Max Verstappen overtakes Charles Leclerc with four laps remaining to get revenge in Jeddah; Verstappen and Leclerc benefited from unfortunately-timed Safety Car for Sergio Perez, who had led early; Lewis Hamilton 10th for Mercedes after fightback before setback
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 27/03/22 7:57pm
Max Verstappen outduelled Charles Leclerc to win the Saudi Arabian GP and get revenge on his rival following another spectacular battle between the Red Bull and Ferrari drivers to start Formula 1 2022.
After Sergio Perez lost his lead following an unfortunately-timed Safety Car, the sport’s young stars went wheel to wheel in an epic finale to the race – a week after their Bahrain exploits – though this time Verstappen came out on top.
The world champion overtook Leclerc into Turn 1 with just four laps remaining to claim a vital first win of the season after his late DNF in the opener.
Verstappen’s eventual pass followed several laps of feisty yet fine racing.
“Well done to Max, that was nice,” said Leclerc in a clear message of respect for a driver he could well battle over the season. “It’s hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this.”
Carlos Sainz completed the podium in the other Ferrari, ahead of Red Bull’s Perez and Mercedes’ George Russell, whose team-mate Lewis Hamilton only managed a single point in 10th after a mixed evening.
There could be yet more drama this evening, however, with stewards stating they are investigating the final two laps with many drivers presumably not slowing down sufficiently under double waved yellows after Alex Albon’s crash.
Perez was leading comfortably from pole before pitting on Lap 14, which was immediately followed by a Nicholas Latifi crash and early safety car, allowing Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz to pit and overhaul him.
Hamilton was also unlucky in his pursuit of a strong finish.
The seven-time world champion had progressed from 16th to sixth, but after three retirements in a matter of moments – for Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas – Hamilton wanted to pit under the Virtual Safety Car before the pit-lane closed as he attempted to.
That dropped him back to 12th, though he progressed back into the points late on.
Lando Norris scored McLaren’s first points of the season, and Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauris, making up for Yuki Tsunoda’s reliability failure on his way to the grid.
Kevin Magnussen also impressively scored points for Haas again.
Saudi Arabian GP Race Result: Top 10
1) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
2) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) Sergio Perez, Red Bull
5) George Russell, Mercedes
6) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
7) Lando Norris, McLaren
8) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
9) Kevin Magnussen, Haas
10) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
More to follow.
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