Formula 1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia: Ferstappen snatched victory from Leclerc before the finish, Hamilton – 10th

The first in the career of pole position Sergio Perez, “Ferrari” and “Red Bull” in full force on the first two lines of the starting field, Lewis Hamilton is only 16th – all promised us the most interesting Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah…

Two losses before the start

Formula 1 began to lose riders before the start of the race. The day before, Haas announced that it would not release Mick Schumacher after his brutal accident in qualifying. The German himself was not injured, but it was difficult, if at all possible, to restore his car. The Haas decided not to risk doing something wrong in a hurry and provoking another accident, so they saved Mick and his car to Melbourne.

The second loss occurred during the installation circles: something happened to the power plant on Yuki Tsunoda’s car. The Japanese did not really manage to take part in the qualification the day before, and on Sunday he did not even get to the start – it’s a shame. Another early meeting could have taken place: Ferrari discovered a problem with electricity in the fuel system of Carlos Science’s car, but they managed to fix everything.

In general, Science got to the start, but he lost one position on it. The Spaniard started well, but rested on Leclerc’s car and allowed Ferstappen to go around the outer radius – this was the only change inside the top eight. And then a couple of positions lost to Gasley, who first lost in a stubborn struggle to Magnussen, and then failed to keep Norris.

Very hard Windows

The initial stage of the race did not give an interesting fight in the group of leaders. Intense – yes, but no more. Leclerc was a few seconds away from Perez, with similar gaps between them and Ferstappen, as well as Max and Science. Obviously, everyone was waiting for pit stops and who would start to run out of tires first.

But then it was more interesting. Unlike Bahrain, Fernando Alonso this time looked faster than Esteban Ocon and therefore went on the attack on a partner in the dispute for sixth place. It would seem that why should the Frenchman desperately resist? However, Esteban almost arranged an accident for Alpin similar to the one that Ferstappen and Riccardo had in Baku in 2018. Alonso, however, managed to slow down in time. On the third attempt, Fernando still passed Esteban. Then Okon tried to counterattack, but in the end only cut the track, a little behind – and immediately missed Bottas, who took advantage of the situation and caught up with both riders “Alpin”.

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Latifi harms Perez

Then came the first wave of pit stops. Leclerc and Ferrari decided on the radio that they would go to the pits if Perez did not. As a result, Red Bull decided not to give Scuderia a cut and invited the leader to a pit stop. It turned out that it was a mistake: Sergio had to return to the track, as his car was smashed by the evil genius of the favorites Nicholas Latifi. Virtual safety car, then real – and the other leaders were able to replace the tires, spending less time than the ex-leader.

As a result, Perez missed both Leclerc and Ferstappen, and left Science behind dirty: squeezing the Ferrari off the safe-car trajectory. After some deliberation, Red Bull decided not to risk a fine and asked Checo to let Carlos pass after the restart. That’s how the winner of the pole position and the leader of the starting segment suddenly turned out to be only fourth.

Russell retained fifth place, followed by Magnussen and Hamilton, who did not change their “hard”, but closed the top ten Alonso, Hulkenberg (also without a pit stop) and Bottas. At the same time, Nico’s happiness did not last: on worn tires and a weak car, he rolled back quite quickly after the restart to 14th place. Miracles do not happen.

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Ferstappen vs Leclerc: brilliant chess and Max’s victory!

In the group of leaders about the main change after the restart, we said: Perez voluntarily missed Leclerc. As for the Leclerc-Ferstappen pair, Charles managed to create a gap of more than a second and not let Max into the DRS zone – the gap was about a second and a half. Everything went pretty boring until there was a triple meeting! And if Bottas just went down in the pits, Alonso and Riccardo stopped at the entrance to the pit lane due to car problems. This led to the emergence of a virtual safety car, after which it seems that Max warmed up the tires faster and thanks to this finally managed to get on the tail of the “Ferrari”.

At first, Ferstappen chose the wrong tactics, attacking Leclerc before the final turn. Charles immediately took advantage of the DSR and regained the lead. Then both pilots began to play chess, trying to pass each other forward before the cut-off. And yet Max managed to get the desired activation of the wing on the starting line and ahead of the “Ferrari” – there is overtaking!

The Red Bull driver was unable to leave the opponent, but the higher maximum helped the reigning champion in the remaining laps, even if Lecler continued to press. There is the first victory of the season for Max! Charles conceded defeat and became the second, Science closed the top 3, not allowing the unfortunate Perez.

Russell finished alone in fifth place, but Hamilton, who failed to make a pit stop during a virtual safety car, eventually barely made it to 10th place, not immediately passing Stroll. Okon and Norris had an interesting fight for sixth place: Esteban was ahead of the McLaren driver at the beginning of the final round, the Briton counterattacked at the finish line, but lost the race to the flag. Gasley and Magnussen are in eighth and ninth places.

Well, Stroll and Albon finished the race a little earlier: the Williams pilot attacked the Canadian in the first turn, but Lance decided not to leave the place – an accident, damage to both cars and a mutual meeting with the proceedings after the finish.

Ugh, let’s take a breath. The third Grand Prix – in two weeks in Melbourne!

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