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Hamilton salutes Mercedes "passion and excitement" during Verstappen battle

Hamilton salutes Mercedes "passion and excitement" during Verstappen battle

F1 News

Hamilton salutes Mercedes "passion and excitement" during Verstappen battle

Hamilton salutes Mercedes "passion and excitement" during Verstappen battle

Lewis Hamilton believes Mercedes showed a "passion and excitement" he hasn't seen in a decade during the astonishing Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Emotions ran high as Hamilton had the lead taken away and given back multiple times with FIA interventions and contact with Max Verstappen only adding to the drama of F1's inaugural race in Jeddah that saw two red flag periods.

The first red flag period came after Hamilton had already pitted under the preceding safety car, allowing Verstappen a free pit stop and taking the lead through no fault of Mercedes, leading to agitation for the seven-time champion.

Verstappen then stayed ahead by cutting the second corner at the restart, with that only being rectified during a second red flag period.

The Dutchman made his way back into the lead at the second restart but when Hamilton attacked in the final quarter of the race, Verstappen forced both off with a robust defence.

The pair then tangled as Verstappen attempted to give the place back, the stewards eventually finding the Red Bull had brake-tested Hamilton.

The Briton emerged victorious at the end of a tense day and commented: "We approached it with a cool head, as a team, and I think the key for us was just staying calm.

"It was clear that others around us were willing to take it to all sorts of levels in order to overtake, so I just tried to keep it on the track and stay out of trouble, which meant avoiding incidents if I could, and I’m really, really grateful that I still had a wing at the end.

"And then I just took a lot of risk at the end with the bit of damage that I had to get that extra point, as we continue to fight, no matter what we’ve experienced as a team, and I think probably all of us, no matter what we face, we just keep pushing, never give up, and I think that’s been the mentality of our team.

"I think I’ve seen a passion and excitement within my team that, I think, in 10 years I don’t think I’ve seen that, which is amazing."

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