F1 news LIVE: Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ as Lewis Hamilton admits ‘s***’ result in Saudi Arabia

F1 news LIVE: Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ as Lewis Hamilton admits ‘s***’ result in Saudi Arabia

Max Verstappen edged out Charles Leclerc in a classic F1 battle at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with the Red Bull star winning by less than a second in Jeddah. Sergio Perez had started on pole for the first time in his F1 career after the Mexican put together an impeccable lap around the tight streets of Jeddah in Q3 of qualifying to put himself on the front of the grid.

However, on race day, an ill-timed safety car saw Perez drop from pole into fourth and he was then unable to overtake the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz to get the final podium place. MercedesGeorge Russell was sixth after qualifying and rose to fifth during the race, ahead of Esteban Ocon of Alpine. Lewis Hamilton started the race 15th after a disastrous qualifying saw him struggle and exit at Q1 but the seven-time world champion climbed to 10th by the chequered flag.

Meanwhile a Saudi GP marshal had been removed after saying on Twitter he hoped seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton suffered an accident similar to Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in Bahrain in 2020. A spokesman for Formula One’s governing body said the unnamed marshal, writing in Arabic, would play no further part in the race weekend in Jeddah.

Follow all the reaction to the events in Saudi Arabia plus a look ahead to Melbourne after a thrilling start to the 2022 Formula 1 season:

F1 news and reaction to Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • Max Verstappen dramatically beats Charles Leclerc to win Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

  • Two safety cars see Sergio Perez drop from pole to 4th, with Carlos Sainz 3rd

  • Lewis Hamilton finishes 10th after starting 15th

  • Verstappen admits he needed ‘smart tricks’ to beat Leclerc

  • Hamilton unaware of points rules after ‘s*** result’ in Saudi Arabia

Magnussen pleased with second points finish on return

18:30 , Michael Jones

Kevin Magnussen was in the points again tonight out in Saudi Arabia, as he brought his Haas car home in ninth having started in tenth.

The Dane was only drafted into the team as a late replacement for the sacked Nikita Mazepin 11 days before the beginning of the campaign, and is throughouly enjoying his return so far.

“Happy! the first safety car came at a really bad point. We got some luck back with the virtual safety car at the end and managed to overtake a few,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“Australia has been good in the past [for me] and the car is great at the moment. If we get the most out of the car it should be points again. This year I had out was great, I had a great time and coming back was such a big surprise. I still can’t believe I’m here!”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

18:14 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc with four laps to go to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Forty-eight hours after a nearby missile strike threatened to cancel the second round of the new Formula One season, Verstappen claimed the first victory of his title defence following a thrilling battle with Leclerc which went to the wire.

Verstappen crossed the line only half-a-second ahead of Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz third and pole-sitter Sergio Perez fourth.

George Russell finished fifth for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton only 10th on an evening to forget for the seven-time world champion.

Hamilton, who started only 15th following one of the worst qualifying performances of his career, made good progress through the field to move up to 10th by the start of lap 14, and then seventh when Mercedes kept him out on old rubber following Nicholas Latifi’s lap-17 crash and the first safety car. That became sixth when he made his way ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Verstappen pips Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

18:01 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz has said that the FIA must make in-race rulings “more efficiently” after feeling that both he and Sergio Perez were hampered during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

As the pair began to jostle for a potential place on the podium, Red Bull’s Perez had overtaken Sainz’s Ferrari during a safety car period.

That meant the Mexican was required to hand the place back.

However the FIA did not allow Perez to do so until after racing resumed, four laps after the original move was made. It meant that Perez had to allow Sainz to pass after the green flag waved, denying both the chance to challenge after the restart and leaving Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to duel for top spot in Jeddah.

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

Norris praises new generations of F1 cars

17:47 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris secured a strong seventh-place finish for McLaren in Saudi Arabia to give the team their first points of the 2022 season.

The 22-year-old raced Esteban Ocon for the line but just missed out on sixth by a couple of tenths of a second, and was quick to praise the effects the new generation of cars are having on overtaking.

“We were helped a little bit with the safety car,” Norris said on Sky Sports F1. “The end was good, we had a chance to score some good points, better than we were expecting. You can get ahead but there’s a lot more chance that the guy is gonna be able to get you back again.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

17:33 , Michael Jones

George Russell has admitted that Mercedes must improve in “leaps and bounds” rather than by making “baby steps” if they are to challenge in 2022.

The German team’s slow start to the new Formula 1 season continued in Saudi Arabia, with Russell finishing a credible fifth, though some way short of challenging the lead quartet.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took his first victory as defending world champion ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as the two early pace-setting manufacturers filled out the first four places.

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

Hamilton ‘not fighting’ for title just yet

17:20 , Michael Jones

Following his 10th place finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton said that his Mercedes team were a long way off fighting for the championship title and need to do more work on their W13 car.

“Right now we’re not fighting for the top step,” he said. “We’re so far off the guys up ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need more grip and we need more power.”

Hamilton did say that one positive to come out of the race was the fact that his car did not suffer any ‘porpoising’ - bouncing up and down at high speed - which has been a feature of Mercedes’ start to the season but that was little consolation when the car’s performance is so far behind that of Red Bull and Ferrari.

“We’re still really down on the speed trace,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s not just one fix. There are several things. I don’t know how much drag we have relative to the others but it feels like a lot. It [the title race] feels like a long way away.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Points on the board for Haas

17:08 , Michael Jones

Kevin Magnussen’s return to Haas has been a roaring success so far. He finished P5 in Bahrain and picked up more points for the American team with a P8 finish in Jeddah. Team principal Guenther Steiner is very pleased with Haas’ results so far this season.

Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ to beat Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia

16:57 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen has outlined the “smart tricks” he had to play to pip Charles Leclerc to victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver got the defence of his F1 world title up-and-running with a late triumph in Jeddah, passing Leclerc in the Ferrari with four laps to go and holding on.

Having been forced to retire in Bahrain a week ago, it was a much more pleasing outing for Verstappen, who again looks likely to be a leading contender for the Drivers’ Championship.

Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ to beat Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia

No regrets for Albon despite crash with Stroll

16:50 , Michael Jones

Williams’ Alex Albon has received a three-place grid penalty for April’s Australian Grand Prix as a result of his late-race move on Lance Stroll in Saudi Arabia.

Despite the incident sending both drivers of the track Albon said he wasn’t regretful. The Williams driver came up on the inside of Stroll into the opening chicane, spinning the Aston Martin driver out of P11 and ending his own race prematurely – also bringing out yellow flags in Sector 1 that impacted the lead battle between Charles Leclerc and eventual winner Max Verstappen.

Albon said: “It was a strong defence, but it’s fine. I went for the move. Honestly, we are struggling because we are not great on the brakes, but I went for it. We were fighting for points at the end, and, at least… get some points on the table.

“I don’t really regret the move – for me it was a racing incident.”

Along with the three-place grid penalty for the next race in Melbourne Albon has also received two penalty points.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘It went absolutely crazy’: The F1 photographer who captured Max Verstappen’s dramatic world title win

16:39 , Michael Jones

As the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix meandered towards a seemingly anticlimactic finish, photographer Mark Thompson watched on from a deflated Red Bull garage anticipating an early night. “With 15 minutes to go I was in the garage thinking ‘we’re not going to win this’,” he remembers. “You’re almost in neutral, you’re thinking this is an early night, that’s the way it goes. Then, bang! All of a sudden we were winning and everything went mental. It went absolutely crazy.”

Thompson is no stranger to the chaos of F1 having photographed every grand prix for 24 years (“which is either really cool or really sad,” he says, “whichever way you look at it”) before Covid ended his streak. A colourful career for Getty Images has entailed uncompromising drivers, blagging his way on to hotel balconies in Monaco for the perfect shot and partying for two days straight when Red Bull won their first championship. But even for someone who has seen F1 from every angle in every light, in all hours of the day in all corners of the globe, this race through the eyes of this team was utterly, uniquely breathtaking.

“The team are jumping around, you’ve got the guys on the pit wall freaking out, Christian Horner almost crying, it was amazing,” he says. “And now you’ve got to up your game. You’ve got to get pictures and it’s not that easy when everyone’s running around going crazy.”

