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Sport: Saudi Arabian GP Preview: Verstappen and Hamilton to duel at brand-new Jeddah Circuit

Alonso: Hamilton SHOULD be sent to back of the grid over engine use

  Alonso: Hamilton SHOULD be sent to back of the grid over engine use The added boost in power from his fifth engine saw the Brit win back-to-back Grand Prixs in Brazil and Qatar earlier this month and blow the title race wide open with just two races to go. And two-time Formula One champion Alonso believes Hamilton should be handed a more severe punishment for changing his engine once again.'Those who have exceeded a certain number of engines per year should be sent to the back of the grid,' Alonso told Spanish outlet AS.

The penultimate race of the Formula 1 season will take place at a new circuit in Saudi Arabia, with both Constructors' and Drivers' Championships still on the line.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen has the opportunity to claim his first Driver's Championship at Jeddah but will have to contend with an in-form Lewis Hamilton.

New circuit dramas

Drivers, experts, and fans alike all had one major concern when the Jeddah street circuit was announced as Formula 1's newest track - will it be ready in time?

The track itself was described as 'nearing completion' two weeks ago and prior to that, it barely resembled a race track.

Mercedes forced into apology over Hamilton's car

  Mercedes forced into apology over Hamilton's car Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has apologised after survivors of a 2017 London fire slammed a new sponsor.The team announced a sponsorship deal this week allowing building products maker Kingspan to put its logo on the nose cone of world champion Lewis Hamilton’s car beginning with a weekend race in Saudi Arabia.

Last week, there were over 1250 construction workers finishing the asphalt layering process, and now the circuit finally appears ready for a weekend of racing.

Since it is a brand new track - combined with the rushed construction - no one is exactly feeling reassured.

The FIA has officially approved it for use, but the circuit quality will still be a major unknown for drivers.

Jeddah Street Circuit - Sep 2021 © Provided by Sporting News Jeddah Street Circuit - Sep 2021

Who does the track favour?

A new track means a new challenge for the teams, who have undertaken a significant amount of research and simulation testing to prepare for this Grand Prix.

The long straights are the most striking detail of the circuit, with three DRS (Drag Reduction System) zones.

Hamilton on Saudi pole as Verstappen hits wall in 'terrible' crash

  Hamilton on Saudi pole as Verstappen hits wall in 'terrible' crash Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday as championship leader Max Verstappen smashed into a wall and could only manage third place. For Hamilton, who has cut Verstappen's championship lead with successive wins in Brazil and Qatar, it was a fifth pole of the season and 103rd of his career. Verstappen, who has an eight-point lead over Hamilton with just two races left, can claim his first world title on Sunday if he wins the race and Hamilton finishes outside the top six.If not, the 2021 title battle will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi next weekend.

It is no secret that Mercedes is the best-suited car for this track, and it will take a mighty effort from any other team on the grid to challenge them.

This weekend could be critical in the Constructors' Championship, with a strong result for Mercedes putting them in a commanding position ahead of the final race.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told MotorsportWeek.com that Mercedes will have the upper hand in Saudi Arabia.

“The next track arguably should favour Mercedes,” Horner said.

“Abu Dhabi, with the modifications made there, who knows? It’s been incredibly tight, so we go into these last races eight points ahead in the Drivers’ Championship.

“We’ve reduced the championship lead in the Constructors’ to five points, so both are fully in play. That’s fantastic, because we are not yet at the climax of this Championship.”

Marko: "Perhaps result will be revised"

 Marko: © Motorsport Images The duel between Max Stapen and Lewis Hamilton has a nightplay after a completely bizarre to scandalous Formula 1 debut in Saudi Arabia expects red- Bull MotorsportConsultant Helmut Marko with an aftermath. However, he pushes for the violently discussed collision between max stapping and Lewis Hamilton in curve 27 the British blaming into the shoes. "We are looking for facts. We can believe I prove that Max was consistently in the brake pressure.

Hamilton, Verstappen... and the rest

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been competing in a league of their own all season.

Only eight points separate the pair coming into this weekend, with third-placed Bottas trailing by a sizeable 140.5 points.

Although Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Sergio Perez have both shown their talent in the grid's best cars, they have simply been overshadowed by their title-challenging teammates.

Hamilton and Verstappen have often this year been split by the finest of margins, but the reigning British champion likely has the edge heading to Saudi Arabia.

He is in superb form, winning the last two races, and comes into this race with a better-suited car for the unique Jeddah track.

To further boost Hamilton's chances, the same power unit that helped the Mercedes driver to a memorable win in Brazil will most likely be used.

You need sheer power on this track, and Hamilton will have that in spades.

Furious Mercedes boss rages at 'crazy' Verstappen

  Furious Mercedes boss rages at 'crazy' Verstappen The fallout continues from a bitter Saudi Arabia Grand Prix that saw Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen clash again.The Dutchman was initially given a five-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining a lasting advantage during his fight with Lewis Hamilton, but it was their subsequent collision as Verstappen slowed to let the Mercedes pass that drew significant condemnation.

The seven-time World Champion will be a strong favourite heading into qualifying and has the right car to excel in the race too.

Despite the overwhelming likelihood that Hamilton or Verstappen win this race, a shock winner cannot be ruled out.

With the stakes the highest they have been all season, the entire race - and opening laps in particular - will be remarkably tense.

One place lost or gained is potentially the difference in championship standings, so a desperate on-track move could easily cause chaos.

The infamous incident at Monza this year is proof of how unwavering both drivers are in their pursuit of victory.

Monza 2021 © Provided by Sporting News Monza 2021

Notably, at the similar Baku circuit, there were a number of tyre problems, resulting in the unlikely podium of Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly.

With long straights and demanding high speeds, will the Pirellis hold up in Jeddah?

There is every chance we could see a Steven Bradbury-esque winner.

Still to play for in mid-table

The five-point gap between Red Bull and Mercedes in the Constructors' standings will dominate discussion this weekend, but there are still exciting battles and narratives beneath the two powerhouse teams.

Polarising F1 video ad removed at fuming Red Bull's demand

  Polarising F1 video ad removed at fuming Red Bull's demand Sky Sports has taken down a controversial Formula 1 advertisement at the demand of a seething Red Bull camp.The Formula 1 juggernaut got in contact with Sky Sports after the London-based media company released an advertisement pairing Max Verstappen's terrifying British Grand Prix crash with a Merry Christmas message.

Ferrari has a seemingly comfortable 39.5 point lead over McLaren in the contest for third place, whilst Alpine are currently holding off Alpha Tauri by 25 points in a fight for fifth place.

With serious prize money on the line, there is a strong incentive for middle-table teams to finish the season strongly.

Hamilton and Verstappen are, understandably, grabbing all the headlines.

However, the battle for cash in the middle of the table cannot be overlooked.

Haas also have two races left to finally pick up some points, following a forgetful year to say the least...

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place between December 4-6 (AEDT).

The main race will start at 4:30 am (AEDT) on Monday December 6, shown on Fox Sports via Foxtel and Kayo Sports.

Verstappen confirmed champion but Merc lodge intention to appeal .
F1 stewards have rejected both of Mercedes' protests over the dramatic late stages of the Abu Dhabi GP, confirming Max Verstappen as the 2021 champion.The drama is not over yet, however, as Mercedes have lodged their intention to appeal the verdicts, which were released long after an extraordinary and controversial race finale.

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