Verstappen won by 0,5 seconds

Verstappen won by 0,5 seconds

started fourth and lost on the track, but defending champion Max Verstappen still surpassed Charles Leclerc in the last minutes to win the Saudi Grand Prix on March 27.

Verstappen won by 0,5 seconds

The drastic turn of events at the end created an interesting ending for a race full of uncertainties and at times thought to be canceled because of missile attacks in the area near Jeddah racecourse. Verstappen’s car only surpassed Leclerc’s F1-75 with 4 laps left after a series of fierce matches. Completing 50 night laps on Jeddah Street with a time of 1 hour 24 minutes 19,293 seconds, Verstappen only finished 0.549 seconds ahead of his opponent.

Although only starting fourth from the first seconds, the defending champion surpassed Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, after the first few corners. Above Verstappen’s teammate – Sergio Perez still successfully defended the starting position despite the closeness of Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc. However, the Mexican driver soon faced a disadvantage due to early pitting.

In round 15, when the Ferrari directors asked Leclerc to return to the pit, Perez ran right in front of the Monaco driver for less than 2 seconds, also deciding to bring the car to the technical area to avoid the risk of being jumped by the opponent. Meanwhile, in the last seconds, Leclerc decided to continue using the starting tire and did not return to the pit even though the technicians prepared in the pit, leisurely holding the first place, and Perez dropped to fourth, after Carlos Sainz. Leclerc’s selection soon reaped its sweet fruit.

In the next lap, the accident of Nicholas Latifi (Williams) caused the yellow flag to be raised, and the safety car was also deployed to reduce the speed of the race. This is a “golden” opportunity for Leclerc and Verstappen and the rest of the drivers to return to the pit. Returning to the track after a tire change, Leclerc and Verstappen retained their two leading positions, while Perez rose to third by overtaking Sainz at the pitlane exit, but was soon overtaken by the Spaniard in the races. next round.

After the race, Ferrari admitted that at first, they tried to reverse Perez’s tactics to overcome the opponent. Knowing that Perez decided to change the tire soon, Ferrari also changed the tactic of changing the tire late to attack the opponent at the end. And the events on the track helped Leclerc have an unexpected advantage.

After passing Perez, despite being trailed by Verstappen in second place, Leclerc – thanks to a gap of nearly 2 seconds during the middle of the race, was still safe in the lead. However, the situation was suddenly unfavorable for Ferrari when the race was only more than 10 laps. A series of problems with the cars in the middle group caused the speed of the race to be restrained.

The yellow flag appeared and the virtual safety car status was announced after Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren)’s car malfunctioned and was left on the track in lap 38. Verstappen seized a golden opportunity to keep up with Leclerc. When the race returned to normal, the Dutch driver continuously approached and attacked the opponent.

Understanding the power of the RB18, Leclerc decided to use the strategy he successfully applied at the previous race in Sakhir – Bahrain. The Ferrari driver who let the opponent pass at the end of the road used DRS in the last corner, with the intention of hiding behind the opponent in the long straight, and then used the DRS to pass Verstappen right before Turn 1.

The Ferrari driver’s tactic was successful in the first encounter – at the end of lap 42 and beginning of lap 43, when Leclerc set the fastest lap to regain the top position after being overtaken by his opponent for a few seconds. Towards the end of the lap, both braked to give each other the lead to dominate the next straight stretch. In Verstappen’s next attack at lap 46, the Dutch driver was successful and did not give the opponent a chance to counterattack. The Red Bull driver kept the top until he reached the finish line and got the first victory in the 2022 season.

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