Hamilton closes the points deficit, Verstappen equals the record for most podiums in a year and Jeddah becomes the fifth venue to have its inaugural race red-flagged. Here are the facts and statistics from the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
HAMILTON WINS IN JEDDAH
Lewis Hamilton took victory in the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, recording the 103rd win of his Formula 1 career. Hamilton is the first driver to have won at 31 different circuits.
Hamilton became the first driver to have finished on the podium at 35 different tracks and the first to set the fastest lap at 26 different circuits.
TITLE BATTLE GOES DOWN TO THE WIRE
For the first time since 1974, the title rivals are level on points heading into the final race of the season. It’s the first time that the title will be decided at the last race of the year since 2016, as well as the first time that both titles will be decided at the last race of the season since 2008.
This is the first time that the Drivers’ Championship has been tied since the 2017 Chinese Grand Prix.
The 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be the 30th occasion on which the Drivers’ Championship has been decided at the final race of the season.
ON THE PODIUM
For the 20th time, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were joined on the podium by Valtteri Bottas. They’re the first trio of drivers to appear on the podium together on twenty occasions.
Verstappen finished as runner-up for the third race in a row. It’s the first time a driver has recorded three consecutive second place results since Nico Rosberg finished as runner-up at all of the last four races of the 2016 season. That was also the last time three races in a row had identical 1-2 results.
Verstappen finished in the top three for the seventeenth time in 2021. He equals the record for the most podium finishes in a single season. It’s a feat which has been achieved six times previously, once each by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel, and four times by Lewis Hamilton.
With his 59th podium finish, Verstappen equals Nigel Mansell for twelfth in the list of most F1 podiums.
Jeddah Corniche Circuit becomes the 27th different venue at which both Max Verstappen and Valtteri Bottas have finished on the podium. They equal Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso for fourth in the list of most different circuits at which a driver has finished in the top three.
THE POINTS SCORERS
Esteban Ocon led a lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It was the first time he’s led a race since winning the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Alpine driver has now finished in the top five at each of the last two races.
Daniel Ricciardo finished fifth, recording his first points since the United States Grand Prix. He’s scored at six of the last twelve races – each one of those occasions being a top five finish. While team-mate Lando Norris has scored ten times in the same timeframe, only two of those finishes have been in the top five.
With sixth place, Pierre Gasly finished in the top six for the eighth time this year. It’s the first time that a driver for the Red Bull junior team has finished in the top six at eight races in a single season. The previous record at the team was seven top six finishes for Sebastian Vettel in 2008.
Carlos Sainz finished in eighth place. The four points he scored saw him overtake Nico Hulkenberg as the driver to have scored the most career points without winning a Grand Prix. The 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is the 28th consecutive race at which Sainz has crossed the finish line. He becomes only the sixth driver to have crossed the finish line at 28 consecutive races.
Antonio Giovinazzi finished in ninth place, recording his best finish of the 2021 season and his best result since the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix. It’s the second time he’s scored this year, after the Monaco Grand Prix. This was the sixth race of the year at which Alfa Romeo have scored points.
THE OTHER FINISHERS
With thirteenth place, Fernando Alonso failed to score for the first time since the United States Grand Prix.
Mick Schumacher was the first of five drivers to retire from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. This was his third retirement in the last seven races.
Schumacher’s crash brought out the red flags. It was the fifth time that the first race at a new venue has resulted in a red flag period. It also happened at the 1982 Detroit Grand Prix, the 1996 Australian Grand Prix, the 2010 South Korean Grand Prix and the 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix. You could also include the 1950 Indianapolis 500 on this list.
A collision between Nikita Mazepin and George Russell brought out the red flags for a second time. It’s the second time this year that a race has had two red flag periods, the other occurrence being at the Belgian Grand Prix.
With Mazepin joining This is the first time that both Haas cars have failed to reach the chequered flag since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix and the first time neither car has been classified since the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix.
George Russell retired for the fifth time this year. It was his first retirement since the Dutch Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez’s retirement ended an eight race streak of points-scoring appearances for the Mexican driver.
Sebastian Vettel was the last driver to retire from the race. He recorded his first DNF since the British Grand Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.