After a thrilling battle for the lead with Charles Leclerc at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Max Verstappen won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix by overtaking Formula 1 championship leader Charles Leclerc late in the race.
In a thrilling battle for the lead, the incumbent world champion made the race-winning move four laps from the finish, with both Verstappen and Leclerc playing cat and mouse to gain the critical DRS advantage.
Verstappen passed Leclerc into the penultimate curve at the conclusion of Lap 42, but the Ferrari driver’s quick driving allowed him to repass the Dutchman down the main straight with the help of DRS.
With Sergio Pérez on pole, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz Jr, and Max Verstappen, Oracle Red Bull Racing and Scuderia Ferrari were set up for a front-row battle from the start. Pérez was able to pull away early and take charge of the race, while Verstappen was able to past Sainz within the first few corners of the first lap. Surprisingly, the start was very smooth; the grid didn’t witness any moving.
BWT Alpine F1 Team drivers Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso were fighting for sixth place just behind the leading teams. Otmar Szafnauer, the Alpine Team Principal, was not in a hurry to stop them from racing each other, which resulted in some of the race’s most thrilling wheel-to-wheel action. The midfield pack, which included Valtteri Bottas and Kevin Magnussen, provided excitement in the early stages of the race.
Lewis Hamilton, who began the race in fifteenth place, had climbed to eleventh place by the twelfth lap. Hamilton, one of just a few drivers to start on Pirelli’s hard compound, attempted to claw his way back into contention with an unorthodox strategy that saw him pit only once, late in the race.
Guanyu Zhou was given a five-second time penalty for cutting a corner during an early fight with Alex Albon, and then a second penalty for not properly serving the first penalty.
The leading drivers were planning to make their first pit stops for new tyres by lap sixteen. Red Bull replied by bringing in Pérez when Ferrari summoned Leclerc to the pits. Leclerc, on the other hand, did not pit on that specific lap, maybe to force Red Bull to pit Pérez early.
Later on, Nicholas Latifi wrecked at Turn 27, prompting the safety car to be called out, putting the Mexican at a disadvantage. With the majority of the field taking advantage of the safety car and jumping into the pits, Leclerc followed suit and took the lead from Pérez, who had fallen back due to his misfortune.
During the safety car interval, Pérez had a safety car infraction when he overtook the Ferrari in a close contact on Sainz’s pit exit. At the safety car line, Sainz was just ahead. Pérez regained the lead following the restart, settling in fourth and avoiding additional stewards action.
As this track witnessed multiple overtakes and subsequent recapture of position during the high-speed portions, the middle of the race saw several additional clashes for the points positions.
Hamilton and Magnussen, two drivers who hadn’t pitted during the safety car, had one such struggle, with Hamilton coming out on top and Magnussen moving up to sixth.
As a result, the virtual safety car was deployed to nudge Ricciardo’s and Alonso’s vehicles ahead into a safe position. Magnussen miraculously pitted before the pit lane closed.
Hamilton, on the other hand, was unable to perform his pit stop at the appropriate time. He came to a complete halt on lap 41, soon after the green flag was waved.
All eyes were on the struggle at the front when the race resumed. Verstappen was pursuing behind Leclerc and soon after the VSC was lifted, he gained DRS range and made a pass for the lead on lap 42. However, this was short-lived, as Leclerc reclaimed the lead on lap 43.
In an attempt to get the DRS for the pit-straight, both drivers almost came to a halt. Verstappen continued to pass the field, taking the lead for the second time on lap 47. The war continued despite this move’s success.
On lap 49, a yellow flag was displayed due to a collision between Lance Stroll and Albon. However, the duel for the lead continued, with Leclerc pursuing Verstappen all the way to the finish. Verstappen eventually took the lead by a fraction of a second.
The last podium spot went to Sainz, who was followed by Pérez. George Russell, who ran a solid race, finished in fifth place. After a thrilling race to the line with Lando Norris, Ocon finished sixth, less than a tenth behind the Alpine in seventh.
The top ten was completed by Pierre Gasly, Magnussen, and Hamilton. Zhou, Nico Hülkenberg, and Lance Stroll came in eleventh, thirteenth, and fourteenth, respectively.
Only thirteen drivers finished the race, with Albon falling short due to collision with Stroll, Latifi’s crash, and a slew of reliability issues. Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda were both unable to compete due to the fallout from Schumacher’s shocking Qualifying crash and Tsunoda’s engine problem on the way to the grid.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix featured thrilling clashes, ongoing reliability concerns for certain teams, and the promise of an intense duel between Red Bull and Ferrari, who are firmly entrenched as the season’s front-runners.
2022 Saudi Arabian GP Race Results
|1||1||Max Verstappen||NED||Oracle Red Bull Racing||1:24:19.293||50||25|
|2||16||Charles Leclerc||MON||Scuderia Ferrari||+0.549s||50||19|
|3||55||Carlos Sainz||ESP||Scuderia Ferrari||+8.097s||50||15|
|4||11||Sergio Pérez||MEX||Oracle Red Bull Racing||+10.800s||50||12|
|5||63||George Russell||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+32.732s||50||10|
|6||31||Esteban Ocon||FRA||BWT Alpine F1 Team||+56.017s||50||8|
|7||4||Lando Norris||GBR||McLaren F1 Team||+56.124s||50||6|
|8||10||Pierre Gasly||FRA||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+62.946s||50||4|
|9||20||Kevin Magnussen||DEN||Haas F1 Team||+64.308s||50||2|
|10||44||Lewis Hamilton||GBR||Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team||+73.948s||50||1|
|11||24||Zhou Guanyu||CHN||Alfa Romeo Racing||+82.215s||50||0|
|12||27||Nico Hülkenberg||GER||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||+91.742s||50||0|
|13||18||Lance Stroll||CAN||Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team||+1 lap||50||0|
|14||23||Alexander Albon||THA||Williams Racing||DNF||49||0|
|NC||77||Valtteri Bottas||FIN||Alfa Romeo Racing||DNF||47||0|
|NC||14||Fernando Alonso||ESP||BWT Alpine F1 Team||DNF||36||0|
|NC||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||McLaren F1 Team||DNF||35||0|
|NC||6||Nicholas Latifi||CAN||Williams Racing||DNF||14||0|
|NC||22||Yuki Tsunoda||JAP||Scuderia AlphaTauri||DNS||0||0|