Site logo

Verstappen plays the long game to win in Jeddah


It's not often that you'll find us quoting Bette Davis, but in all honesty as we anticipate this evening's race all we can think of is her immortal line in the 1950 classic All About Eve, when she warned: "Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride."

As is so often the case these days, when the concept of the Jeddah circuit was first conceived it was very much a case of style over substance, the superlatives were all that mattered... fastest... longest... most dangerous.

It's a horrible track, a virtual accident waiting to happen.

Last year's incident-filled race was largely forgotten courtesy of the controversy of the race that followed just one week later, but make no mistake this is a track that - much like Monza - has tragedy written all over it, only in this case it appears almost intentional.

Such was the desire to fulfil all those superlatives it appears the very thought of safety was put to one side.

Consequently we go into this evening's race with trepidation, fearful that one of those out of position drivers might push just a little too hard, on a track that is unforgiving, whilst also unwilling to tell you what fate has in store for you around the next corner.

While potential disaster awaits those from rows four thru ten, even those at the front cannot take anything for granted, for this is a track that bites... hard.

In its preview of the event, Mercedes warned of a 100% chance of a safety car, and few would argue with that. Let's not forget that just three months ago the inaugural race featured the race featuring numerous incidents that resulted in one safety car period, two red flags, and four virtual safety car periods.

Following his heavy crash yesterday, Mick Schumacher was back at the track today, with Haas admitting that had had second thoughts about re-entering him. In all honesty, the youngster should thank his lucky stars and sit this one out.

While we expect a thriller, with strategy playing a major part, we'll be happy to simply get through the evening safely, therefore there are no predictions, merely the desire to a good, safe race.

On paper a one-stop strategy should be fastest, focussing on the hard and the medium compounds. However, a lot will depend on degradation levels. If they are high, then a two-stopper is also a good option, being almost as quick as a one-stopper.

In this case the medium looks like the preferred tyre to begin the race, followed by a central stint on the hard and a final run on the medium. But there is also the possibility to use all three compounds, maybe keeping the softs for the final stint.

As seen in qualifying and the F2 sessions, there's a high probability of red flags, safety cars and other delays, which can completely disrupt the strategy. So while there is a theoretically optimal strategy calculation to work from, in reality the teams will have to just think on their feet and adapt to the race circumstances, which can change very quickly.

The pitlane opens and the drivers begin to head out. Among the first is Verstappen.

"Lost engine, lost engine," reports Tsunoda who has stopped on the run-off at Turn 7, having failed to post a time in qualifying following a "suspected" water system issue. "That's the end," he is told, "you can jump out."

And then there were 18.

"It was a set-up experiment that went wrong," admits Toto Wolff when asked about Hamilton's qualifying disaster.

Let's not forget, that with both cars having clouted the wall in FP2, Ferrari has relatively little data on high-fuel running here.

Ahead of the formation lap, the air temperature is 25 degrees C, while the track temperature is 29 degrees.

All are starting on the mediums bar Magnussen, Hamilton and Hulkenberg who are on hards. All three hard runners are using used hards while Stroll is the only driver on used mediums.

They head off on the formation lap, all getting away.

Russell locking-up as he heads into the final corner, trying to generate heat into his tyres.

The grid forms, Perez leading the way.

They're away. Perez gets off the line well and covers Leclerc, As they heads into Turn 1, Verstappen is on the inside of Sainz. The Spaniard is held up by his Ferrari teammate and consequently Verstappen is through to third.

All get away well bar Zhou who appears to get away well before finding himself struggling with the car into Turn 1 and clouting Ricciardo in the process. "Same problem again," he shouts.

No clashes, no silliness, and at the end of Lap 1, it's: Perez, Leclerc, Verstappen, Sainz, Ocon, Russell, Alonso, Bottas, Magnussen and Gasly. Hamilton is fourteenth.

A bold move in Turn 1 at the start of Lap 2 sees Norris pass Gasly for 10th.

Russell passes Ocon for 5th with a bold move in the final corner.

The stewards have noted an incident involving Magnussen and Norris at Turn 4 earlier.

After 3 laps, Perez leads by 1.7 as he and his Red Bull teammate trade fastest sector times.

Ocon makes a late, late move on his teammate Alonso which almost ends in disaster.

Clearly rattled, Alonso continues to battle with his teammate.

Norris and Albon have times deleted after exceeding the track limits in Turn 2. Is that still a thing?

Alonso passes his teammate on the main straight, and while the Frenchman tries to fight back the two-time world champion holds station. Otmar Szafnauer will be having a heart attack.

"The lights on the back of Leclerc's car do not work," warns Verstappen.

The Dutchman is 1.5s down on Leclerc while Sainz has dropped 3s behind.

Ocon passes Alonso at the start of Lap 8, however, in the process he misses the first corner and will have to hand the position back. He duly hands the position back and in the process is almost passed by Bottas.

As Ocon is all over the back of his teammate, he has Bottas and Magnussen for company... very close company.

Ricciardo pits at the end of lap 8, he rejoins in last position.

"We are going Plan A, our degradation is better than Red Bull's," Leclerc is told.

Elsewhere, Hamilton passes Stroll for 12th.

Russell in a lonely 5th, 10s down on Sainz and 7s ahead of the Alpines.

Magnussen makes a move on Bottas in Turn 1 but runs too deep.

The stewards are investigating an incident involving Zhou and Albon.

Hamilton makes an easy move on Norris heading into Turn 27 to claim 11th.

Ocon goes off track in Turn 1 again as the Alpine antics continue.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Jeddah, here.


more news >



galleries >

  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • latest F1/Formula 1 images


or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment



1. Posted by kenji, 28/03/2022 15:47

"That was a super race with many exciting aspects. Loved the wheel to wheel between various teams and and also within teams. What I'm also thoroughly enjoying seeing is the changing of the guard and the attendant 'same old same old' line up race after race, year after year. The new cars are getting better as they get more use and understanding of their inherent 'personalities'. What I have also seen is the gradual stripping away of certain thin characteristic veneers when it comes to competitive strengths. That alone is worth a lot when it comes down to the ultimate tests of who will prevail when particular interests no longer enjoy ultimate engineering superiority. It's strange to read some fans whining about drivers whining... symptomatic of the socially disconnected I suppose."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by KKK, 28/03/2022 14:12

"I have never been so bored watching this race. Well, actually it was a procession. Boring boring boring. No wonder they need to spice it up! The best thing was the fireworks....."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by phantom, 28/03/2022 0:29

"Max is such a whiner!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page


Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms