Friday, December 03, 2021
Verstappen is lagging behind
Crash ends Formula 1 training early
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit was only completed shortly before the first Formula 1 game in Saudi Arabia. During the second free practice session, the pitfalls of the course become apparent. Ferrari driver Leclerc feels this violently. At the very front there is a setback for Verstappen.
Lewis Hamilton blew the next attack on Max Verstappen on the courageous route from Jeddah. The Formula 1 record world champion was number one in training for the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, not only on a fast lap, but also with a lot of weight on board his Mercedes – which should make it difficult with Verstappen’s premature World Championship Coronation.
Before the race on Sunday (from 5:15 p.m. CET / RTL and in the live ticker at ntv.de) Hamilton set the fastest time of the day in 1: 29.018 minutes under floodlights. He was followed by his team mate Valtteri Bottas (Finland / + 0.061 seconds), AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly (France / + 0.081) and only then world championship leader Verstappen in the Red Bull (+0.195). In the racing simulations, Hamilton was around a second faster than the Dutchman.
Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin came in 16th (+1.484), Haas driver Mick Schumacher came in 18th, 1.634 seconds behind the leaders. “We now know about tomorrow, hopefully it will be better then,” said Vettel at Sky.
The drivers experimented a lot with tires and vehicle settings on the unknown track. Several brakes could be seen, Schumacher touched the track barrier once. Charles Leclerc hit hard with his Ferrari, so the second free practice had to be ended prematurely five minutes before the end. The Monegasse lost control of his car at turn 22, turned and then crashed into the lane with his right side. The 24-year-old was able to get out of his badly damaged car on his own. Leclerc was brought to the track doctor as a precaution.
Leclerc involuntarily provides evidence of danger
Verstappen is eight points ahead of Hamilton in the penultimate race of the season. If the Dutchman has 18 more points, he will be world champion prematurely for the first time. Otherwise, the decision will be made on December 12th in Abu Dhabi – what it looks like more and more after Hamilton won the previous two races. Mercedes, on the other hand, can perfect the eighth constructors’ title in a row, but the team is only five points ahead of Red Bull.
The 6.174-kilometer circuit, which despite its 27 curves is the fastest street circuit in Formula 1 history, was built within six months. Several drivers and those responsible for the team said they were very positive about the challenging course with many courageous curves. “If you make a mistake here, it will be severe,” warned Red Bull team boss Christian Horner. Leclerc involuntarily provided the evidence.
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit was only approved by the FIA, the world automobile association, on Thursday. According to current plans, a Grand Prix is only to be held in Jeddah on Sunday and March 27, 2022; a change to the track currently under construction in Qiddiya outside Riyadh is planned for the 2023 season.
Numerous teams paid their last respects to Frank Williams, founder of the traditional Williams racing team, who died on Sunday at the age of 79, with lettering on helmets or cars. Before the race, the FW07 from the 1979 season will do a lap of honor and there will also be a minute’s silence.