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Lando Norris crash, update, Sebastian Vettel radio, Daniel Ricciardo, Belgium GP, qualifying, results, reaction

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Sebastian Vettel was left fuming while Daniel Ricciardo had a big regret after a terrible crash left Lando Norris shaken in treacherous conditions.

Questions have been being asked over the safety of Spa’s iconic Raidillon-Eau Rouge stretch after a second heart-stopping, high-speed accident in 24 hours.

Norris was the latest to fall foul of the circuit when he lost control of his McLaren after the rear end hit the barriers at Eau Rouge.

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McLaren’s British driver Lando Norris crashes ithe qualifying session of the Formula One Belgian Grand Prix at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa. (Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP)Source: AFP

“For me, it’s horrible to see. For a lot of people in the paddock, it reminds us of the dark days of two years ago. We lost a friend, and a great driver, Anthoine, at the same turn,” said Charles Leclerc.

The Ferrari driver was flashing back to 2019 when his friend Anthoine Hubert, 22, was killed in a Formula Two race, caught in a pile-up after sweeping up the famed 17% gradient hill and turn.

“It’s very sad to see an accident here again. I was happy to see that Lando is doing well, even though he had to go to the hospital for check-ups.”

Leclerc added “something is planned for this turn in the future, so that’s good to know”.

Moments before Norris crashed Vettel called for the session to be stopped over the team radio as the cars started to aquaplane on wet tyres.

When the McLaren driver lost control of his car at Eau Rouge and crashed into the wall, Vettel was left furious as his warning fell on deaf ears.

QUALIFYING WRAP: Ricciardo makes big move as Verstappen masters rain

“What the f*** did I say? What did I say?” he said.

“Stop the session! This is so unnecessary… Is Norris okay?”

Ricciardo admitted after the race he could have been sterner in his position on the conditions after Norris’ crash.

“I was on the radio saying the conditions… and then I had an aquaplane in seventh gear,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“I guess I could have been more direct and said ‘Guys, we need to red flag it’. I did say that it was probably the right call to red flag it.

“It is tough. You don’t want to be the guy saying you don’t want to drive but the truth is, the conditions just weren’t safe enough.

“At Spa, you get these conditions and I never would have thought we would end the session on intermediates. I had no idea how the track dried like that. It is so unpredictable.

“At the time and with hindsight, we didn’t need to go out for that session. We will learn from it.”

Lando Norris competes in the qualifying session. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP)Source: AFP

On Friday, there was a six-car pile-up in W Series qualifying while earlier this year Williams F1 reserve driver Jack Aitken was involved in another accident in the Spa 24 Hour Race.

Both Ayla Agren and Beitske Visser were hospitalised after the W Series crash. “That was a very scary one but I think I had an angel on my shoulder,” tweeted Visser from her hospital bed.

The Belgian circuit, nestled in the Ardennes, is celebrating its centenary this season.

It remains one of motor racing’s most loved but most challenging tracks. Those challenges are multiplied when the fickle Belgian climate becomes a factor.

Despite the crashes, improvements are planned ahead of the world motorcycling endurance championship at Spa in June next year.

The plans provide for some widening and the installation of gravel traps at five curves — La Source, Raidillon, Blanchimont, Les Combes and Stavelot.

That’s welcome news for some F1 drivers.

Lando Norris was bruised but is recovering well. (Photo by Laurent Charniaux – Pool/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

“At Eau Rouge, I think it’s probably too easy for us to go much faster than we should at this place,” said four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel.

“I think it was tighter a few years ago. We are probably now going too fast here.”

However, another world champion, Fernando Alonso, said Eau Rouge was a challenge to be met.

“With a different barrier you can probably avoid some accidents, but it’s still a high speed corner. That’s the nature of the circuit and that’s what makes it special.”

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton believes changes should involve minor tweaks rather than radical surgery.

“Of course there is a danger factor, but I like Eau Rouge as it is,” said Hamilton, the current championship leader.

“I think they should just get rid of the ‘bump’ and then leave Eau Rouge as it is.”

Ricciardo too remains firmly in the purists’ camp.

“They shouldn’t change the layout of the circuit but open up the clearance zone a little,” said the Australian.

“It’s a fun and iconic turn, but when things go badly it’s still a big accident. So if they don’t change the track but they improve the safety, I’m ok.”

