so that’s something to work on looking ahead to Abu Dhabi. We’re on equal points now heading into the final race, it’s going to be an exciting end to the season.
It wasn’t the best weekend for the Team, we lost crucial points in the Constructors’ Championship, so we are going to Abu Dhabi now to try and turn things around. We were slightly unlucky with the first red flag but we got away well after the second restart. We got past Gasly and Charles and as I was coming out of turn three there just wasn’t enough room for everyone, given how the corner was. I ended up tangling with Charles, he clipped my rear tyre with his front right tyre. It was a bad moment for everyone but just a very unlucky one. It is just a big shame because we needed those points today. I stayed with the car out on track because we were trying to turn the engine back on, we thought we could restart it but it was a bit on the hot side so we had to retire. It was a very important race for the Team today so this one hurts a lot but there is hope for Abu Dhabi. There is still optimism and something to fight for and we will give the final race of the season everything so let’s look forward.
Christian Horner – Team Principal
There was obviously an awful lot of damage and debris for Race Control to deal with because of all the incidents, so it was a frustrating race in that respect and we were probably lucky to come away with second, especially given the amount of damage we had to the back of our car. I don’t know what Lewis was doing because Max was trying to give the place up as instructed by Race Control, he lifted and you can hear that it was clear we were trying to give the place up and we’d informed Race Control. I don’t know if Lewis didn’t want to pass before the DRS zone, but it was very strange to have him drive straight up the back of Max. We got a five-second time penalty, I thought it was on the harsh side, they both went wide and were racing. Max has fought like a gladiator this weekend and given it everything. It was frustrating to drop points in the constructors’ championship with Checo being taken out at the restart, so we now have one chance. We have a week to regroup and now it goes down to the wire at Abu Dhabi. It’s a straight-out fight as it has been for the entire year. For the fans it is fantastic, it keeps the championship dream alive and we have one shot and it’s time to take it.