Follow the action from Saudi Arabia on this live blog
Hello everyone and welcome along to our live blog for the second Formula 1 race of the 2022 season, which is the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Sergio Perez surprisingly put his Red Bull on pole position for this Sunday’s race, but Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is just behind him, with teammate Carlos Sainz in third on the grid. Max Verstappen in the second Red Bull is fourth, so we’ll see if the pole sitter can hold off both Ferraris and the reigning world champion. On this live blog, we’ll have all the pre-race updates and then lap-by-lap reports too.
This is the very beginning of our F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix live blog, with all our updates from this F1 race following below. As always, the ones nearest the top are the most recent.
There may have only been two races in F1 in 2022, but they have both given us a tremendous battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. Ferrari and Red Bull are separated by nothing at the moment and the drivers are making the crucial difference. Next up, the Australian GP on April 8-10. We can’t wait for F1’s return to Melbourne, especially with the fight at the front between Leclerc and Verstappen.
A brilliant Saudi Arabian GP sees Max Verstappen come out on top after a thrilling battle with Charles Leclerc. The pair put on a brilliant race in the final 10 laps of the race. Carlos Sainz comes home in third, ahead of Sergio Perez and George Russell.
This time, Verstappen judges things perfectly by staying behind at the last corner to get DRS down the main straight. The Dutchman breezes past by Leclerc to take first place with three laps to go.
Leclerc is still within a second of Verstappen and is pushing hard to re-take the lead. Meanwhile, Lance Stroll and Alex Albon collide, putting the Williams driver out of the race. This is going to be a tense finish.
Verstappen is still on Leclerc’s tail, forcing the Ferrari driver to defend at Turn 1. Both drivers are really going for it. This is brilliant. You’ve got to love F1 in 2022.
Max Verstappen takes the lead from Leclerc at the last corner, but Leclerc gets him back at Turn 1. A lap later, both drivers lock up at the last corner in an attempt to try and have DRS for the main straight. They go side by side, before Leclerc floors it to scamper away from Verstappen, who loses the rear of his car.
The virtual safety car ends, so Hamilton is able to pit. He’s now on a new set of medium tyres, but is down in 12th. Magnussen and Albon are between him and some points.
The virtual safety car is out and the pit entry has been closed. It’s bad news for Hamilton because he’s missed the chance for a cheap pit stop. Magnussen and Hulkenberg managed to pit before the pit entry was closed.
Just moments later, Daniel Ricciardo stops just before the pit lane entry, reporting he’s lost drive. Bottas has pitted again and has been wheeled back into the garage. It’s all kicking off in Saudi Arabia!
Fernando Alonso is slowing down, he says there’s no power as he drops from sixth place. A massive shame for the Spaniard, who limps back to the garage. Valtteri Bottas pits for a second time too and is now down in 16th.
Verstappen is still 1.6 seconds behind Leclerc and can’t do anything to get closer. He’s told by his engineer to save the tyres in the high speed corners to mount an attack towards the end of the race.
Radio to Verstappen: “Let’s just keep it sensible with high speed now. We can put pressure on later in the race. Let Leclerc use up his tyres at the moment.”
It’s like Bahrain all over again at the front. Leclerc and Verstappen are trading fastest sectors and lap times to build a lead over Sainz and Perez. Leclerc’s lead is 1.5 seconds, so he’s doing enough to keep Verstappen out of DRS range.
Charles Leclerc appears to have crossed the white line at the pit entry which is against the rules. Max Verstappen spots it and tells his team immediately. The incident is not yet under investigation. Just 1.2 seconds split the leading pair
Lewis Hamilton and Kevin Magnussen are having a brilliant battle. Hamilton overtakes the Dane at the last corner, only for Magnussen to get back past at Turn 1. A lap later, Hamilton dives down the inside at the first corner to take sixth place. Remember, both drivers still have to pit.
Leclerc executes a perfect race restart to stop Verstappen from attacking him. Perez lets Sainz by to ensure he avoids a penalty from the pit exit incident. Now it’s all about whether these hard tyres can last until the end of the Grand Prix.
Perez and Sainz are being investigated because the Ferrari driver believes Perez overtook him at the pit exit under safety car conditions. Sainz is not happy, thinking he was ahead as he came out of the pits and Perez was emerging from the main race track.
