‘Smart tricks’ allowed Verstappen to beat Leclerc in Jeddah

Max Verstappen beat Charles Leclerc to victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix following a tremendous battle for the win.

Max Verstappen revealed that, not dissimilarly to Charles Leclerc in Bahrain, he deployed some clever tactics to take victory at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Having each gained a position on the unfortunate Sergio Perez during the Safety Car period, Verstappen found himself running behind the Monegasque late on when failures for both Fernando Alonso and Daniel Ricciardo triggered the Virtual Safety Car.

The 24-year-old was able to close up to the Ferrari once the drivers got back up to speed and, after an immense battle akin to last weekend, made the decisive pass with a few laps to go on the home straight having held back into the final corner to get DRS on the home straight.

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The race was a taxing one, but Verstappen is delighted to capitalise on the Red Bull’s straight line speed advantage to claim the race win.

“It was a really tough but good race,” he told David Coulthard after the grand prix.

“We were battling hard at the front and we just tried to play the long game. We were really quick through the corners, we were quick on the straight, but the tyres were wearing out quite quick around here.

“So you can see at the end, I thing we had a little bit more pace so I just tried to get by.

“It wasn’t easy playing smart tricks in the last corner but eventually I managed to get ahead but then even after that he was constantly in the DRS even with the yellow flags on the last lap.

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“Just knowing how much you should lift and whether it’s allowed or not, it was tough but I’m really happy that we finally kickstarted the season.”

The Dutchman revels in the fact that the new cars this year have enabled such exhilarating racing.

“It seems like once you get quite close… because I think when the cars get within half a second, you actually can have a good exit,” he explained.

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“I think that makes it a lot more tricky to actually do the pass let’s say in the last corner compared to last year, so it’s a lot harder to plan your pass.”

After a reliability-induced double retirement for Red Bull last week, the win for Verstappen, coupled with the fourth-placed finish for Perez, means that the Milton Keynes side are very much up and running in 2022.