‘It went crazy’: The photographer who captured Max Verstappen’s title win

Lewis Hamilton pinpoints two areas for Mercedes improvement after Saudi Arabian GP

16:31 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has picked out a need for “more grip” and “more power” as areas of improvement for Mercedes after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The German team were again off-the-pace in Jeddah, with Hamilton fighting his way up to tenth after qualifying down the grid.

George Russell finished fifth but could not provide a realistic challenge to either Red Bull or Ferrari, who filled out the first four places.

An offseason overhaul of aerodynamic regulations has proved to be to Mercedes’ detriment, with ‘porpoising’ a persistent issue and Hamilton and Russell evidently short of pure pace down the straights.

Hamilton thinks that parts of the car’s performance were better in Saudi Arabia, but admits that there is a big gap to be closed.

Lewis Hamilton pinpoints two areas for Mercedes improvement after Saudi Arabian GP

F1 2022 Construtors Standings

16:23 , Michael Jones

  1. Ferrari, 78.

  2. Mercedes, 38.

  3. Red Bull Racing, 37.

  4. Alpine, 16.

  5. Haas F1 Team, 12.

  6. Alfa Romeo Racing, 9.

  7. Alphatauri, 8.

  8. McLaren, 6.

  9. Aston Martin, 0.

  10. Williams, 0.

On to Melbourne

16:15 , Michael Jones

Next up in the Formula 1 calender is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The race weekend takes place on 8th-10th April so the teams now have a couple of weeks to work on the cars.

Will it be another match-up between Ferrari and Red Bull or can Mercedes use this break to improve their car and bounce back with a bang?

‘P5 was the maximum’ says Russell

16:09 , Michael Jones

Mercedes’ George Russell put the team in the top five on race day, having beaten his team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying by securing sixth on the grid.

Following the race Russell claimed that his P5 finish was the most he could have hoped to achieve on Sunday night.

“P5 was the maximum today,” he said. “We would have loved to have had more but the car actually felt really nice to drive. We know what we are lacking and that’s downforce, but I think we got the car in a really nice window this race.

“I was pushing as hard as I could and that was really cool. It was probably the most physical race I have experienced in Formula 1, which was cool to have the body pushed to the limits. That concentration throughout 50 laps on a street circuit like this, high speed, it was cool. But I want to be doing this fighting for victories, not P5 all by myself.

“You always want to take the positives from a difficult situation, but we are not here to settle for that. We can’t walk away being pleased with that.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

16:00 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz has said that the FIA must make in-race rulings “more efficiently” after feeling that both he and Sergio Perez were hampered during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

As the pair began to jostle for a potential place on the podium, Red Bull’s Perez had overtaken Sainz’s Ferrari during a safety car period.

That meant the Mexican was required to hand the place back.

However the FIA did not allow Perez to do so until after racing resumed, four laps after the original move was made.

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

Ricciardo confident points will come for McLaren

15:53 , Michael Jones

Despite a DNF in Saudi Arabia McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo is confident that he can start picking up points for the team in the races to come after feeling good behind the wheel of the MCL36. He believes the new 2022 car drove better in Jeddah then at the opening race in Bahrain and will continue to be competitive as the season progresses.

Toto Wolff outlines ‘missed opportunity’ for Lewis Hamilton at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

15:44 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff believes that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a “reflection” of where Mercedes “currently stand”, but admitted to a missed opportunity for Lewis Hamlton during the race.

George Russell finished fifth in Jeddah, behind a lead quartet comprised of Red Bull and Ferrari drivers, while Hamilton could only fight his way up to tenth after starting in 15th place on the grid.

The German team, who have won the last eight Constructors’ Championships, continue to lack the pace of the early 2022 Formula 1 front-runners after the offseason changes to aerodynamic regulations.

Russell’s fifth-place was reason for encouragement for Wolff, who believes that without an incident Mercedes are currently unable to challenge the fastest cars in the field.

Toto Wolff outlines ‘missed opportunity’ for Lewis Hamilton at Saudi Arabian GP

Dejected Perez discusses safety car misfortune

15:37 , Michael Jones

A dejected Sergio Perez has been talking about his misfortune with the safety car, which cost him three places from the lead after he pitted just before Nicholas Latifi hit the wall.

“This is just racing, especially in this place we knew we could be in that situation,” Perez explained to Sky Sports F1. “Things were looking really good but unfortunately Latifi just put it into the wall at the wrong time for me. It hurts because we did everything we possible could to win this race from pole. It will come back around some time.”

Sergio Perez celebrates taking pole position (Getty Images)
Sergio Perez celebrates taking pole position (Getty Images)

Ocon and Norris on 2022 F1 cars

15:31 , Michael Jones

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and McLaren’s Lando Norris spoke about the new cars and regulations for the 2022 season and are impressed with the way the allow drivers to follow each other and take on potential overtakes on a seemingly more regular basis.

Check out what they said after the Saudi Arabia grand prix:

‘Every race should be like this’ says Leclerc

15:24 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc missed out on victory in the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP by just 0.549s in an exhilarating late-race duel with Max Verstappen.

Leclerc took the lead after pitting under the first Safety Car, after leader Sergio Perez had taken the decision to pit just a lap prior to that in green flag conditions. Leclerc seemed to be cruising to his second victory of the season with Max Verstappen unable to catch him. However, the Red Bull driver closed in after a late Virtual Safety Car and passed Leclerc for the lead after an incredible late-race duel.

Leclerc spoke after the race and relished his wheel-to-wheel bout with the reigning champion although he was disappointed not to come out on top.

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my god, I really enjoyed the race,” he said. “Again, it was hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun. I am of course disappointed – I wanted to win today. It was very, very tricky. I tried to have the DRS in the last corner. It worked twice, but it didn’t the last time.

“We were quick in the corners but quite slow in the straights because we put more downforce, so it was extremely difficult to cover Max in the straights. But it’s like this – he did a great job and it was a fun race.”

Magnussen pleased with second points finish on return

15:16 , Michael Jones

Kevin Magnussen was in the points again tonight out in Saudi Arabia, as he brought his Haas car home in ninth having started in tenth.

The Dane was only drafted into the team as a late replacement for the sacked Nikita Mazepin 11 days before the beginning of the campaign, and is throughouly enjoying his return so far.

“Happy! the first safety car came at a really bad point. We got some luck back with the virtual safety car at the end and managed to overtake a few,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“Australia has been good in the past [for me] and the car is great at the moment. If we get the most out of the car it should be points again. This year I had out was great, I had a great time and coming back was such a big surprise. I still can’t believe I’m here!”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

15:09 , Michael Jones

If you’ve become a fan of Formula 1 in recent years, you will probably be familiar with the term ‘DRS’ - the system which effectively allows for more overtaking.

Following its introduction in 2011, DRS has become a vital part of the sport. It stands for Drag Reduction System and is an adjustable part of the rear wing which, when opened, improves speed by 10-12 kmph.

That doesn’t sound like a lot when cars already travel at around 300kmph, but it can make all the difference along a long straight.

Drivers are only allowed to use DRS under certain conditions: the system is only enabled after the opening two laps of the race and drivers must be within one second of the car in front in order to activate it. Drivers can also only use DRS in certain ‘zones’, which are usually found on the straights.

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

Verstappen revels in Jeddah victory

15:04 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen has been discussing his victory in Saudi Arabia saying he relished the battle with Charles Leclerc in the final stages.

“It was really tough but a good race,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We were battling hard and tried to play the long game. The tyres were wearing out quite quick. At the end we had a bit more pace. It wasn’t easy playing smart tricks in the final corner. Really happy that we finally kickstarted the season.

“It seems like once you get quite close you can have a good exit, and that makes it a lot more tricky to make a pass in the last corner. You really have to plan your pass.

On his part, Leclerc looked disappointed after being unable to score a second successive victory, but was full of praise for the winner saying:

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my God I really enjoyed that race! It’s hard but fair. Every race should be like this. Of course I’m disappointed but every race should be like this.

“It was extremely difficult for me to cover Max on the straights but he did a great job. [Respect] has always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. We’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before, to the absolute limit.”

Binotto relishing battle between Leclerc and Verstappen

14:57 , Michael Jones

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is enjoying a sensational start to the 2022 F1 season, with his drivers first and second in the drivers’ standing and his team far ahead in the constructors’ too.

