Lewis Hamilton ensured the world championship will go down to the wire in Abu Dhabi by beating title rival Max Verstappen to victory in a dramatic first-ever race in Saudi Arabia, but only after the two protagonists came to blows several times. 

On two occasions Verstappen ran Hamilton wide while battling wheel-to-wheel at Turn 1, with one of the incidents leading to a five-second time penalty for the Red Bull driver for gaining an advantage off the track. 

Verstappen was ordered to let Hamilton into the lead at one stage but the Mercedes driver ran into the back of his main rival, an incident he put down to miscommunication. Both drivers are under investagation over the matter. 

The clashes between Verstappen and Hamilton were only part of the story of a wild race in Jeddah that was packed full of drama. 

“I’ve said it for too long we’re over-regulated,” Horner said after the race. “It feels like there are too many rules to a certain degree. 

“It felt like today that the sport missed Charlie Whiting. I am sorry to say, but the experience he had. 

“It’s obviously frustrating but it’s difficult for Michael [Masi] and the stewards, particularly at this type of venue and this type of circuit with the amount of debris and the types of corners there are. 

“But it’s the same for everybody.” 

Horner was left frustrated that “every decision pretty much went against us” and was especially baffled by an unprecedented and unusual offer from the FIA to Red Bull at the second restart. 

FIA race director Michael Masi said Red Bull could give up pole position and drop back behind Esteban Ocon and Hamilton after Verstappen overtook the Briton off-track at Turn 1 during the previous standing start. 

It appeared that outcome replaced another penalty that would have otherwise been given to Verstappen had Red Bull rejected the offer. 

“I’ve not come across that previously,” Horner said. “Obviously, we voiced our own argument, I am sure Mercedes voiced theirs. It was just very frustrating. 

“We didn’t feel that the penalty, the five-second penalty was really warranted and certainly felt Lewis just drove up the back of Max’s car. 

“Obviously, there will be a hearing shortly but it looked like he was just trying to avoid overtaking because he didn’t want to not get the DRS.”