Round 2 of Formula 1 in 2022 and it is the Saudi Arabian GP at the Jeddah Corniche circuit. Both Ferrari and Red Bull have continued their strong campaign from the previous race in Bahrain. The street circuit once again proved to be tricky for the drivers for the entire weekend. With multiple drivers crashing, Red Bull stood on top in the last 2 days.
2022 Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying results
Latifi in the Williams crashed out in Q1 and after a horrifying crash, Mick Schumacker briefly stopped Q2. The quick response from the medical team made sure the German was out of harm’s way and was airlifted for further examinations.
It was Sergio Perez in the Red Bull who grabbed his first pole position in Formula 1. This comes after 11 years in his F1 career and 215 races which is now a record. Leclerc and Sainz locked 2nd and 3rd positions and Max had to settle for 4th. But the key talking point in Qualifying was Lewis Hamilton’s elimination in Q1 after 5 years. Mercedes’s different approach for both drivers didn’t pan out for the 7 times world champion. Hamilton only managed 16th whereas the newcomer Russell was 6th fastest on the grid.
|1.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||1:28.200|
|4.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:28.461|
|8.||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||1:29.183|
|9.||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||1:29.254|
|13.||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||1:29.819|
|15.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:31.009|
|18.||Nico Hulkenberg||Aston Martin||1:30.543|
|20.||Yuki Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||DNS|
Perez and Leclerc with a decent start maintained their positions but Sainz was forced to the outside which opened the gates for Max who gained a position in the first turn. Perez still having the advantage was boxed on lap 15, but Leclerc and the other top drivers stayed out. Another crash from the Williams driver Latifi brought in the safety car which played right into the hands of the Ferrari. Leclerc, Max and Sainz had a cheap pitstop that pushed Perez down to 3rd under the safety car and lost another position at the restart. With no fault of his own, Sergio Perez, the pole-sitter lost the lead of the race.
Leclerc with a decent start after the safety car managed the gap to Max Verstappen pretty well. He was quick through the corners and was the fastest in sector 1 avoiding the DRS threat from Max. In Lap 37, both Alonso’s Alpine and Ricciadro’s Mclaren overheated on the track bringing in the Virtual Safety Car (VRS). This closed the gap between the leader and Max.
Leclerc fended off the first attack from Max in Lap 42. But the Ferrari was no match for the Red Bull’s straight-line speed. On Lap 47, Max made his move stick in the DRS zone on the main straight. Leclerc’s couple more attempts to get past the current world champion went in vain. Even though the margin was just 0.5 seconds, Max crossed the line ahead of Leclerc winning the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP.
2022 Saudi Arabian GP Race Results
Sainz in the Ferrari finished 3rd and the Pole sitter Perez had to settle for 4th. Russell in the Mercedes started 6th on the grid and finished 5th. Ocon had an intense battle with his teammate, Alonso, at the beginning of the race. But Alonso’s misfortune helped Ocon to finish 6th. Norris in the Mclaren who had an awful start to the season managed to finish 7th.
Gasly and Magnussen finished 8th and 9th with Mercedes’s champ, Hamilton in the 10th spot. The veteran’s patience with his initial hard tyre stint definitely paid off in the end to get him into the points. The race result of the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP is listed below.
|1.||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:24:19.293||25|
|2.||Charles Leclerc||Ferrari||+0.549 s||19 (+1 for fastest lap)|
|3.||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||+8.097 s||15|
|4.||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||+10.800 s||12|
|5.||George Russell||Mercedes||+32.732 s||10|
|6.||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||+56.017 s||8|
|7.||Lando Norris||Mclaren||+56.124 s||6|
|8.||Pierre Gasly||Alpha Tauri||+62.946 s||4|
|9.||Kevin Magnussen||Haas||+64.308 s||2|
|10.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||+73.948 s||1|
|11.||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||+82.215 s||0|
|12.||Nico Hulkenberg||Aston Martin||+91.742 s||0|
|13.||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||+1 lap||0|
|15.||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||DNF||0|
|19.||Yuki Tsunoda||Alpha Tauri||DNF||0|
The new regulation is definitely encouraging the drivers to push each other. We have already seen many close battles in just two races of the season and there’s more to come. The next stop is Australia for the Melbourne GP. Stay tuned for further updates.