THE final two races of the season are upon you, F1 fans. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen go at it in Saudi Arabia this weekend, before finishing up the season in Abu Dhabi next week – and both should be absolute crackers.
F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix: UK Start time, TV channel and live stream for practice, qualifying and race
Follow all the action with SunSport’s live blog below…
KENDRA SPARKS BEN RUMOURS
Model Camila Kendra appears to be in the lap of luxury after moving on from F1 ace Lewis Hamilton — and putting Chelsea star Ben Chilwell in pole position.
Camila, 27, shared snaps from plush surroundings, and eagle-eyed fans recognised them as the England full-back’s home.
Camila Kendra looks sizzlingly hot as she takes a dip in the ocean
Chilwell, 24, has also been quick to like her pics. One pal said: “Ben thinks they get on swimmingly.”
Camilo was also seen at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge ground after their 4-0 demolition of Juventus in the Champions League last month.
The Sun told earlier this year how Camila posted a photo from the home of race ace Hamilton, 36, and was seen in some of his clothes.
Camila – born in the Dominican Republic – recently split up with Tyler Cameron, from US reality show The Bachelor, after eight months.
The Sun has approached Chilwell for a comment.
BRUNDLE PREDICTS ALMIGHTY RUMBLE
Martin Brundle is predicting a thrilling finale to the F1 title race.
The Sky F1 pundit said: “This place will bite. In a way this is brilliant towards the end of the season but if I was Red Bull and Mercedes I would be thinking ‘I don’t need the extra jeopardy of this place right now’.
“These guys live off data. They thrive on it and they hate uncertainty. They want to turn up here, having done 1000 laps on the sim, with the right set-up and the right strategy.
“But we want all the jeopardy and the surprise and I think that is what has made it such a great year – we’ve had that jeopardy this season.”
And of hamilton’s title chances, he added: “A good football analogy is you’d rather have the points than the games in hand.
“If Lewis carries on at that rate of knots and if Valtteri Bottas can get involved and have one of his on-form days, then who knows?
“We’ve seen some good wheel-to-wheel action. We’ve seen some shooting from the hip and shooting from the lip from the team bosses.
“We’ve had it all. The high drama, the massive accidents, Max parked on Lewis’ head at Monza. It’s had everything; the brilliant moments, the scary moments, but it has to end somewhere.”
LEWIS ‘NOT COMFORTABLE’ IN SAUDI ARABIA
Lewis Hamilton admits he is in uncomfortable racing in Saudi Arabia but promised to try to ‘raise awareness’ of human rights concerns.
Britain’s world champion needs victory and ideally a poor performance from title leader Max Verstappen to leave him well placed for an eighth crown.
And Hamilton said: “Do I feel comfortable here? I wouldn’t say I do.
“But it’s not my choice to be here. The sport has taken a choice to be here.
“And whether it’s right or wrong, while we are here, it’s important we do try to raise awareness.”
LECLERC’S AMAZING ESCAPE
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc miraculously walked away from a 150mph crash as Lewis Hamilton finished second practice fastest at the Saudi Arabian GP.
Leclerc lost control at the notorious Turn 22 on the new Jeddah street circuit.
The crash badly smashed Leclerc’s car and ended the session five minutes early.
Hamilton beat fourth-placed title-rival Max Verstappen by 0.195 seconds.
Alpha Tauri are clearly delighted with Frenchman Pierre Gasly’s showing in second practice…
WOLFF’S STATEMENT ON KINGSPAN DEAL
Toto Wolff responded to anger over Mercedes agreeing a deal with the heavily-criticised Kingspan company with an open letter.
It read: “The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire was beyond imaginable to me, and it should never have happened.
“On behalf of our team, I would sincerely like to apologise to you for the additional hurt that this announcement has caused. It was never our intention to do so.
“The work of the public inquiry to establish the full causes of the tragedy is crucially important. Prior to concluding our partnership, we engaged with Kingspan in depth to understand what role their products played in what happened at Grenfell.
“Kingspan have stated that they played no role in the design or construction of the cladding system on Grenfell Tower, and that a small percentage of their product was used as a substitute without their knowledge in part of the system which was not compliant with building regulations and was unsafe.