The Italian has overseen a resurgence in the team’s fortunes compared with 2020 and 2021 and is now relishing the battle with Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

“First our congratulations goes to Red Bull and Max,” he told Sky Sports F1. “He drove very well. It has been a great spectacle to see those two guys battling at the front. We can be very pleased. Charles has a lot of talent and he proved today again he can fight with Max at that level. It is very good for F1 and a fantastic start to the season.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Hamilton ‘not fighting’ for title just yet

14:50 , Michael Jones

Following his 10th place finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton said that his Mercedes team were a long way off fighting for the championship title and need to do more work on their W13 car.

“Right now we’re not fighting for the top step,” he said. “We’re so far off the guys up ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need more grip and we need more power.”

Hamilton did say that one positive to come out of the race was the fact that his car did not suffer any ‘porpoising’ - bouncing up and down at high speed - which has been a feature of Mercedes’ start to the season but that was little consolation when the car’s performance is so far behind that of Red Bull and Ferrari.

“We’re still really down on the speed trace,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s not just one fix. There are several things. I don’t know how much drag we have relative to the others but it feels like a lot. It [the title race] feels like a long way away.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results

14:41 , Michael Jones

  1. (4) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 50 laps, 1:24:19.293, 25 points.

  2. (2) Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 50, +0.549 seconds, 19.3.

  3. (3) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 50, +8.097, 15.

  4. (1) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, 50, +10.800, 12.

  5. (6) George Russell, Great Britain, Mercedes, 50, +32.732, 10.

  6. (5) Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 50, +56.017, 8.

  7. (11) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 50, +56.124, 6.

  8. (9) Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 50, +1:02.946, 4.

  9. (10) Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas F1 Team, 50, +1:04.308, 2.

  10. (15) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 50, +1:13.948, 1.

  11. (12) Guanyu Zhou, China, Alfa Romeo Racing, 50, +1:22.215.

  12. (17) Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Aston Martin, 50, +1:31.742.

  13. (13) Lance Stroll, Canada, Aston Martin, 49, +1 lap.

  14. (16) Alexander Albon, Thailand, Williams, did not finish, 47.

  15. (8) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, did not finish, 36.

  16. (7) Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, did not finish, 35.

  17. (14) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, McLaren, did not finish, 35.

  18. (18) Nicholas Latifi, Canada, Williams, did not finish, 14.

(Start position in parentheses)

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

14:32 , Michael Jones

George Russell has admitted that Mercedes must improve in “leaps and bounds” rather than by making “baby steps” if they are to challenge in 2022.

The German team’s slow start to the new Formula 1 season continued in Saudi Arabia, with Russell finishing a credible fifth, though some way short of challenging the lead quartet.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took his first victory as defending world champion ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as the two early pace-setting manufacturers filled out the first four places.

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

F1’s racing revolution breathes new life into Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s rivalry

14:25 , Michael Jones

It is not often that a professional athlete revels in the fun of being narrowly beaten in the final stages of a rip-roaring sporting contest by a long-time adversary, but that is exactly what Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc did after finishing less than a second behind Max Verstappen in Formula One’s stellar Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday evening.

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my God I really enjoyed that race... Every race should be like this!”, beamed the Monegasque in his post-race interview, the sweat tumbling down his cheeks in the thick Gulf heat after just under two hours spent touring one of the most physically punishing and downright dangerous tracks in world motor sport at speeds which quite literally verge on breakneck.

That he had finished only second having spent the vast majority of the race in first place was not Leclerc’s primary concern once the chequered flag had waved; instead, the sheer thrill of tussling so closely out front with Verstappen was enough to render the Ferrari driver positively giddy about the season to come.

Racing revamp breathes new life into Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s rivalry

Toto Wolff takes positive from Lewis Hamilton performance

14:17 , Michael Jones

“The encouraging side is that his pace on the hard was positive,” said Wolff, in reference to the Briton’s opening showing on that tyre. “We couldn’t tell if it was fast but it was positive.

“Alonso slowed down during the lap, Ricciardo broke down in the entry and we told him to come in but there was a double yellow with one car slowing down and one stationary so it was a confusing situation.

“He passed by and slowed down because of the confusion which made us come out behind [Kevin] Magnussen, then it’s game over.”

Progress for Sainz after second consecutive podium

14:12 , Michael Jones

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz says he is making good progress with his car after finishing third in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Sainz came second to team mate Charles Leclerc in the opening race in Bahrain but wasn’t happy with how he handled the car around that circuit and was more upbeat about his performance yesterday.

“I was happier than in Bahrain, definitely,” he said. “There’s been a bit of progress done from my side of the garage, with the feeling with the car.

“I felt like today we did a small step in the right direction and… well, while I’m still not 100 percent with the car, to keep bringing the points and the podiums is important until I will get back to 100 percent – and then it will be time to join these guys at the top for the fights.”

Sainz qualified third on the grid behind Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc but lost his spot to Max Verstappen going through turn one despite a great start off the line.

“Yes, it’s a very narrow start here,” explained Sainz. “So I had a very good launch out of the start. And then I was squeezed a bit in between Checo [Perez] and Charles, and I had to lift and this gave Max the opportunity to go on the inside, and pass me outside of [Turn] 2 with a better run.

“I was just basically a bit unlucky because I think I was just boxed in, due to my good start and I had to lift. The good thing is that it was a good start and they’re going to be important for this year, those good starts – and we need to keep them up,

“The Red Bulls were super quick in the last 10 laps after the tyres cooled down on the Safety Car, on the Virtual [Safety Car]. They were flying and they were putting pressure on us.

“For me, this race was a bit of progress from Bahrain. I think I managed to find a bit more rhythm with the car. Still some tenths to find but I think I will end up getting there.”

Toto Wolff admits to enduring ‘exercise in humility’ after tough F1 season start for Mercedes

14:05 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff admits he is enduring an “exercise in humility” after Mercedes’ tough start to the 2022 F1 season.

“We have had the luxury of being right in the middle of those fun games for the last eight years,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“Actually luxury is the wrong word. We were right in the middle of those fun games in the front, and talking as a Formula 1 stakeholder we’re benefiting from a great show that is really spectacular to look at.

“On the other side, it is extremely painful to not be part of those fun games by quite a chunk of lap time deficit.

“We’re not going to rest until we are back in the mix. It is no fun at all and an exercise in humility. It’s going to make us stronger even though it’s not fun right now.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton happy to go home after eventful Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

13:58 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton said he was looking forward to getting out of Saudi Arabia following Sunday’s controversial race.

The second round of the new Formula One season had been in doubt 48 hours earlier following a nearby missile strike on an oil refinery during first practice.

After an extraordinary four-hour meeting on Friday night, the drivers were ready to withdraw, only to be talked round by F1 bosses following assurances from Saudi authorities.

It is understood the drivers will meet with F1 to discuss the future of the race in Jeddah, possibly by a virtual call in the coming days, or in-person at the next round in Australia on April 10.

Hamilton, who finished a disappointing 10th, said: “I am so happy the weekend is done and I am also just so happy that everyone is safe. I am looking forward to getting out.”

Lewis Hamilton happy to go home after eventful Saudi Grand Prix

No regrets for Albon despite crash with Stroll

13:50 , Michael Jones

Williams’ Alex Albon has received a three-place grid penalty for April’s Australian Grand Prix as a result of his late-race move on Lance Stroll in Saudi Arabia.

Despite the incident sending both drivers of the track Albon said he wasn’t regretful. The Williams driver came up on the inside of Stroll into the opening chicane, spinning the Aston Martin driver out of P11 and ending his own race prematurely – also bringing out yellow flags in Sector 1 that impacted the lead battle between Charles Leclerc and eventual winner Max Verstappen.

Albon said: “It was a strong defence, but it’s fine. I went for the move. Honestly, we are struggling because we are not great on the brakes, but I went for it. We were fighting for points at the end, and, at least… get some points on the table.

“I don’t really regret the move – for me it was a racing incident.”

Along with the three-place grid penalty for the next race in Melbourne Albon has also received two penalty points.

Hamilton “gutted” after finishing tenth in Saudi Arabia

13:44 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton endured a tough weekend in Saudi Arabia and some unfortune safety car timings meant he could only finish tenth in Jeddah earlier this evening.

The seven-time world champion cannot challenge for race wins while Mercedes are off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull, is hoping for improvements soon.

“It’s gutting but I got one point at least,” Hamilton said on Sky Sports F1. “We both [Hamilton and team-mate George Russell] got points for the team and we’ll keep working hard. I don’t particularly feel like much has changed since the last race. It’s only been a few days.

“What I know today is I couldn’t keep up with the Haas at the end. We’ve got a lot of work to do for sure but I know I’ve got a great team, we’ll keep our heads down and try to improve.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Points on the board for Haas

13:37 , Michael Jones

Kevin Magnussen’s return to Haas has been a roaring success so far. He finished P5 in Bahrain and picked up more points for the American team with a P8 finish in Jeddah. Team principal Guenther Steiner is very pleased with Haas’ results so far this season.

Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

13:26 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc with four laps to go to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Forty-eight hours after a nearby missile strike threatened to cancel the second round of the new Formula One season, Verstappen claimed the first victory of his title defence following a thrilling battle with Leclerc which went to the wire.

Verstappen crossed the line only half-a-second ahead of Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz third and pole-sitter Sergio Perez fourth.

George Russell finished fifth for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton only 10th on an evening to forget for the seven-time world champion.

Hamilton, who started only 15th following one of the worst qualifying performances of his career, made good progress through the field to move up to 10th by the start of lap 14, and then seventh when Mercedes kept him out on old rubber following Nicholas Latifi’s lap-17 crash and the first safety car. That became sixth when he made his way ahead of Kevin Magnussen.

Verstappen pips Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Grand Prix

F1 2022 Driver Standings

13:17 , Michael Jones

  1. Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 45 points.

  2. Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 33.

  3. Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 25.

  4. George Russell, Great Britain, Mercedes, 22.

  5. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 16.

  6. Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 14.

  7. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, 12.

  8. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas F1 Team, 12.

  9. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, 8.

  10. Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 6.

  11. Yuki Tsunoda, Japan, Alphatauri, 4.

  12. Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 4.

  13. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, 2.

  14. Guanyu Zhou, China, Alfa Romeo Racing, 1.

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety technology after high-speed crash at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

13:10 , Michael Jones

Mick Schumacher has hailed the safety technology in Formula One cars after coming through a high-speed crash unscathed at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Schumacher hit the wall with a force of 33G as he pushed to try and make the top 10 in qualifying. The 23-year-old was airlifted to a hospital for further examination before returning to his hotel.

Haas F1 ruled Schumacher out of the race on Sunday and the American team said it would field just one car.

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety after high-speed crash at Saudi Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

13:02 , Michael Jones

Carlos Sainz has said that the FIA must make in-race rulings “more efficiently” after feeling that both he and Sergio Perez were hampered during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

As the pair began to jostle for a potential place on the podium, Red Bull’s Perez had overtaken Sainz’s Ferrari during a safety car period.

That meant the Mexican was required to hand the place back.

However the FIA did not allow Perez to do so until after racing resumed, four laps after the original move was made.

Carlos Sainz demands explanation from FIA over Sergio Perez controversy

Ocon revels in racing with team-mate Alonso

12:54 , Michael Jones

The Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso fought an incredibly close battle early on in Jeddah this evening, which on a few occasions almost led to one or both pink cars ending up in the barrier.

The French team were happy for their drivers to race one another, though and Ocon finished sixth while Alonso retired due to engine failure.

“It was fair racing in the end,” Ocon told Sky Sports F1. “Obviously we’re told by the team we’re allowed to race, and racing closely with Fernando like that is fun. It raises the level of the team. You can follow so much better and DRS is still so powerful. Those new cars mean you can’t get out of DRS. It’s gonna be better everywhere. I have a lot of trust towards Fernando when we race. “

Horner enjoying battle resurgent opponent Ferrari

12:49 , Michael Jones

With Mercedes languishing down the running order for the first time in almost a decade, Red Bull’s challenge is coming from a resurgent rival this season in the former of Ferrari.

Team principal Christian Horner says the Scuderia’s strength is making the battle fascinating already.

“Ferrari is a big team,” Horner said. “They’ve been a sleeping giant for a couple of years but they have great strength in depth. It was a tough but fair race and we enjoyed it.”

Horner praises Verstappen ”patience”

12:43 , Michael Jones

Red Bull team principal has lauded Max Verstappen’s “patience” in taking victory in Saudi Arabia.

“What a great race,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “It was an exciting last few laps but thankfully we had enough to bring it home. It was a very patient race from Max. He looked after the tyres and after that last safety car he really went for it. It’s really unlucky for Checo, he did all the hard work in the early part of the race.”

“Ferrari have got a great car, great drivers. It was a really tough battle and if that’s what we’re set for in the rest of the season, it’s going to be epic.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton opens up on his purpose beyond Formula 1 career

12:37 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has expressed his belief that he must continue to use his “platform” to “apply pressure in an uncomfortable way” and create positive change in Formula 1.

The seven-time world champion has spoken prominently on several social issues, including the need for greater diversity within F1 and - revealing that his perspective has changed as he has gotten older - Hamilton has outlined a need to continue to try and “spark change” from within the sport.

Hamilton told Sky Sports: “My role here, I think, is to continue to hold those conversations, sit with Stefano [Domenicali, F1’s CEO] and say: ‘What are you doing and how can we work together?’

Lewis Hamilton opens up on his purpose beyond F1

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

12:29 , Michael Jones

George Russell has admitted that Mercedes must improve in “leaps and bounds” rather than by making “baby steps” if they are to challenge in 2022.

The German team’s slow start to the new Formula 1 season continued in Saudi Arabia, with Russell finishing a credible fifth, though some way short of challenging the lead quartet.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen took his first victory as defending world champion ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc as the two early pace-setting manufacturers filled out the first four places.

With teammate Lewis Hamilton only able to claw his way up to tenth after qualifying down the grid, the race in Jeddah served as another reminder of just how far Mercedes are behind their potential title rivals.

Russell said afterwards that his new outfit are “struggling to find the silver bullet” that would cause immediate improvement.

George Russell frustrated by Mercedes ‘baby steps’ in pursuit of F1 rivals

Toto Wolff outlines ‘missed opportunity’ for Lewis Hamilton at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

12:21 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff believes that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was a “reflection” of where Mercedes “currently stand”, but admitted to a missed opportunity for Lewis Hamlton during the race.

George Russell finished fifth in Jeddah, behind a lead quartet comprised of Red Bull and Ferrari drivers, while Hamilton could only fight his way up to tenth after starting in 15th place on the grid.

The German team, who have won the last eight Constructors’ Championships, continue to lack the pace of the early 2022 Formula 1 front-runners after the offseason changes to aerodynamic regulations.

Toto Wolff outlines ‘missed opportunity’ for Lewis Hamilton at Saudi Arabian GP

Magnussen pleased with second points finish on return

12:14 , Michael Jones

Kevin Magnussen was in the points again tonight out in Saudi Arabia, as he brought his Haas car home in ninth having started in tenth.

The Dane was only drafted into the team as a late replacement for the sacked Nikita Mazepin 11 days before the beginning of the campaign, and is throughouly enjoying his return so far.

“Happy! the first safety car came at a really bad point. We got some luck back with the virtual safety car at the end and managed to overtake a few,” he told Sky Sports F1.

“Australia has been good in the past [for me] and the car is great at the moment. If we get the most out of the car it should be points again. This year I had out was great, I had a great time and coming back was such a big surprise. I still can’t believe I’m here!”

Norris praises new generations of F1 cars

12:04 , Michael Jones

Lando Norris secured a strong seventh-place finish for McLaren in Saudi Arabia to give the team their first points of the 2022 season.

The 22-year-old raced Esteban Ocon for the line but just missed out on sixth by a couple of tenths of a second, and was quick to praise the effects the new generation of cars are having on overtaking.

“We were helped a little bit with the safety car,” Norris said on Sky Sports F1. “The end was good, we had a chance to score some good points, better than we were expecting. You can get ahead but there’s a lot more chance that the guy is gonna be able to get you back again.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Team standings

11:55 , Michael Jones

Ferrari are dominating the constructors standings after two impressive showings in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. George Russell’s P5 in Jeddeh means that Mercedes cling onto their spot in second but Red Bull have shot up the leaderboard thanks to Max Verstappen’s victory.

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

11:49 , Michael Jones

If you’ve become a fan of Formula 1 in recent years, you will probably be familiar with the term ‘DRS’ - the system which effectively allows for more overtaking.

Following its introduction in 2011, DRS has become a vital part of the sport. It stands for Drag Reduction System and is an adjustable part of the rear wing which, when opened, improves speed by 10-12 kmph.

That doesn’t sound like a lot when cars already travel at around 300kmph, but it can make all the difference along a long straight.

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

‘Every race should be like this’ says Leclerc

11:42 , Michael Jones

Charles Leclerc missed out on victory in the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP by just 0.549s in an exhilarating late-race duel with Max Verstappen.

Leclerc took the lead after pitting under the first Safety Car, after leader Sergio Perez had taken the decision to pit just a lap prior to that in green flag conditions. Leclerc seemed to be cruising to his second victory of the season with Max Verstappen unable to catch him. However, the Red Bull driver closed in after a late Virtual Safety Car and passed Leclerc for the lead after an incredible late-race duel.

Leclerc spoke after the race and relished his wheel-to-wheel bout with the reigning champion although he was disappointed not to come out on top.

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my god, I really enjoyed the race,” he said. “Again, it was hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun. I am of course disappointed – I wanted to win today. It was very, very tricky. I tried to have the DRS in the last corner. It worked twice, but it didn’t the last time.

“We were quick in the corners but quite slow in the straights because we put more downforce, so it was extremely difficult to cover Max in the straights. But it’s like this – he did a great job and it was a fun race.”

‘Work to do’ for Hamilton and Mercedes

11:35 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton had a weekend to forget in Saudi Arabia after failing to make it through the first stage of qualifying. He was due to start the race 16th on the grid but McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was given a grid penalty moving Hamilton up to P15.

The seven-time Formula 1 world champions worked his way up to sixth but a late pit-stop dropped him out of the points before retirements for Valtteri Bottas, Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso ensured he finished the race P10.

Hamilton’s race was also hurt by the timing of a pit lane closure caused by the incidents of the latter two drivers.

“Personally, I feel like I maximised everything,” explained Hamilton. “I don’t know if we did as a team, but it is what it is. Move on.

“It was a difficult one. I saw Alonso slowing down, it was double yellow flags so I didn’t push to overtake him, then Daniel was stuck in the pit lane so I didn’t know if I could go in [the pits] with the car just sitting there. It was just not great. Anyways, it is what it is.

“The learnings are there that we are quite a bit off pace-wise, and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ to beat Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia

11:29 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen has outlined the “smart tricks” he had to play to pip Charles Leclerc to victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver got the defence of his F1 world title up-and-running with a late triumph in Jeddah, passing Leclerc in the Ferrari with four laps to go and holding on.

Having been forced to retire in Bahrain a week ago, it was a much more pleasing outing for Verstappen, who again looks likely to be a leading contender for the Drivers’ Championship.

The Dutchman and Leclerc had also engaged in a thrilling duel at the Bahrain Grand Prix as the Ferrari driver eventually took victory.

The pair’s burgeoning rivalry could be a feature of the season and Verstappen enjoyed their back-and-forth battle in Saudi Arabia

Max Verstappen reveals ‘smart tricks’ to beat Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia

Lewis Hamilton unaware of F1 points rules after ‘s***’ Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

11:23 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton had to question whether he would receive a point for finishing tenth during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after a “tough day in the office”.

Hamilton endured a difficult weekend in Jeddah, qualifying 15th and starting with his worst spot on the grid in 14 years.

Despite Mercedes again struggling to match their rivals for speed as the team struggle to adapt to overhauled aerodynamic regulations, the seven-time world champion was able to fight his way up to sixth, before pitting late in the race to drop back down the field.

He was able to gain two places in the final laps to take a place in the top ten.

Lewis Hamilton unaware of F1 points rules after ‘s***’ Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton pinpoints two areas for Mercedes improvement after Saudi Arabian GP

11:14 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton has picked out a need for “more grip” and “more power” as areas of improvement for Mercedes after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The German team were again off-the-pace in Jeddah, with Hamilton fighting his way up to tenth after qualifying down the grid.

George Russell finished fifth but could not provide a realistic challenge to either Red Bull or Ferrari, who filled out the first four places.

An offseason overhaul of aerodynamic regulations has proved to be to Mercedes’ detriment, with ‘porpoising’ a persistent issue and Hamilton and Russell evidently short of pure pace down the straights.

Hamilton thinks that parts of the car’s performance were better in Saudi Arabia, but admits that there is a big gap to be closed.

Lewis Hamilton pinpoints two areas for Mercedes improvement after Saudi Arabian GP

Dejected Perez discusses safety car misfortune

11:09 , Michael Jones

Speaking after the race yesterday, a dejected Sergio Perez told Sky Sports F1 about his misfortune with the safety car, which cost him three places from the lead after he pitted just before Nicholas Latifi hit the wall.

Perez qualified for the race in pole position but the mishap from Latifi meant he could only earn a fourth place finish for Red Bull.

“This is just racing, especially in this place we knew we could be in that situation,” Perez explained. “Things were looking really good but unfortunately Latifi just put it into the wall at the wrong time for me. It hurts because we did everything we possible could to win this race from pole. It will come back around some time.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

‘P5 was the maximum’ says Russell

10:58 , Michael Jones

Mercedes’ George Russell put the team in the top five on race day, having beaten his team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying by securing sixth on the grid.

Following the race Russell claimed that his P5 finish was the most he could have hoped to achieve on Sunday night.

“P5 was the maximum today,” he said. “We would have loved to have had more but the car actually felt really nice to drive. We know what we are lacking and that’s downforce, but I think we got the car in a really nice window this race.

“I was pushing as hard as I could and that was really cool. It was probably the most physical race I have experienced in Formula 1, which was cool to have the body pushed to the limits. That concentration throughout 50 laps on a street circuit like this, high speed, it was cool. But I want to be doing this fighting for victories, not P5 all by myself.

“You always want to take the positives from a difficult situation, but we are not here to settle for that. We can’t walk away being pleased with that.”

On to Melbourne

10:50 , Michael Jones

Next up in the Formula 1 calender is the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. The race weekend takes place on 8th-10th April so the teams now have a couple of weeks to work on the cars.

Will it be another match-up between Ferrari and Red Bull or can Mercedes use this break to improve their car and bounce back with a bang?

Toto Wolff takes positive from Lewis Hamilton performance

10:44 , Michael Jones

“The encouraging side is that his pace on the hard was positive,” said Wolff, in reference to the Briton’s opening showing on that tyre. “We couldn’t tell if it was fast but it was positive.

“Alonso slowed down during the lap, Ricciardo broke down in the entry and we told him to come in but there was a double yellow with one car slowing down and one stationary so it was a confusing situation.

“He passed by and slowed down because of the confusion which made us come out behind [Kevin] Magnussen, then it’s game over.”

Toto Wolff admits to enduring ‘exercise in humility’ after tough F1 season start for Mercedes

10:37 , Michael Jones

Toto Wolff admits he is enduring an “exercise in humility” after Mercedes’ tough start to the 2022 F1 season.

“We have had the luxury of being right in the middle of those fun games for the last eight years,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“Actually luxury is the wrong word. We were right in the middle of those fun games in the front, and talking as a Formula 1 stakeholder we’re benefiting from a great show that is really spectacular to look at.

“On the other side, it is extremely painful to not be part of those fun games by quite a chunk of lap time deficit.

“We’re not going to rest until we are back in the mix. It is no fun at all and an exercise in humility. It’s going to make us stronger even though it’s not fun right now.”

Verstappen vs Leclerc

10:29 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc have certainly provided a lot of excitement for Formula 1 fans over the course of the first two Grand Prix’s of the 2022 season.

They went wheel-to-wheel in Bahrain with Leclerc winning the race and Verstappen retiring after suffering a power loss. In Saudi Arabia the two clashed again but this time Verstappen left it until late in the race to overtake the Ferrari on the home straight and earn his first victory of the season.

Here’s a look at some of the best moments of Sunday’s race between the two title contenders.

F1 marshal removed from Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after tweet about Lewis Hamilton

10:24 , Michael Jones

A Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marshal was removed before the race after saying on Twitter he hoped seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton suffered an accident similar to Romain Grosjean’s fiery crash in Bahrain in 2020.

A spokesman for Formula One’s governing body said the unnamed marshal, writing in Arabic, would play no further part in the race weekend in Jeddah.

The marshal apologised in a subsequent tweet to the Saudi motorsport and motorcycle federation and to Mercedes driver Hamilton, who said on Friday he wanted to see more change in the kingdom.

F1 marshal removed from Saudi Grand Prix after Lewis Hamilton tweet

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety technology after high-speed crash at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

10:19 , Michael Jones

Mick Schumacher has hailed the safety technology in Formula One cars after coming through a high-speed crash unscathed at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Schumacher hit the wall with a force of 33G as he pushed to try and make the top 10 in qualifying. The 23-year-old was airlifted to a hospital for further examination before returning to his hotel.

Haas F1 ruled Schumacher out of the race on Sunday and the American team said it would field just one car.

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety after high-speed crash at Saudi Grand Prix

Verstappen kick starts Red Bull’s season with win in Jeddah

10:11 , Michael Jones

Red Bull came back strong in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after both cars were forced to retire in the first race of the season in Bahrain.

Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen won the second race of the season after holding off a late challenge from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and although Red Bull Sergio Perez lost places to the Ferrari’s he still managed a P4 finish to get his first points of the season.

Hamilton “gutted” after finishing tenth in Saudi Arabia

10:03 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton endured a tough weekend in Saudi Arabia and some unfortune safety car timings meant he could only finish tenth in Jeddah earlier this evening.

The seven-time world champion cannot challenge for race wins while Mercedes are off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull, is hoping for improvements soon.

“It’s gutting but I got one point at least,” Hamilton said on Sky Sports F1. “We both [Hamilton and team-mate George Russell] got points for the team and we’ll keep working hard. I don’t particularly feel like much has changed since the last race. It’s only been a few days.

“What I know today is I couldn’t keep up with the Haas at the end. We’ve got a lot of work to do for sure but I know I’ve got a great team, we’ll keep our heads down and try to improve.”

Drivers unhappy racing in Saudi Arabia

09:56 , Michael Jones

Lewis Hamilton is one of a few Formula 1 drivers happy that the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is now over admitting after the race that he ‘just wanted to go home’.

Hamilton was believed to be one of the drivers strongly in favour of cancelling the race after an missile struck an oil refinery a few miles from the race track on Friday. The explosion led to a driver’s meeting in between practice session and almost resulted in a boycott of the race.

That meeting lasted four hours and after discussions about the Saudi regime’s appalling human rights record, fears for the safety of their teams, and the missile strike itself the drivers were ultimately persuaded to continue the weekend and race.

“I am so happy the weekend is done,” said Hamilton. “I am so happy that everyone is safe, I am just looking forward to getting out. I just want to go home.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won the Grand Prix on Sunday and confirmed afterwards that the matter was not closed and the drivers would demand more answers from F1 about racing in Saudi Arabia in the future. The sport currently has a reported $900m contract for a decade of races in the controversial country.

“We had a lot of guarantees that of course it would be safe but after this weekend all the drivers together, we will speak with F1 and the team bosses to see what is happening for the future,” he said.

McLaren’s Lando Norris added: “Of course, I am relieved [to have got through the weekend], it is a nervous place to be and you are going to have these nerves.”

Binotto relishing battle between Leclerc and Verstappen

09:50 , Michael Jones

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is enjoying an exceptional start to the 2022 Formula 1 season, with his drivers first and second in the drivers’ standing and his team far ahead in the constructors’ too.

The Italian has overseen a resurgence in the team’s fortunes compared with 2020 and 2021 and is now relishing the battle with Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

“First our congratulations goes to Red Bull and Max,” he told Sky Sports F1. “He drove very well. It has been a great spectacle to see those two guys battling at the front. We can be very pleased. Charles [Leclerc] has a lot of talent and he proved again he can fight with Max at that level. It is very good for F1 and a fantastic start to the season.”

Hamilton ‘not fighting’ for title just yet

09:42 , Michael Jones

Following his 10th place finish in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton said that his Mercedes team were a long way off fighting for the championship title and need to do more work on their W13 car.

“Right now we’re not fighting for the top step,” he said. “We’re so far off the guys up ahead. We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need more grip and we need more power.”

Hamilton did say that one positive to come out of the race was the fact that his car did not suffer any ‘porpoising’ - bouncing up and down at high speed - which has been a feature of Mercedes’ start to the season but that was little consolation when the car’s performance is so far behind that of Red Bull and Ferrari.

“We’re still really down on the speed trace,” he said. “I don’t know what it is. It’s not just one fix. There are several things. I don’t know how much drag we have relative to the others but it feels like a lot. It [the title race] feels like a long way away.”

F1’s racing revolution breathes new life into Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s rivalry

09:32 , Michael Jones

It is not often that a professional athlete revels in the fun of being narrowly beaten in the final stages of a rip-roaring sporting contest by a long-time adversary, but that is exactly what Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc did after finishing less than a second behind Max Verstappen in Formula 1’s stellar Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday evening.

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my God I really enjoyed that race... Every race should be like this!”, beamed the Monegasque in his post-race interview, the sweat tumbling down his cheeks in the thick Gulf heat after just under two hours spent touring one of the most physically punishing and downright dangerous tracks in world motorsport at speeds which quite literally verge on breakneck.

That he had finished only second having spent the vast majority of the race in first place was not Leclerc’s primary concern once the chequered flag had waved; instead, the sheer thrill of tussling so closely out front with Verstappen was enough to render the Ferrari driver positively giddy about the season to come.

Racing revamp breathes new life into Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc’s rivalry

Verstappen revels in Jeddah victory

09:26 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen has been discussing his victory in Saudi Arabia saying he relished the battle with Charles Leclerc in the final stages.

“It was really tough but a good race,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We were battling hard and tried to play the long game. The tyres were wearing out quite quick. At the end we had a bit more pace. It wasn’t easy playing smart tricks in the final corner. Really happy that we finally kickstarted the season.

“It seems like once you get quite close you can have a good exit, and that makes it a lot more tricky to make a pass in the last corner. You really have to plan your pass.

On his part, Leclerc looked disappointed after being unable to score a second successive victory, but was full of praise for the winner saying:

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my God I really enjoyed that race! It’s hard but fair. Every race should be like this. Of course I’m disappointed but every race should be like this.

“It was extremely difficult for me to cover Max on the straights but he did a great job. [Respect] has always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. We’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before, to the absolute limit.”

Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

09:18 , Michael Jones

Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc with four laps to go to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Forty-eight hours after a nearby missile strike threatened to cancel the second round of the new Formula One season, Verstappen claimed the first victory of his title defence following a thrilling battle with Leclerc which went to the wire.

Verstappen crossed the line only half-a-second ahead of Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz third and pole-sitter Sergio Perez fourth.

Verstappen pips Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Grand Prix

George Russell reveals Mercedes taking ‘baby steps’ to catching F1 rivals

09:00 , Jack Rathborn

“Pushing flat out, I was really pleased with the performance from my personal side. It was really managed and I did my best to keep up with the Red Bulls, especially after the restart.

“But we’re a second behind them, generally, and we’ve got work to do. We have a better handle of the race pace than the quali pace, but the inherent issues are still there.

“When I look at the result we finished 30 seconds behind - I think there were 30 laps after the safety car [following Nicholas Latifi‘s crash] - so that’s how far behind we are.

“We’re continuing to learn but at the moment we’re making baby steps and we need to make leaps and bounds.

“We’re struggling to find the silver bullet to resolve our issues. I’ve no doubt when we do that, we’ll find a chunk of lap time, but it’s easier said than done.”

Max Verstappen provides racing insight under new F1 regulations

08:50 , Jack Rathborn

“Even after that, he was constantly in the DRS and then with the yellow flags on the last lap, just knowing how much you should lift, whether it was allowed or not, it was tough,” Max Verstappen said after victory in Saudi Arabia, with Charles Leclerc battling right until the chequered flag.

