On Sunday afternoon, Max Verstappen won the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The Red Bull Racing driver won the race after a blood-curdling final in which the world champion fought a fierce battle with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Carlos Sainz ended the race in third place for Sergio Perez who failed to cash in on his pole position in Saudi Arabia
The race started with only 18 drivers. Mick Schumacher missed the race despite being uninjured after his crash. The Haas team decided this so as not to jeopardize the Australian Grand Prix due to a lack of parts. Alpha Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda also did not start due to motor problems with his car en route to the grid.
Red Bull driver Sergio Perez started the race on pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Carlos Sainz started on the second row ahead of Max Verstappen en route to the first corner combination.
Perez got off to a good start and kept the lead, Leclerc followed the Mexican while Sainz lost his position to Max Verstappen. The first lap went without a hitch for Kevin Magnussen who shoots through to P9. George Russell’s first attack in the Mercedes on Esteban Ocon’s Alpine succeeded and P5 alternated.
The Frenchman came into battle with teammate Fernando Alonso one lap later. The two ruffs did not allow each other an inch, so that Ocon took the longest in the battle for P6. a little further out in the field, Lewis Hamilton in P14 could think of attacking Daniel Ricciardo in the McLaren. Back to the top ten, the battle between the two Alpine drivers seemed to be in full swing. This provided opportunities for the drivers behind it. Valtteri Bottas thought of taking advantage of the battle but had yet to make a mark on P8, Haas driver Kevin Magnussen was sharply behind the Finn in DRS distance. The race was now 10 laps old with Perez still in the lead ahead of Leclerc with Verstappen behind. The difference between the Red Bull teammates was 4.3 seconds.
On lap 14, Bottas made an attack on Ocon’s car and he succeeded. As a result, the Finn came in P7 behind Alonso. Hamilton also did good business by overtaking Pierre Gasly, which left the Briton in the points on P10.
As lap 16 went into it, it looked like Ferrari Leclerc would make a pit stop. Red Bull acted on that and immediately let the leader of the game, Perez, in. Leclerc, however, did not change tires and the Mexican lost the lead to the Monegask. Verstappen closed in on P2 The Virtual Safety Car was deployed after a yellow flag caused by Nicholas Latifi. The Canadian hit the wall and came to a stop unharmed. The incident allowed the rest of the field to make a pit stop and everyone switched to the hard tyre. Perez was able to take P3 back on Sainz but this was not according to the rules and had to give the position back to the Spaniard. Finally, on lap 18, the safety car was deployed.
The race resumed with Charles Leclerc setting the pace for Verstappen on lap 20. The Monegask got away well with the Dutchman on his tail. Sainz took over P3 from Perez who positioned himself in P6 between the two Mercedes cars while Kevin Magnussen. The Dane, meanwhile, got into a fight with Hamilton and the two drivers briefly exchanged pennies. In the end, the Briton managed to pass the Dane for P6 on lap 26. At that time, Verstappen set the fastest lap in 1:33.445.
On lap 28 a message came in to Ferrari from Sainz that he would have a slight problem with his gears shifting. The pace at the front of the race went up 1:32.711 was now the fastest time set by Leclerc.
AT P8 Fernando Alonso came under pressure from Valtteri Bottas. The Alfa Romeo driver was on the Spaniard’s tail on lap 32 and was ready for an attack in turn, Alonso crawled closer to Magnussen. one lap later, it looked like Bottas had to let Alonso go. On lap 35 Magnussen was unable to hold onto his position and Alonso had to pass, leaving the Alpine driver behind Hamilton in P7. The fun didn’t last long at Alpine as Alonso had to pit with technical problems on lap 36. Daniel Ricciardo also dropped back to P17 with a McLaren that eventually came to a stop on the track. This resulted in a yellow flag situation. Bottas also entered the pits with problems. The pit lane was closed by the Alpine and McLaren standing still in difficult places. The yellow flag now became a virtual safety car.
With 9 laps to go, the race resumed and Hamilton pitted from P6 for new medium tyres. His teammate, George Russell, climbed to P5 as a result. At the front of the field, Verstappen had crept up on Leclerc’s tail and was trying to launch an attack on the Monegask. This initially worked, but the Monegask was able to hit back, leaving the score unchanged in Leclerc’s favor.
The final phase of the race started and Verstappen kept pressing Leclerc, the distance was now 1.2 seconds. with 5 laps to go. The pair were now 8 seconds ahead of Sainz. Perez did what he could to close the gap to the Spaniard.
The battle for the win was not yet over and in lap 46 the Dutchman who now pulled a gap of 0.800 seconds on P1 succeeded. The last two laps came and Leclerc was still within a second of the world champion. The Monegask set the fastest lap in 1:31.634, meanwhile Alex Albon retired due to a touché with Lance Stroll. The yellow flag was waved in the sector of the incident. The last lap was running and Leclerc was now 0.549 seconds behind the Dutchman. Verstappen held on and won the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia in a blood-curdling final.
Despite the win for the Dutchman, Leclerc took an extra point with the fastest laps. Carlos Sainz finished the race in P3 behind his teammate but was ahead of Sergio Perez.
Results FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2022