“I know that this does not change in any way the awful tragedy you suffered, or the deep and ongoing pain felt in your community, and I would like to thank Grenfell United for the offer to meet in person for me to learn and understand better.
“I look forward to coming together as soon as we can.”
TOTO OFFRS TO MEET GRENFELL FAMILIES
Toto Wolff has offered to meet the survivors and bereaved families of the Grenfell tragedy after a backlash over a sponsorship deal with Kingspan, writes BEN HUNT.
Merc confirmed a partnership with the insulation and building firm ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP.
However, there was heavy criticism from survivors and those families impacted by the fire in the tower block in 2017, which killed 72 people.
The Grenfell United group sought to speak to Merc while Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, also said he would write to the Brackley-based F1 team.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE TITLE RACE
Lewis Hamilton heading big rival Max Verstappen in first practice at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is the first step towards a victory that Britain’s world champ surely needs to stay in the title pursuit.
If Red Bull’s Verstappen beats Hamilton on Sunday, the Mercedes star would need the Dutchman to have a disastrous final GP at Abu Dhabi.
In contrast, should Verstappen finish second behind Hamilton this weekend then the title fight will be neck and neck.
Here are the results in full.
Feast your eyes over these!
Here’s your full top ten times from P1.
That’s it from P1, we’ll have full results to come.
That’s it from P1!
In their first drive around the new Jeddah track, it’s Lewis Hamilton that posted the quickest time.
Team-mate Valtteri Bottas was third, while early pace-setter Max Verstappen was between the two in second.
We’re into the final five minutes of P1.
And it remains a familiar looking top three, with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas – and Max Verstappen in third.
Toto Wolff’s smiling.
And no wonder, as it’s currently a Mercedes one-two at the top of the leaderboard – ahead of Max Verstappen.
NEW FASTEST LAP
We have a new fastest lap… and it’s that man Lewis Hamilton!
He’s gone and posted a stunning time of 1:29.786.
We have just under 15 minutes left of P1.
BOTT THE HELL?
Valtteri Bottas is having such a good time, in fact, that he’s overtaken Max Verstappen’s best lap time.
The Finn posted a time of 1:30.009, which currently leads the field.
Team-mate Lewis Hamilton is currently sixth with 1:30.678.
VALT ON EARTH
Saudi Arabia’s quick track could lead to chaos this weekend.
Mercedes No2 Valtteri Bottas put it best.
The 32-year-old said: “It’s a new track and it’s going to be messy at times.”
He appears to like it that way, however, adding: “This track is cool!”
The tight walls will leave little room for error on Sunday.
Here’s a few snaps from the picturesque settling in Saudi Arabia.
TIME TO SPEED UP
The quicker times are starting to pour in as drivers get more confident in their unfamiliar surroundings.
Here are how the top ten looks so far.
Here’s a little look at what kind of tyres our main contenders have decided to use in P1.
A wide variety of tyre compounds seen at the start of this exploratory session. @Max33Verstappen goes quickest straight away on the hard tyres. @MercedesAMGF1 so far behind them on the soft – but these are very early days at this brand new street circuit. #SaudiGP— Pirelli Motorsport (@pirellisport) December 3, 2021
Lewis Hamilton is taking it easy so far, as he gets to grips with the track.
The Brit is up to fifth, however, having now posted a time of 1:31.478.
Max Verstappen’s best lap time of 1:30.354 is still quickest so far.
GETTING YOUR FEL
There’s a legend in the house.
Brazilian Felipe Massa is in Saudi Arabia taking in the action.
AROUND THE CORNER
There could be danger around every corner this weekend… and there are 27 of them!
Jeddah’s circuit boasts more corners than any other track this season.
And with the race set to be contested at brutally high speed, drivers will have to be even more alert than usual as the season prepares to reach its exciting climax.
Lewis Hamilton has posted an early time of 1:33.241.
Max Verstappen, meanwhile, is down to 1:30.920.
Lando Norris is next fastest with 1:31.417
While Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas is third quickest so far with 1:31.712.
Man Verstappen, unsurprisingly, has posted the quickest lap so far in Jeddah.
Having been round five times, 1:31.7365 is his best so far.
Lewis Hamilton has now entered proceedings, having been last out the garage.
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