Verstappen overtakes Leclerc with three laps to go to win in Saudi Arabia

With these results, Leclerc retains the lead in the championship, with 45 points.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) returned to winning ways after winning the 2021 Formula 1 World Cup, winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix today in Jeddah.

The Dutch driver, starting from fourth place on the grid, completed the 50 laps scheduled for this street circuit in 1:24.19.293 hours, beating Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), by 0.549 seconds, and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), by 8,097.

Briton Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), seven-time world champion, is only 10th, starting from 15th place.

The race had two fewer cars at the start, since the German Mick Schumacher (Haas) was ruled out due to a violent accident suffered the day before, during the qualifying session, while the Japanese Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri) saw his single-seater “shut up” on the way to the grill and didn’t leave either.

Thus, there were only 18 cars lined up on the straight when the traffic lights went out.

Mexican Sergio Pérez (Red Bull), coming off pole position, held the lead of the game, while his teammate snatched a position from Carlos Sainz, putting pressure on Leclerc for second place.

Pérez lost the lead after a pit stop to change tires on lap 15, following radio communication from Ferrari that indicated Leclerc would be pitted.

In fact, the Monegasque stayed on track and, with that, he inherited the command of the race while Pérez would end up falling to fourth position, because in the meantime the Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams) hit the wall and forced the virtual security. car , first, and the “safety car” entry, then.

Ferrari takes advantage of this moment to change tires and Leclerc seems to have an open way to victory.

But the reality is that Max Verstappen never gave up. When the race resumed, the Dutchman was still trying to squeeze the Ferrari driver, but he had to burn the brakes and Leclerc held the lead.

As the hard tires warmed up, Red Bull’s performance improved and the final five laps were a big battle for victory.

Verstappen managed to pass Leclerc on lap 47, three from the flag, gaining half a second.

“They were faster in the corners, we were faster on the straights. It was not easy to overtake, but there I managed to take the lead. Despite everything, he still pressed” , commented Verstappen.

The Dutchman explained that with the new cars, “it is more difficult to predict overtaking”, because “by being half a second behind the car in front, you can have a good exit”.

Leclerc, on the other hand, showed sportsmanship, congratulating his rival on the win.

“I loved the race. They should all be like that. A tough but fair fight. We were fast on the corners, but slower on the straights,” he said.

Note also for the fifth place of the Briton George Russell (Mercedes), behind Sergio Pérez.

Of the 18 cars on the track, five retired (Alexander Albon, in Williams, Valtteri Bottas, in Alfa Romeo, Fernando Alonso, in Alpine, Daniel Ricciardo, in McLaren, and Nicholas Latifi, in Williams).

With these results, Leclerc maintains the command of the championship, with 45 points (he added an extra point for having set the fastest lap), against the 33 of Carlos Sainz and the 25 of Max Verstappen, who had retired in the previous race. .

The next round is the Australian GP on April 10.

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