Lewis vs. Max. ‘Nuff said.
For just the second time in Formula 1 history, drivers will be entering the final race of the year tied atop the table, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen entering the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with 369.5 points.
This F1 season has been all sorts of memorable, largely because of the Lewis vs. Max battle. There have been plenty of other things to get excited about, though, with the emergence of young drivers as pillars of the future and the farewell tour of Kimi Raikkonen among them.
In more ways than one, it’s been lights out in 2021 — and soon it’ll be lights out on the season.
Sporting News is tracking live race updates and lap-by-lap highlights from the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix featuring Lewis Hamilton vs. Max Verstappen. Follow for complete results from the Formula 1 championship.
Formula 1 live updates, highlights from 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
8:50 a.m.: Lap 32 and Hamilton says he’s unsure the tires will last the race, and then continues to set fastest lap after fastest lap. Gutsy. (Or maybe just bait.)
8:48 a.m.: George Russell’s Williams career also comes to a premature end, as he reports a brake issue and now is out of the race. 17 drivers remain.
8:47 a.m.: Verstappen and Red Bull thinking about a second pit stop as the gap widens to 4.2 seconds. Gutsy call, but Red Bull has to gamble if they want any shot of winning this.
8:43 a.m.: Kimi Raikkonen’s career comes to a premature end: A brake issue has forced the Finn into a DNF. Unfortunate.
8:34 a.m.: Perez just earned his 2021 Red Bull check: He held up Hamilton and cost him six seconds on a lap, allowing Verstappen to get right back into this race. Hamilton still has the clear pace, at just about two seconds ahead of Verstappen.
Epic stuff at the front as race leader Sergio Perez battles hard to keep Lewis Hamilton frustrated
Hamilton eventually gets past to take P1, but his lead over Verstappen is cut to two seconds
— Formula 1 (@F1) December 12, 2021
8:30 a.m.: Verstappen back into third and Hamilton still in second behind Perez. Verstappen has a 12-second gap to Hamilton.
8:26 a.m.: Verstappen’s only hope here is that Perez can try and slow Hamilton down so Verstappen can gain. Race might be over early.
8:23 a.m.: Verstappen pits: He exits with hard tires with 34 laps to go. Perez now in second, and Verstappen exits the pit and takes fourth. Hamilton will be pitting on the next lap.
8:21 a.m.: Verstappen sounds like he may be coming in for tires soon, as the circuit is in Lap 13.
8:18 a.m.: Looks like Verstappen’s tires are totally shot now. He’s now four seconds behind Hamilton for the lead and stretching.
8:15 a.m.: Hamilton setting fastest laps at the top. Still some debate to the Lap 1 incident between Verstappen and Hamilton: Verstappen stayed on track, while Hamilton ran wide. Hard to tell who was right or wrong, but no investigation necessary. Very 50/50 there.
8:10 a.m.: Absolutely no advantage for Red Bull on the soft tires early on, with Hamilton setting fastest last and easily opening up a lead over Verstappen in second.
8:06 a.m.: Bottas already down to eighth place after starting sixth, with Verstappen and Perez Nos. 2 and 3. Verstappen falling behind, with Hamilton building a 1 1/2 second lead early.
8:04 a.m.: Verstappen and Hamilton touch, Hamilton heads off but Verstappen has to give it back. Drama early.
8:03 a.m.: It’s lights out and away we go. Hamilton gets off wonderfully and he takes the start pretty easily off Verstappen, and he leads.
8:00 a.m.: Formation lap underway. Lights out soon.
7:55 a.m.: Good morning, F1 fans. For the last time in 2021, we’re nearing lights out. Nikita Mazepin will not race in the Abu Dhabi GP after reporting COVID-19 symptoms, and Haas will field just one car for the race.
What time does the F1 race start today?
The 8 a.m. ET start time for Sunday’s race means the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will start at 5 p.m. local time. Lights out will likely take place just after 8 am. ET. ESPN’s prerace show usually airs in the hour before the start of the race.
How to watch the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
- TV channel: ESPN2
- Live stream: fuboTV, ESPN+
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast all 2021 F1 races in the United States using Sky Sports’ feed, with select races airing on ABC later earlier the season.
ESPN Deportes serves as the exclusive Spanish-language home for all 2021 F1 races in the U.S.
Lewis Hamilton vs. Max Verstappen points
Not only are the two tied in points entering the final race of the 2021 season, but the numbers that have led them to this point are eerily similar as well.
In the rare event that both racers DNF this Sunday, then the championship will go to Verstappen, as he owns one more race win over Hamilton in 2021.
Here’s how their head-to-head-numbers break down:
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix qualifying results
Here is the complete F1 starting lineup for the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix:
|1.||Max Verstappen (Red Bull)|
|2.||Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)|
|3.||Lando Norris (McLaren)|
|4.||Sergio Perez (Red Bull)|
|5.||Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)|
|6.||Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)|
|7.||Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)|
|8.||Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)|
|9.||Esteban Ocon (Alpine)|
|10.||Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)|
|11.||Fernando Alonso (Alpine)|
|12.||Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)|
|13.||Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)|
|14.||Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo)|
|15.||Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)|
|16.||Nicholas Latifi (Williams)|
|17.||George Russell (Williams)|
|18.||Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)|
|19.||Mick Schumacher (Haas)|
|20.||Nikita Mazepin (Haas)|