Nearly every driver pitted as soon as the safety car was called. They are all on the hard tyres. Only Magnussen, Hamilton and Hulkenberg, who all started on the hard tyre, didn’t pit.
Nicholas Latifi crashes at the final corner, causing a safety car. This is awful news for Perez because his rivals have lost less time by pitting under safety car conditions. Leclerc and Verstappen are now first and second after pitting. Sainz is still fourth after he also came into the pits too.
Ferrari told Leclerc to “box to overtake” which has forced Perez to make a pit stop. Perez comes out behind Russell which is not ideal because he will lose time on his out lap. Game on for the race win.
Meanwhile out in front, Sergio Perez is managing things perfectly with a lead of 2.5 seconds to Leclerc. Verstappen is a further 2.6 seconds behind in third, as we approach the first, and perhaps only, pit stop phase.
This Alpine battle is relentless. Ocon throws his car down the outside at Turn 1, and cuts the chicane to get past Alonso. He gives the place back later in the lap, but nearly lets Valtteri Bottas through as well. It looks like Alonso has finally shaken off his French teammate..for now.
The Alpine pair are having a big battle for sixth, with Ocon shutting the door on Alonso aggressively into Turn 1. Alonso is forced to get his elbows out a lap later at Turn 2 to eventually get the move done. Alpine must have been sweating for a few laps there.
George Russell makes a great overtake down the inside of Esteban Ocon to get into the top five. Out in front, the top four are covered by five seconds as Hamilton says he’s struggling on the hard tyre. Hamilton is currently in 14th.
It’s a clean start to the race, with Max Verstappen making a move to get by Carlos Sainz at the first chicane to take third. Sergio Perez gets a great launch toretain first place from Charles Leclerc. Lando Norris gets himself into the top 10.
Ferrari and Red Bull have gone the same way with their starting tyre choices by starting on the mediums, as have most of the field. Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Hulkenberg will start on the hard tyres. The formation lap is underway!
This weekend’s Saudi Arabian GP has already been chaotic on and off the track. Last year’s race saw two red flags and plenty of controversy between Hamilton and Verstappen, and it’s possible there will be drama in Jeddah once again. It will be a surprise if the safety car doesn’t make an appearance.
Lewis Hamilton will start from 15th after he was eliminated from the first part of qualifying for the first time since the 2017 Brazilian GP. He has a lot of work to do and will be fighting to simply score some world championship points.
“The car is always different when you’ve got [heavy] fuel,” said Hamilton.
“I’ve got a lot of great drivers ahead of me that I need to try and pick off. It’s quite windy, a bit warmer, so I’m positive.”
Yuki Tsunoda has stopped on the way to the grid, he’s out of the race before its even began. The AlphaTauri driver says he lost the engine, so that’s another Red Bull powertrains problem after several issues in Bahrain and this weekend in Jeddah. Tsunoda joins Mick Schumacher on the list of drivers who will not start the race, after the Haas driver had a huge crash in qualifying.
Pole-sitter Sergio Perez has only won twice on F1 and will face the pressure of leading the field off the line for the first time in his career. Perez was quickest in the speed traps in qualifying, along with teammate Max Verstappen, so the flying Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz may struggle to overtake the Red Bulls on the track. Strategy will be key in the battle for the lead.
There is a lot of work going on at Ferrari after they found an issue on Carlos Sainz’s car. The team have been allowed to replace the part, which is at the back of the car, and Sainz’s machine should be ready to start from third when the race begins.
The second race of the 2022 F1 season is just 60 minutes away. If it’s as dramatic as Saturday’s qualifying session, we could be in for a thriller under the lights at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. There should be another big battle between Red Bull and Ferrari for the victory.
Sergio Perez is the first Mexican to take pole position in F1 and did so at the 215th time of asking. Daniel Ricciardo was also given a three place grid penalty, while Mick Schumacher will not take part in the race after his crash in qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton will start in 15th place on the grid after Mick Schumacher withdrew from the race following his crash. There was shock on Saturday as Hamilton never managed to get out of Q1 and lamented the poor set up of his Mercedes. Can he storm through he field in the race?
The race for this weekend’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix starts at 20:00 local time, which is 19:00 CEST in western Europe or 18:00 BST in the United Kingdom. In the USA, the start time is 13:00 ET or 10:00 PT.
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