Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton says he has been left utterly baffled by his main title rival Max Verstappen after the pair shared many heated moments during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The pair came together on lap 37 after the Red Bull driver was ordered to give back first place to to Hamilton. As the Dutchman slowed down suddenly, Hamilton accused Verstappen of “brake testing” him as he nearly ran into the back of the Red Bull.
In a race littered with controversy and two red-flagged periods, the pair went wheel-to-wheel for the lead of the race.
After a heated exchange between Mercedes’ Ron Meadows and FIA race director Michael Masi over the radio, the sporting chief says they weren’t informed that Verstappen was going to let him through until the clash happened after race control demanded the Dutchman give the place back.
Shortly after Verstappen gave back the place to Hamilton, he immediately retook the lead and picked up a five-second advantage for leaving the track and gaining an advantage.
“I don’t know, I’ve been racing here a long time but that was incredibly tough,” said Hamilton.
Saudi Arabian GP LIVE: Hamilton looks to take Verstappen’s title lead
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“I tried to be as tough as I could be out there but also sensible and with all my race experience over the years, just keeping the car on track and staying clean.
“It was difficult but we preserved as a team and we had all sorts of things thrown at us, particularly in the second half of the season, and so I’m just really proud of everyone.”
When asked about the incident, Hamilton said: “I didn’t quite understand why he suddenly hit the brakes quite heavily and then I run into the back of him.
“And then he moved on, so I didn’t understand exactly what was going on.
“And I got a message afterwards that he was going to let us pass, so it was a bit confusing.”
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