By: Myanna Wedes
Max Verstappen took home the crown winning the 2022 Saudia Arabia Grand Prix. It was a tense battle between him and Scuderia Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. The Monaco born racer was shattered to lose out in the late stage of the race and feels like he won that event although Verstappen managed to stay patient, relying on strategy and being able to push when it really mattered. The finish line came soon enough for Verstappen forcing Leclerc to take second which was a bitter pill to swallow after driving a stellar race from start to finish. There has been debates around the globe as to whether Verstappen is racing differently with Leclerc when you compare the racing line and strategies taken with Lewis Hamilton and the current World Champion.
What are your thoughts on the racing style between Leclerc and Verstappen?
In terms of the race track itself, the circuit is fast and if you make a mistake it can hurt. After Mick Schumacher’s 33G qualifying crash, the drivers were mindful of the curbs because if you become a passenger as the Haas driver did, you can end up injuring yourself quite easily. It was a lucky escape for Mick although an expensive bill for Haas to rebuild a new car after such a shunt. To remain confident after this incident will be vital for Schumacher in order to stay focused, feel good with the car and know that his team are always reminding themselves that safety comes first.
Overall, it was an adventurous race and whilst we thought there was a clear cut winner from the start of the race with Sergio Perez, this was not to be the case with the pole man finishing in fourth and Scuderia Ferrari bagging a double podium. The red beast is there to stay and the battles only just beginning. Patience is key as Mercedes-AMG struggle to find pace, fixing their issues although we know when they do, the games will only just be starting because a three-way battle with red, blue and silver are sure to keep the fans on the edges of their seats!
Max Verstappen #1:
“It was a tough and crazy race today. I had a lot of fun battling with Charles again, I really enjoyed it and it’s not easy to get past him, patience is always key, especially if you want to fight for the Championship. In the beginning it was pretty difficult to follow but I think once we swapped to the hard tyre we were able to push more and the pace was better. We played the long game on the tyres which seemed to pay off. Towards the end of the race it felt like we were doing lots of quali laps, which was intense but really cool. Ultimately, we were able to win and we can be very proud of that as a Team. It wasn’t easy out there, but I think we maximised all that we could today. It was really unlucky for Checo with the timing of the safety car but we have plenty of races ahead of us where we can make up for it.”
Charles Leclerc #16:
“Although I’m disappointed to lose the victory so late in the race, it feels good to be fighting for wins again. Whenever I had a bit of margin to Max (Verstappen), I could manage the race well. But after the Virtual Safety Car, as soon as he got in the DRS range, it became difficult. He was fast in the straights and I was fast in the corners. You have to play on your strengths as much as possible when it’s this tight. I regained my position twice but the third time it did not work out. I could have possibly had another opportunity if it weren’t for the yellow flag at the end of the race, but that’s part of the game. It was a really fun battle! I hope it stays this close for the coming races. It’s exciting to watch and to drive like this. Development will be key and we have to push hard.”
Carlos Sainz #55:
“I had a very good launch at the start but I ran out of space on the right and Max got better traction on the inside line. From then on, the race was quite straightforward, even though I would have expected to have been given back the position ahead of Checo (Perez), as I came out of pit lane ahead of him, while the Safety Car was still out. Having to wait for the restart to get back to third meant I could not try and fight for second place.. P3 is a good result and overall, this has been a fairly positive weekend, definitely better than one week ago in Bahrain. I feel we are going in the right direction with this car and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before we are fighting a bit further up the order. We have a clearer picture of where and what we need to improve and we have a direction to follow. I can’t wait to go to Australia after two years without racing there.”