Motor racing-Hamilton summoned to stewards ahead of qualifying for Saudi GP

Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - December 4, 2021 General view as the cars exit the pit lane during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Giuseppe Cacace

(Reuters) - Seven-times Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton was summoned to the stewards and could be hit with a grid penalty ahead of qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for two alleged offences during Saturday's final practice session.

The first summons relates to an alleged failure to respect double yellow flags which require drivers to slow down and be prepared to stop.

The second was for "unnecessarily" impeding Haas driver Nikita Mazepin, who had to take avoiding action at high speed when he encountered the Mercedes on a slow lap at Turn 8.

Race director Michael Masi, speaking to the Haas team during the session, noted the lack of white flags warning Hamilton of the speedily-approaching Russian.

Mercedes alerted the Briton over the team radio but too late for him to move out of the way.

Any grid penalty could prove costly for the Hamilton, who is eight points behind Red Bull rival Max Verstappen in the overall standings and is eyeing a hat-trick of wins to force a last-race showdown at next week's Abu Dhabi finale.

On Friday, he warned that the speed difference between slower cars and those on a flying lap around the blind, high-speed sweeps of the Jeddah track were approaching a "danger zone".

Verstappen, who went fastest in the final practice session, has his first shot at clinching a maiden Formula One title on Sunday. But the Dutchman must finish in the top two, while a top-five finish will be enough for Hamilton to keep alive the title battle going into the final race.

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Clare Fallon)

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