World champion Max Verstappen has won his first race of the season after overtaking Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc towards the of the race at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. Last week at Bahrain, Verstappen and Leclerc also had a rivalry until the Dutch had to retire from the race after encountering a steering problem. Carlos Sainz finished third to complete the podium, making it the second weekend in a row where both Ferrari drivers would make podium.
The race started with Sergio Perez as P1 but he lost it after a Safety Car around Lap 14, giving the chance for Leclerc and Verstappen to continue from where they stopped last week. Verstappen was able to take the lead with just four laps to go and maintained it till the finish line. Perez later finished fourth ahead of Mercedes’ George Russel. Seven-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton gained a single point at 10th place, a position he described as “gutting”.
Speaking after the race, Leclerc gave props to Verstappen for a wonderful race: “Well done to Max, that was nice. It’s hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this.” Max commented that Red Bull had “finally kick-started the season”. The face in Saudi Arabia was different from Bahrain where both Red Bull drivers did not finish.
Hamilton said that Mercedes has a lot of work to do, and they are not even fighting for the top spot yet, saying “It feels like [we’re] a long way away.” He had said something similar at the end of the pre-season testing, saying that they had a lot of work to do if they wanted to win this season.
In the current Driver Standings, Leclerc and Sainz hold the first and second spot respectively, while Verstappen sits at third place. Mercedes’ Russel and Hamilton come fourth and fifth. In the Team Standings, Ferrari leads with Mercedes coming second, just a point above Red Bull.
Written by: Leon Osamor