Lewis Hamilton won a chaotic inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen to keep his world title hopes alive with the two drivers now incredibly tied on the same points with just one race left this season.

In a dramatic but sometimes farcical contest in Jeddah, during which Verstappen was told to give a place back to his Mercedes rival late on due to a previous clash between the pair, the Briton eventually crossed the line first and also recorded the fastest lap. It means the two drivers are on the same points – 369.5 – going into the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi next week as the title battle goes down to the wire.

Hamilton, despite having to cope with damage to his car sustained in a bruising late collision with Verstappen, won around the street circuit as Verstappen clung on for second despite his tyres fading at the end in another highly-competitive Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas was third for Mercedes, ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in fourth. Daniel Ricciardo, in his McLaren, was fifth, Pierre Gasly of AlphaTauri came in sixth.

Verstappen thought he was moving to within touching distance of the title as he was ahead after 36 laps but it all turned Hamilton’s way late on when the Dutchman was penalised for lunging down the inside when Hamilton attempted to pass. He was given a five-second penalty for leaving the track and trying to gain an advantage to essentially hand Hamilton the victory that he needed to maintain his title bid.

It was yet another tense and sometimes frenzied scrap between the two title challengers, with Hamilton accusing Verstappen over the team radio of dangerous driving and even “brake-testing” him when he was told to let the seven-time title winner through by race control.

Amid often chaotic scenes, with several stoppages and two virtual safety cars being deployed in quick succession to clear up debris, Hamilton will ultimately celebrate a crazy victory in one of the most unpredictable races of a wildly competitive season.

Afterwards, Hamilton said in his post-race interview: “I’ve been racing a long time, but that was incredibly tough.

“I tried to be as tough and as sensible as I could out there, with all my experience over the years. It was difficult, but we persevered as a team.”

Verstappen, when asked about what happened when he slowed to let Hamilton pass as he was ordered, said: “It was eventful, a lot of things happened that I don’t fully agree with but it is what it is.

“I slowed down, I wanted to let him by, I was on the right but he didn’t want to overtake and we touched. I don’t really understand what happened there.”

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