George Russell joins Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes
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Lewis Hamilton’s pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday has given him even more chance to gain ground on current Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen in the hunt for the title. But Verstappen’s father, Jos, believes the title race has turned toxic and has criticised Hamilton for his antics away from the track.
Hamilton qualified in pole position for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a time of 1:27.511, one-tenth of a second faster than Verstappen, who will start in third after crashing out in his final flying lap having gone purple in the first two sectors.
That gives Hamilton a slight edge at the inaugural event in Saudi Arabia with just eight points separating him from Verstappen at the top of the standings.
If Verstappen fails to break into the top two and Hamilton wins the race, the seven-time world champion will take the lead with one race remaining.
However, Verstappen’s father Jos has questioned Hamilton for his antics away from the track despite acknowledging his excellence as a driver.
And he believes Michael Schumacher had a positive influence on his son’s career as they were family friends.
“Michael and I had good contacts,” Jos told the Daily Mail.
“We met personally too [the Verstappens and Schumachers holidayed together]. He changed a little bit at the circuit, but he would still be friendly.
“Lewis does it his own way, which you can’t say is wrong because he wins a lot. Yes, he has had team-mates, but he has been in the right environment.
“He made the right decision to go to Mercedes and has had the fastest car for a long time. But he is good, for sure. I respect him as a driver. The rest…
“Max is how he is. Some people like it. Some people don’t. He says what he thinks but doesn’t get involved in political matters, such as what is happening in other countries, like Lewis does.
“Max sees it as a case of doing a job as a sportsman and leaving it at that. Everybody does it their way and that is Max’s way.”
The pair will likely battle right to the very end of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which takes place next weekend.
It would signal Hamilton’s eighth drivers’ title – a record he would ultimately take off Schumacher, with the pair currently tied on seven.
And a win for Verstappen would mean his first title ever at the age of just 24.
Red Bull will be desperate for the Dutchman to do so after seven years of dominance from Mercedes.
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