Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Verstappen relishes “tough” battle with Leclerc as stewards investigate final two laps

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen enjoyed his “tough” battle with Charles Leclerc but the stewards are investigating the final two laps of the race which was won by the Red Bull driver.

Double waved yellow flags were shown during the final two laps following a collision between Alexander Albon and Lance Stroll. Verstappen began the 50th and final lap leading Leclerc and complained on the radio his rival closed on him in the areas where yellow flags were shown.

“How’d he close up?” Verstappen asked on the final lap. “That’s so unfair.”

A message from race control after the chequered flag announced “laps 49 and 50 – double yellow under investigation.”

Verstappen held Leclerc off to the line at the end of a race in which the pair exchanged the lead several times. “It was really tough but a good race,” said Verstappen after taking his first win of 2022.

“We were battling hard at the front and we just had to play the long game. They were really quick through the corners, we were quick on the straight.

“The tyres were wearing out quite quick around here. So you could see at the end, I think we just had a little more pace so I just tried to get by.”

On more than one occasion the pair braked heavily approaching the DRS detection point at the final, each wanting to be the last to reach it and therefore gain the benefit in the following activation zone.

“It wasn’t easy, playing smart tricks in the last corner but eventually managed to get ahead but even after that he was constantly in the DRS.

“[Then] with the yellow flags on the last lap just knowing how much you should lift and what is allowed or not, it was tough. But I’m really happy that we’ve finally kickstarted the season.”

Update: The stewards took no action over the events of the final two laps

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Verstappen relishes “tough” battle with Leclerc as stewards investigate final two laps”

  1. Neither seemingly slowed down a lot.

    1. Sainz and Perez are under investigation. No others as far as i know.

      Nice battle though. Thats the way it should be done. And nice touch how both reacted on this battle.
      Hard but fair drivers, the new generation.

    2. I’m sure both were “prepared to stop.”

      The FIA really need to enforce this.

  2. There is also the matter of LeClerc driving over the pitlane entry with at least 2 wheels… Weird there wasn’t even a mention of that being looked at…

    1. For someone who spent the whole of last season driving others off track with tenacity, the way he was screaming about the crossing of the white line like a great injustice baffled me.

      1. It’s called trying to gain an advantage

        1. Yeah, who would think that an athlete pushing the limit would care or be so engaged?

    2. All races all drivers cuted the pit lane line and even on qualifying laps.
      It was awkwardly putem there…

  3. So the fastest lap will be taken from Charles? How even to drive the fastest lap under yellow?

    1. That fastest lap was lap 48 unless I am very much mistaken.

    2. thats an interesting take. Did not thought of that one.
      But there was no mention of anything like that by the stewards..

    3. Johnny H., the answer is that Leclerc set the fastest lap of the race on lap 48, which would therefore be before the yellow flags were being shown – only one driver set their fastest lap during the yellow flag period, which would be Verstappen on lap 50.

  4. Perez passed Sainz under SC period but gave postion back after race start which prevent Sainz to attack Max after restat.

    1. Bingo! This was ignored by Sky’s finest.

      It seemed to me like Max gained a huge advantage in time after the last VSC.

      Charles also ran over the pit entry line at least twice. It this a penalty or not?

    2. Reports on twitter said FIA communicated it to the team after the restart

    3. Perez passed Sainz coming out of the pits, he didnt over take him on track.

      Sainz couldnt pass Perez to regain position while behind the safety car, so Perez correctly let him pass after the SC had ended. Correct protocol was used there.

      1. “Perez passed Sainz coming out of the pits, he didnt over take him on track.”

        Nop he passed Sainz after the pit line exit. Sainz was in front of Perez when he joined the track from the pits. Overall RBR and Perez got an unfair advantage over Ferrari and Sainz and once again they escaped witout a proper penalty.

        1. Agree, but he was now in front of Sainz, incorrectly, i agree, but Sainz could not re-pass Perez while behind the SC, he had to wait until SC had come in.

        2. hamiledon What penalty? SP could not have known when it was happening whether or not he hit the line before or after Sainz. So he proceeded and ended up ahead of Sainz as Sainz was coming back onto the track. Of course I understand Sainz complaints as we were quickly given the info that indeed Sainz owned the place, but I think it is only natural that SP was not going to hand the position back until he was told to do so, as he would not have known in those few seconds as Sainz was coming back on track as to whether or not he crossed the line on time. Why would he hand a spot back if he didn’t have to bet the knowledge he had at that moment? And why would he hand back a spot when he wasn’t being directed to and when they were behind the safety car and there is no passing. Perez did nothing wrong here other than wait for further instruction, which he obeyed once instructed.

      2. Very correct!

  5. Slowing down to get an advantage. That’s the kind of consequences DRS brings.

    1. I enjoy the pursuit cycling element and the use of tactics.

  6. Maybe they lifted by 0.01% but they looked absolutely flat out…

  7. Leclerc once even had a minor cut when he was close to Verstappen during the endgame. Maybe a few meters only, but I am not sure whether he lost or gained on it. His momentum seemingly were quite well preserved. How the rules cover this? He was behind, and stayed behind, but he maybe gained a bit :) Doing such things can be intentional, and quite hard to police. Although I do not expect minor cuts like that being well and easily policed in the close future. Although now the rule enforcement seems to be a bit more strict, so maybe we will get there.

  8. RocketTankski
    27th March 2022, 21:07

    “it’s called a motor race” as they say in Abu Dhabi

    1. Indeed! We went car racing!

  9. Craig Paaske
    28th March 2022, 5:40

    Max complaining “That’s so unfair”
    I didn’t hear that complaint in the last race of last season.

  10. Wow, Max wingeing all the way to the chequered flag. Does the Red Bull team ever stop complaining. Imagine if a “human error” handed the race to Charles? What would the RB team have been saying then!! I really hope that Charles wins the drivers championship.

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