Saudi Arabian GP LIVE: Max Verstappen avoids penalty ahead of Lewis Hamilton battle

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Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen’s thrilling Formula One title battle continues in Jeddah today with the penultimate race of the 2021 season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the Briton starting on pole and Verstappen third. The pair are battling it out for the Drivers’ Championship while Mercedes and Red Bull also go head-to-head for the Constructors’ Championship.

Verstappen goes into this race eight points ahead of Hamilton but is only third on the grid after a crash in qualifying.

The Dutchman tagged the wall on the exit of the final corner of the high-speed Jeddah street circuit when he had been on course to take pole from Hamilton due to his searing pace.

Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate, starts ahead of Verstappen in second to give Mercedes a potential tactical advantage out in the Middle East.

And Hamilton will be eager to take a third successive victory to head into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend level, or ahead, of his title rival in the standings.

Express Sport provides live lap-by-lap updates of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix below.

Sir Frank Williams tribute

A poignant tribute to the late Sir Frank Williams from the teams.

No Verstappen penalty

Despite that qualifying crash, Verstappen’s gearbox is thought to be fine and as a result he will not take a grid penalty.

A change would have incurred a five-place grid drop and relegated him to eighth.

Here’s the starting grid for today’s race.

Horrible F2 crash

There was a nasty F2 crash before the F1 race in Saudi Arabia, with Enzo Fittipaldi crashing into the back of Theo Pourchaire’s stationary car on the starting grid.

The pair have been taken to the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital but thankfully the FIA have confirmed they are conscious.

The race was red-flagged after Pourchaire, in P3, stalled on the grid and Fittipaldi collided with the back of him.

It is unclear if either have suffered any injuries.

Good evening!

Good evening and welcome to Express Sport’s live coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The race begins at 5.30pm UK time but we’ve plenty to cover before now and then.

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