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Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, championship race, leaderboard, crash, reaction

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Lewis Hamilton edged out Max Verstappen to win a chaotic and controversial Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that had the F1 world divided on Monday morning.

There were a number of flashpoints during the race that only intensified the ongoing tension between Hamilton and Verstappen, who are now level on points ahead of the decider.

Hamilton had sped away from pole position before the balance of power shifted after 10 laps when Mick Schumacher buried his Haas in a barrier.

Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas pitted under the safety car but Verstappen stayed out.

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‘I didn’t understand what was going on’ | 01:27

Four laps later, the race was red-flagged to allow the barriers to be repaired which enabled Verstappen to pit, change tyres and resume the race in the lead.

On the restart, Hamilton reclaimed the lead but claimed he was forced off the track by Verstappen.

Moments later there was another red flag as Sergio Perez, George Russell and Nikita Mazepin all collided at the rear of the field.

The stewards decided that Verstappen’s manoeuvre was illegal and promoted Alpine’s Esteban Ocon to pole for the third start of the race, with Hamilton in second and Verstappen in third.

Amazingly, Verstappen then took the lead again with Hamilton following through.

However the drama and controversy continued when they collided late in the race. Hamilton said he had been brake-tested and Verstappen was penalised by the stewards before the Briton swept past and onto victory.

“It has been a dirty race in terms of tactics,” Martin Brundle said on Sky Sports F1.

“This is absolutely crazy. It’s kind of like we’re making it up as we go along.

“But it’s so many unusual situations. It’s more like an obstacle course than a race track.”

The F1 world was just as stunned by what unfolded on Monday, with the constant chaos proving hard to keep up with.

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Lewis Hamilton slams Max Verstappen, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, reaction, quotes, result

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Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton lashed out at title rival Max Verstappen after Sunday’s gripping Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, describing the Dutchman as “over the limit”.

Mercedes driver Hamilton won a dramatic race under lights on the Jeddah street circuit but only after several close run-ins with Red Bull’s Verstappen.

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“I really had to try and keep my cool out there which was really difficult to do,” said Hamilton.

“I have raced a lot of drivers in my 28 years of racing, I have come across a lot of characters. There’s a few that are over the limit, the rules don’t apply.

“He (Verstappen)’s over the limit for sure. I have avoided collision on so many occasions with the guy.

“I don’t mind being the one who does that because you get to live another day. It doesn’t matter for him if we don’t finish. It does for me.”

‘Rules don’t apply’ – Lewis RIPS Max | 01:03

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The tense battle culminated in a late collision when Hamilton, apparently unaware that Verstappen had been ordered to give up the lead after an illegal manoeuvre shortly before, hit the Red Bull as it braked in front of him.

Red Bull maintained that Verstappen was simply following instructions while Mercedes intimated that the Dutchman was ‘brake-testing’.

“I don’t understand why he hit the brakes quite so heavily so I ran into the back of him,” said Hamilton.

“I didn’t get the information. It was very confusing.”

Did Lewis intentionally hit Verstappen? | 01:50

A visibly annoyed Verstappen, however, denied any wrong-doing in the incident. “I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn’t want to overtake and we touched,” said Verstappen.

“I don’t really understand what happened there.” Stewards, who gave Verstappen a five-second penalty for an earlier incident, were investigating the decision.

“It was quite eventful! A lot of things happened, which I don’t fully agree with, but it is what it is,” said the 24-year-old Dutchman.

‘I didn’t understand what was going on’ | 01:27

He later stormed off the podium, refusing to take part in the traditional end of race champagne spraying with Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas who took third.

The two drivers are now level on points as they head to the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next weekend, although Verstappen has the advantage of having won more races.

“It’s a straight fight as it has been all year,” said Red Bull principal Christian Horner.

“The form is with Mercedes but Max has fought like a lion this weekend, he has given it everything.”

Hamilton has now won three races on the bounce and is primed to become the first man to win eight world titles, one more than the record he currently shares with Michael Schumacher.

“I am personally chilled,” he said. “I feel like I am in the boxing ring and I am ready to go.”

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Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen, crash, stewards, ruling, update, reaction, video, radio, Toto Wolff

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It was just one flashpoint in a drama-filled race with major repercussions on the Formula 1 championship race.

But the collision between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on Monday morning had been brewing long before lap 48 and its dramatic fallout is far from over too.

Hamilton took out the victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to draw level on points with Verstappen despite suffering wing damage in a late collision with his tense rival.