“It seems like once you get quite close, because when the cars get within half a second you can actually have a good exit. I think that makes it a lot more tricky to actually do the pass in the last corner compared to last year, so it’s a lot harder to plan your pass.

“But I’m really happy we finally kick-started the season.”

Toto Wolff takes positive from Lewis Hamilton performance

08:40 , Jack Rathborn

“The encouraging side is that his pace on the hard was positive,” said Wolff, in reference to the Briton’s opening showing on that tyre. “We couldn’t tell if it was fast but it was positive.

“Alonso slowed down during the lap, Ricciardo broke down in the entry and we told him to come in but there was a double yellow with one car slowing down and one stationary so it was a confusing situation.

“He passed by and slowed down because of the confusion which made us come out behind [Kevin] Magnussen, then it’s game over.”

Toto Wolff admits to enduring ‘exercise in humility’ after tough F1 season start for Mercedes

08:31 , Jack Rathborn

Toto Wolff admits he is enduring an “exercise in humility” after Mercedes’ tough start to the 2022 F1 season.

“We have had the luxury of being right in the middle of those fun games for the last eight years,” said the Mercedes team principal.

“Actually luxury is the wrong word. We were right in the middle of those fun games in the front, and talking as a Formula 1 stakeholder we’re benefiting from a great show that is really spectacular to look at.

“On the other side, it is extremely painful to not be part of those fun games by quite a chunk of lap time deficit.

“We’re not going to rest until we are back in the mix. It is no fun at all and an exercise in humility. It’s going to make us stronger even though it’s not fun right now.”

F1 2022 Manufacturers Standings

08:22 , Jack Rathborn

  1. Ferrari, 78.

  2. Mercedes, 38.

  3. Red Bull Racing, 37.

  4. Alpine, 16.

  5. Haas F1 Team, 12.

  6. Alfa Romeo Racing, 9.

  7. Alphatauri, 8.

  8. McLaren, 6.

  9. Aston Martin, 0.

  10. Williams, 0.

F1 2022 Driver Standings

08:15 , Jack Rathborn

  1. Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 45 points.

  2. Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 33.

  3. Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 25.

  4. George Russell, Great Britain, Mercedes, 22.

  5. Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 16.

  6. Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 14.

  7. Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, 12.

  8. Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas F1 Team, 12.

  9. Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, 8.

  10. Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 6.

  11. Yuki Tsunoda, Japan, Alphatauri, 4.

  12. Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 4.

  13. Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, 2.

  14. Guanyu Zhou, China, Alfa Romeo Racing, 1.

Max Verstappen admits he needed to play ‘smart tricks’ to overcome Charles Leclerc

08:10 , Jack Rathborn

Max Verstappen admits he was forced to play “smart tricks” to overcome Charles Leclerc at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“It was a really tough but good race,” said the Dutchman. “We were battling hard at the front and we (Red Bull) just tried to play the long game.

“They (Ferrari) were really quick through corners, we were quick on the straight, but the tyres were wearing out quite quick around here.

“You could see at the end we had a 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.”

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix results

08:05 , Jack Rathborn

  1. (4) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 50 laps, 1:24:19.293, 25 points.

  2. (2) Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, 50, +0.549 seconds, 19.3.

  3. (3) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 50, +8.097, 15.

  4. (1) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, 50, +10.800, 12.

  5. (6) George Russell, Great Britain, Mercedes, 50, +32.732, 10.

  6. (5) Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 50, +56.017, 8.

  7. (11) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, 50, +56.124, 6.

  8. (9) Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 50, +1:02.946, 4.

  9. (10) Kevin Magnussen, Denmark, Haas F1 Team, 50, +1:04.308, 2.

  10. (15) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 50, +1:13.948, 1.

  11. (12) Guanyu Zhou, China, Alfa Romeo Racing, 50, +1:22.215.

  12. (17) Nico Hulkenberg, Germany, Aston Martin, 50, +1:31.742.

  13. (13) Lance Stroll, Canada, Aston Martin, 49, +1 lap.

  14. (16) Alexander Albon, Thailand, Williams, did not finish, 47.

  15. (8) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, did not finish, 36.

  16. (7) Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, did not finish, 35.

  17. (14) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, McLaren, did not finish, 35.

  18. (18) Nicholas Latifi, Canada, Williams, did not finish, 14.

(Start position in parentheses)

Charles Leclerc admits Max Verstappen understood his DRS mind games

08:00 , Jack Rathborn

Charles Leclerc admits Max Verstappen understood his DRS mind games to edge his Ferrari out and take the victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“I knew my weakness was straight-line speed compared to the Red Bull’s,” said Leclerc, talking to Sky Sports F1.

“It worked once and then the second time he understood so he braked very early. It was fun, I like the racing like this – the new regulations are definitely working.”

“It was tricky today. I will look back at the race but I don’t think there was much more I could do. One opportunity we missed with the yellow flags in Turn 1, so we didn’t have the DRS there which could have been an opportunity to be alongside Max at the end of the straight.

“We are working very well as a team. I think the only thing would have been a lower downforce level.”

Lewis Hamilton confusion after ‘s***’ result in Saudi Arabia

07:53 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton appeared to admit he did not realise he had gained a point for Mercedes despite a ‘s***’ result to finish 10th at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Speaking on the radio after the race in Jeddah, Hamilton’s race engineer, Pete Bonnington, said: “Okay Lewis, so that’s P10.

“Sorry about that. It’s a bit of a s*** result given all the hard work.”

Hamilton replied: “Is there even a point for that position?”

“Yeah, we do get a point,” Bonnington confirmed.

Hamilton then finished: “That was a tough day in the office guys but thank you so much for trying.”

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

07:45 , Jack Rathborn

If you’ve become a fan of Formula 1 in recent years, you will probably be familiar with the term ‘DRS’ - the system which effectively allows for more overtaking.

Following its introduction in 2011, DRS has become a vital part of the sport. It stands for Drag Reduction System and is an adjustable part of the rear wing which, when opened, improves speed by 10-12 kmph.

That doesn’t sound like a lot when cars already travel at around 300kmph, but it can make all the difference along a long straight.

What is DRS in Formula 1, what does it mean and how does it work?

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety technology after high-speed crash at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

07:40 , Jack Rathborn

Mick Schumacher has hailed the safety technology in Formula One cars after coming through a high-speed crash unscathed at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Schumacher hit the wall with a force of 33G as he pushed to try and make the top 10 in qualifying. The 23-year-old was airlifted to a hospital for further examination before returning to his hotel.

Haas F1 ruled Schumacher out of the race on Sunday and the American team said it would field just one car.

Mick Schumacher hails F1 safety after high-speed crash at Saudi Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton happy to go home after eventful Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

07:33 , Jack Rathborn

Lewis Hamilton said he was looking forward to getting out of Saudi Arabia following Sunday’s controversial race.

The second round of the new Formula One season had been in doubt 48 hours earlier following a nearby missile strike on an oil refinery during first practice.

After an extraordinary four-hour meeting on Friday night, the drivers were ready to withdraw, only to be talked round by F1 bosses following assurances from Saudi authorities.

Lewis Hamilton happy to go home after eventful Saudi Grand Prix

Standings before F1 heads to Australia

Sunday 27 March 2022 21:56 , Dan Austin

F1 travels to Australia in a fortnight’s time for the first Grand Prix at Melbourne since March 2019.

Ferrari will likely battle Red Bull out front again, and this is how the top half of the drivers’ championship looks heading into round three:

1) Leclerc - 45

2) Sainz - 33

3) Verstappen - 25

4) Russell - 22

5) Hamilton - 16

6) Ocon - 14

7) Perez - 12

8) Magnussen - 12

9) Bottas - 8

10) Norris - 6

Max Verstappen pips Charles Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Sunday 27 March 2022 21:41 , Dan Austin

Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc with four laps to go to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Forty-eight hours after a nearby missile strike threatened to cancel the second round of the new Formula One season, Verstappen claimed the first victory of his title defence following a thrilling battle with Leclerc which went to the wire.

Verstappen crossed the line only half-a-second ahead of Leclerc, with Carlos Sainz third and pole-sitter Sergio Perez fourth.

