Max Verstappen Takes Victory In Saudi Arabian Grand Prix For Red Bull

By Robert Haile

The second round of the Formula One season in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia has delivered plenty of action and potential controversy.

World Champion Max Verstappen got his title defence up and running with victory in Saudi Arabia.

Verstappen said: “It was a tough and crazy race today. I had a lot of fun battling with Charles again, I really enjoyed it and it’s not easy to get past him, patience is always key, especially if you want to fight for the Championship.

“In the beginning it was pretty difficult to follow but I think once we swapped to the hard tyre we were able to push more and the pace was better.

“We played the long game on the tyres which seemed to pay off. Towards the end of the race it felt like we were doing lots of quali laps, which was intense but really cool. Ultimately, we were able to win and we can be very proud of that as a Team.

“It wasn’t easy out there, but I think we maximised all that we could today. It was really unlucky for Checo with the timing of the safety car but we have plenty of races ahead of us where we can make up for it.”

After the last race drama for Red Bull Sergio Perez starting on pole position and Verstappen in fourth made for a promising race.

Getting away at the start Perez kept the Ferrari’s of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz behind him.

Pitting on lap 14 Perez and Red Bull were looking to cut off a Ferrari undercut but with Williams’ Nicholas Latifi crashed bringing out a virtual then real Safety Car.

When getting ready for the restart on lap 21 Perez was set to start in third but was found to have passed Sainz under a caution period pushing him back to fourth.

With another two virtual safety cars as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and Alpine’s Fernando Alonso cars ground to a halt Verstappen was within a second of race leader Leclerc setting up another battle between the pair.

Trading places like in Bahrain Verstappen eventually got his place on lap 47 but in the closing stages Leclerc put in the fastest lap to apply pressure to the Red Bull.

A yellow flag was brought out when Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ Alex Albon came together easing the pressure on Verstappen as he brought it home for his first win of the season by 0.549 seconds.

Ferrari held on to second and third with Leclerc and Sainz as Perez finished fourth.

George Russell moved up to fifth for Mercedes, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took sixth with Lando Norris getting McLaren’s first points in seventh.

AlphaTauri’s only driver for the race after Yuki Tsunoda had issues on the formation lap Pierre Gasly finished eighth.

Another points finish for Haas’ Kevin Magnussen in ninth ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in tenth.

Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu finished eleventh, Aston Martin’s Nico Hulkenberg finished in twelfth with teammate Lance Stroll behind him as Alex Albon’s Williams finished last in fourteenth.

Formula One heads to Australia with the Melbourne Grand Prix on April 8-10.

Drivers Championship

  1. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 45
  2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 33
  3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 25
  4. George Russell (Mercedes) – 22
  5. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 16
  6. Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 14
  7. Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 12
  8. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 12
  9. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) – 8
  10. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 6
  11. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 4
  12. Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 4
  13. Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 2
  14. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo) – 1
  15. Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
  16. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 0
  17. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin) – 0
  18. Alex Albon (Williams) – 0
  19. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 0
  20. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 0

Constructors Championship

  1. Ferrari – 78
  2. Mercedes – 38
  3. Red Bull – 37
  4. Alpine – 16
  5. Haas – 12
  6. Alfa Romeo – 9
  7. AlphaTauri – 8
  8. McLaren – 6
  9. Aston Martin – 0
  10. Williams – 0