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‘Rules don’t apply’ – Lewis RIPS Max | 01:03

Verstappen had been ordered to give up the lead after an illegal manoeuvre shortly before but an oblivious Hamilton hit the Red Bull as it braked in front of him.

It left Toto Wolff fuming, with the Mercedes boss erupting as he tossed his headset onto the desk while Hamilton was simply puzzled.

“I didn’t get the information, so I didn’t really understand what was going on, it was very very confusing,” Hamilton told Sky Sports post-race.

“All of a sudden he started backing up and started moving a little bit [across the track], I was like: ‘Is he trying to play some crazy tactic? I don’t know’.

“The message started coming through just as he … like, he hit the brakes so hard that I nearly went up the back of him and took us both out.”

Verstappen did not have an answer either, telling Sky Sports: “I don’t really understand what happened”.

So, what exactly happened?

Well, a tense radio exchanged seemed to suggest Hamilton and Verstappen had every right to be confused.

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Hamilton and Verstappen collide! | 00:57

Mercedes team manager Ron Meadows and FIA F1 race director Michael Masi engaged in a verbal disagreement over whether the move had been properly communicated.

MEADOWS: “Are we allowed to go by him?

MASI: “You are allowed to go by him.

MEADOWS: “Well, he needs to slow down and let us. We had no idea he was going to do that.

MASI: “Excuse me, Ron. I came over and told you.

MEADOWS: “No, no, no. You told me as it happened.

MASI: “Ok, well Ron I can only push as many buttons as I can.”

“I think it was a misunderstanding, frankly,” F1 great Martin Brundle told Sky Sports.

“Red Bull will say we tried to give him the place back, and he ran into us… Mercedes will say he brake-tested us.”

Fellow commentator David Croft described it as a “bit of a mess”, questioning whether Verstappen even tried to make the space to let Hamilton through.

‘I didn’t understand what was going on’ | 01:27

Michael Masi, the race director, is a man with an awful lot on his plate tonight but it sounds like a bit of a mess in terms of the communications,” he said in commentary for Sky Sports.

“Ron Meadows, the sporting director at Mercedes, is saying you didn’t tell us at the time. We didn’t have time to tell our driver the place was being handed back.

“Max didn’t look as if he was moving to one side or another to make it easy for Lewis to get past.”

“I think there was enough space,” Brundle replied.

“Lewis just didn’t know what was going on. Obviously it’s confirmed because the team didn’t realise and hadn’t given him that piece of information in time.”

Breaking down the incident after the race, two Sky Sports experts questioned what role the DRS (drag reduction system) may have played in the collision.

“Verstappen pushes Hamilton wide and both go off and as a result of that, Verstappen was told to give the place back but was told by his team to do it strategically,” Teddy Kravitz said.

“Now, is that a smoking gun? Not really.

“Red Bull learned from Bahrain at the beginning of the year, when they didn’t give the place back strategically to Lewis Hamilton, do it in a place where you are going to get DRS afterwards.

“You can give the place back, stick there for a few seconds and then immediately take the place back, that is the way to do it strategically. Clearly that is what Verstappen was trying to do.

Did Lewis intentionally hit Verstappen? | 01:50

“Hamilton was confused, maybe he was trying to do that so he had the DRS. When Verstappen was told to give the place back, crucially, the FIA’s Michael Masi hadn’t told Hamilton before he told Verstappen.

“So Verstappen knew Hamilton was going to take the place back and was told to give the place back strategically.

“But they hadn’t told Hamilton that Verstappen was going to slow down and let him pass.”

Anthony Davidson agreed the DRS could be an additional factor to monitor in the motivation behind the move.

“There is one thing to remember here,” he said.

“I think there might have been a little bit of gamesmanship going on because of the DRS detection point coming up and I believe this is what they are both playing at here.

“This line is the critical thing. That line there is the DRS detection point. If you are within one second of the car in front of you, you get DRS don’t forget down that next straight.

“I think they were kind of racing towards this one and that is why in the re-pass that Max did in the second time around, he immediately went for it. He had the DRS to cover himself.

“I wonder, in desperation to get to that line and make sure you’re behind that car to really attack them down the main straight, maybe that was what was going on and it adds another element to the confusion for all and the stewards as well.”

Hamilton and Verstappen have both been called to the stewards for an alleged breach of FIA sporting regulations.

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