Yesterday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix seemed to be taken straight out of a Netflix storyboard. If you think nothing could’ve topped last week’s Bahrain GP, you were in for a big surprise. From an intense battle in the midfield to the wheel-to-wheel action between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc, battling it out till the last lap, here are five highlights from the action-packed weekend.
Red Bull had a mixed bag of a weekend, with its current world champion, Max Verstappen, qualifying fourth, while Sergio Perez bagged a pole position. However, tables turned quickly when the safety car dropped Perez to the fourth position, handing over the lead to Charles Leclerc. Verstappen, who until the last 10 laps, was set for a podium finish picked up the pace (literally) and engaged in wheel-to-wheel action with the leading Ferrari. The drama came down to the final concluding laps, where Verstappen barely managed to edge past Leclerc with a 0.549 seconds lead.
After bagging the first pole of his career, and leading Charles Leclerc for the first 16 laps of the Grand Prix, we were all hoping to see the Mexican on top of the podium. But luck wasn’t on his side. Mere minutes after his pit stop, Nicholas Latifi of Williams crashed into a wall, forcing the deployment of a safety car. By the time Perez re-joined, he trailed third, which soon turned into fourth, after he was told to give the position back to Carloz Sainz.
Ferrari’s title charge
While Charles narrowly missed out on winning a second consecutive race, his and Carloz Sainz’s reliable performance helped Ferrari in winning two of three podium positions. This not only helped Leclerc in maintaining his lead in the driver’s championship but also benefited Ferrari in topping the constructor’s standings.
After Mick Schumacher’s retirement in qualifying, the burden of responsibility was on the comeback kid, Kevin Magnussen. And boy, did he deliver! Despite the obvious disadvantages of the safety car, Magnussen still managed to finish 9th, grabbing those crucial points. Helping put Haas in the fifth position in the constructor’s standings
Unreliability all around
This weekend a total of six cars never saw the chequered flag. Highlighted by Nicholas Latifi’s race-ending crash. His teammate, Alex Albon, didn’t fare well either due to an incident with the Lance Stroll of Aston Martin, which caused a late-race retirement. Later three more cars within a couple of laps of each other also had to retire, this included Fernando Alonso’s Apline, Valtteri Bottas’s Alfa Romeo and Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren.