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Max Verstappen Beats Ferrari to Victory at the Saudi Arabia GP

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Max Verstappen claims his first victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in an intense battle with Charles Leclerc.

In the final stages of the race, Leclerc and Verstappen had a very close battle for first place.

Verstappen attacked first in lap 43 overtaking him in a DRS zone, but Leclerc had him again at turn one.

The lap after, Verstappen attacked the Ferrari again, but a massive lock-up from the Red Bull saw Leclerc seize the opportunity to go into lap 45 in the first place.

Leclerc had a slight lock-up too but it was not as bad as the Red Bull which after that lost much time and built a gap of over a second to Leclerc.

Verstappen caught up with his rival eventually to snatch first place again in lap 47 in the first DRS zone.

The battle went on until the last corner but the Dutch came out as victor to redeem himself after the retirement in Bahrain.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull wins Saudi Arabia Grand Prix

Image Credit: Mark Thompson – Getty Images

Perez vs Leclerc

The battle continues between Red Bull and Ferrari as Charles Leclerc was chasing Sergio Perez for the first 15 laps.

As Ferrari went to Plan A and on lap 15 Leclerc’s engineer told him to pit.

This forced Red Bull to react and leader Perez went in to change for the hard compound tyre.

Surprisingly, Leclerc stayed out and luck was in their favour as Nicholas Latifi caused a safety car intervention as he crashed.

Struggling with oversteer, Latifi saw himself out and allowed Leclerc to pit to also change to hard tyres while also keeping first place.

Sergio Perez moved down to third place following his teammate Max Verstappen in second.

At the end of the safety car, Verstappen was putting much pressure on the Monagesque but Leclerc defended well to keep his first place.

Sainz gained third place after he was given the place back by Perez who pressed him against the wall when the Spaniard came out of the pit stop during the safety car period.

Heating Problems

Fernando Alonso was the first car to start slowing down at lap 38.

From seventh, he went down to seventeenth as he could not accelerate and tried to force his car to the pitlane.

Later on, even Daniel Ricciardo in the McLaren had trouble accelerating and his car gave up on him.

His car stopped down by the pit lane entry and that is when the virtual safety car was deployed.

During this intervention, Bottas pitted and was forced to retire his car too, but no reason was mentioned for this.

It is something that needs to be given thought considering that the new regulations about sidepods and the floor were made to improve the cooling system in the car.

The Alpine Battle

In the first few opening laps, Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso went head to head in the battle for sixth place.

The DRS zone at turn one offered both drivers with opportunities to overtake each other.

Despite losing time for the team, they were let racing as long as they kept Valtteri Bottas in the Alfa Romeo behind them.

The Spaniard looked to be faster in the Alpine and overtook Ocon in lap seven.

Ocon overtook his teammate in the following lap but was forced to give the place back as he went off the track in the first turn.

He took his time with giving the position back, as Bottas was on both the Alpines’ tails.

Eventually, in lap 14, Bottas found DRS on Ocon and overtook the French to take seventh place.

Final Results

  1. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
  2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – FASTEST LAP
  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)
  11. Zhou Guanyu (Alfa Romeo)
  12. Nico Hulkenberg (Aston Martin)
  13. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
  14. Alex Albon (Williams)
  15. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)
  16. Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
  17. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)
  18. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – DNF
  19. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – DNF
  20. Mick Schumacher (Haas) – DNS

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