2021 Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen emerged victorious in the Saudi Grand Prix after a typically fearless and masterful display in the Middle Eastern Kingdom in the second race of the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Verstappen’s Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez claimed his first-ever Pole position at 32 years of age, with Verstappen finishing the qualifying race for the Saudi Grand Prix in fourth place. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who won the Bahrain Grand Prix last week, started the race behind Perez, and 7-time champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish the qualifying race in 16th place.
Mick Schumacher was unable to start the race after his car crashed in qualifying and Alfa Tauri driver Yuki Tsunoda did not participate as he lost his engine just before the start of the race.
Perez started the race in control and remained in the lead until he had to pit in the 16th lap, allowing Leclerc and Verstappen to overtake him in first and second position, respectively. By the 37th lap, Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo had all dropped out of the race.
Verstappen took the lead in the 2022 Saudi Grand Prix for the first time in the 43rd lap but lost it almost immediately to Leclerc, who was not going down without without fight. The champion remained patient and continued to bide his time before breezing past Leclerc in the 47th lap with only three laps to go. Verstappen held on to the lead for the final three laps to win the race in Jeddah.
Verstappen finished in first place with Leclerc and Carlos Sainz completing the podium places. Perez finished fourth followed by George Russell, Esteban Ocon, Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen and Lewis Hamilton completing the top 10.
After the Saudi Grand Prix, Leclerc leads the Drivers Championship table with 45 points, with Sainz coming in second place with 33 points and Verstappen in third with 25 points. The drivers and their teams will now turn their attention to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne from April 8th-10th as the Formula 1 season heats up.