You can read the full story here:

Verstappen pips Leclerc to win thrilling Saudi Grand Prix

Binotto relishing battle between Leclerc and Verstappen

Sunday 27 March 2022 21:26 , Dan Austin

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto is enjoying a sensational start to the 2022 F1 season, with his drivers first and second in the drivers’ standing and his team far ahead in the constructors’ too.

The Italian has overseen a resurgence in the team’s fortunes compared with 2020 and 2021 and is now relishing the battle with Red Bull and Max Verstappen.

“First our congratulations goes to Red Bull and Max,” he told Sky Sports F1. “He drove very well. It has been a great spectacle to see those two guys battling at the front. We can be very pleased. Charles has a lot of talent and he proved today again he can fight with Max at that level. It is very good for F1 and a fantastic start to the season.

Hamilton “gutted” after finishing tenth in Saudi Arabia

Sunday 27 March 2022 21:11 , Dan Austin

Lewis Hamilton endured a tough weekend in Saudi Arabia and some unfortune safety car timings meant he could only finish tenth in Jeddah earlier this evening.

The seven-time world champion cannot challenge for race wins while Mercedes are off the pace of Ferrari and Red Bull, is hoping for improvements soon.

“It’s gutting but I got one point at least,” Hamilton said on Sky Sports F1. “We both [Hamilton and team-mate George Russell] got points for the team and we’ll keep working hard. I don’t particularly feel like much has changed since the last race. It’s only been a few days. What I know today is I couldn’t keep up with the Haas at the end. We’ve got a lot of work to do for sure but I know I’ve got a great team, we’ll keep our heads down and try to improve.

Russell calls Saudi Arabia “most physical race” ever

Sunday 27 March 2022 20:56 , Dan Austin

Mercedes driver George Russell says the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was the biggest physical challenge he has faced in Formula 1.

“That was the maximum today,” he told Sky Sports F1. “It was quite an enjoyable race considering I was out on my own throughout. It was the most physical race I’ve experience in Formula 1. But I want to be doing this for victories, not for P5, so we have work to do.”

“The car was feeling generally good, the balance was great, we just lack overall grip. That level of concentration mixed with incredibly high speed corners is a cool experience. All the drivers are pushed to the limit.”

Magnussen pleased with second points finish on return

Sunday 27 March 2022 20:41 , Dan Austin

Kevin Magnussen was in the points again tonight out in Saudi Arabia, as he brought his Haas car home in ninth having started in tenth.

The Dane was only drafted into the team as a late replacement for the sacked Nikita Mazepin 11 days before the beginning of the campaign, and is throughouly enjoying his return so far.

“Happy! the first safety car came at a really bad point. We got some luck back with the virtual safety car at the end and managed to overtake a few,” he told Sky Sports F1. “Australia has been good in the past [for me] and the car is great at the moment. If we get the most out of the car it should be points again. This year I had out was great, I had a great time and coming back was such a big surprise. I still can’t believe I’m here!”

Ocon revels in racing with team-mate Alonso

Sunday 27 March 2022 20:26 , Dan Austin

The Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso fought an incredibly close battle early on in Jeddah this evening, which on a few occasions almost led to one or both pink cars ending up in the barrier.

The French team were happy for their drivers to race one another, though and Ocon finished sixth while Alonso retired due to engine failure.

“It was fair racing in the end,” Ocon told Sky Sports F1. “Obviously we’re told by the team we’re allowed to race, and racing closely with Fernando like that is fun. It raises the level of the team. You can follow so much better and DRS is still so powerful. Those new cars mean you can’t get out of DRS. It’s gonna be better everywhere. I have a lot of trust towards Fernando when we race. “

Norris praises new generations of F1 cars

Sunday 27 March 2022 20:15 , Dan Austin

Lando Norris secured a strong seventh-place finish for McLaren in Saudi Arabia to give the team their first points of the 2022 season.

The 22-year-old raced Esteban Ocon for the line but just missed out on sixth by a couple of tenths of a second, and was quick to praise the effects the new generation of cars are having on overtaking.

“We were helped a little bit with the safety car,” Norris said on Sky Sports F1. “The end was good, we had a chance to score some good points, better than we were expecting. You can get ahead but there’s a lot more chance that the guy is gonna be able to get you back again.”

Dejected Perez discusses safety car misfortune

Sunday 27 March 2022 20:07 , Dan Austin

A dejected Sergio Perez has been talking about his misfortune with the safety car, which cost him three places from the lead after he pitted just before Nicholas Latifi hit the wall.

“This is just racing, especially in this place we knew we could be in that situation,” Perez explained to Sky Sports F1. “Things were looking really good but unfortunately Latifi just put it into the wall at the wrong time for me. It hurts because we did everything we possible could to win this race from pole. It will come back around some time.”

Horner enjoying battle resurgent opponent Ferrari

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:52 , Dan Austin

With Mercedes languishing down the running order for the first time in almost a decade, Red Bull’s challenge is coming from a resurgent rival this season in the former of Ferrari.

Team principal Christian Horner says the Scuderia’s strength is making the battle fascinating already.

“Ferrari is a big team,” Horner said. “They’ve been a sleeping giant for a couple of years but they have great strength in depth. It was a tough but fair race and we enjoyed it.”

Horner praises Verstappen ”patience”

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:50 , Dan Austin

Red Bull team principal has lauded Max Verstappen’s “patience” in taking victory in Saudi Arabia.

“What a great race,” Horner told Sky Sports F1. “It was an exciting last few laps but thankfully we had enough to bring it home. It was a very patient race from Max. He looked after the tyres and after that last safety car he really went for it. It’s really unlucky for Checo, he did all the hard work in the early part of the race.”

“Ferrari have got a great car, great drivers. It was a really tough battle and if that’s what we’re set for in the rest of the season, it’s going to be epic.”

Drivers standings after Verstappen wins in Saudi Arabia

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:47 , Dan Austin

Here’s an update on the top of the drivers’ standings after Max Verstappen’s victory in Jeddah:

1) Leclerc - 45

2) Sainz - 33

3) Verstappen - 25

4) Russell - 22

5) Hamilton - 16

6) Ocon - 14

7) Perez - 12

8) Magnussen - 12

9) Bottas - 8

10) Norris - 6

Stewards investigating yellow flag violations

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:42 , Dan Austin

Notice has come from the stewards that they are investigating various drivers for failing to slow down sufficiently under yellow flags.

Carlos Sainz, Sergio Perez and Kevin Magnussen are the men who could potentially be in hot water.

The final race results could perhaps change later tonight...

Leclerc praises Verstappen for taking win

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:40 , Dan Austin

Charles Leclerc looks disappointed after being unable to score a second successive victory, but is full of praise for the winner.

“It wasn’t enough today but oh my God I really enjoyed that race!,” he told Sky Sports F1. “It’s hard but fair. Every race should be like this. Of course I’m disappointed but every race should be like this. It was extremely difficult for me to cover Max on the straights but he did a great job. [Respect] has always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. We’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before, to the absolute limit.”

Verstappen revels in Jeddah victory

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:39 , Dan Austin

Max Verstappen has been discussing his victory in Saudi Arabia, and relished the battle with Charles Leclerc in the final stages.

“It was really tough but a good race,” he told Sky Sports F1. “We were battling hard and tried to play the long game. The tyres were wearing out quite quick. At the end we had a bit more pace. It wasn’t easy playing smart tricks in the final corner. Really happy that we finally kickstarted the season.

“It seems like once you get quite close you can have a good exit, and that makes it a lot more tricky to make a pass in the last corner. You really have to plan your pass.

Final results

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:38 , Dan Austin

Here are the final race results from Saudi Arabia:

1. Verstappen

2. Leclerc

3. Sainz

4. Perez

5. Russell

6. Ocon

7. Norris

8. Gasly

9. Magnussen

10. Hamilton

11. Zhou

12. Hulkenberg

13. Stroll

DNF Albon

DNF Bottas

DNF Alonso

DNF Ricciardo

DNF Latifi

DNF Tsunoda

Verstappen brings home superb win for Red Bull

Sunday 27 March 2022 19:30 , Dan Austin

That was an absolutely enthralling race for the line between Verstappen and Leclerc. The Dutchman eventually chose his moment perfectly and Leclerc just didn’t have enough life in the tyres to overtake again.

The world champion is off and running for 2022.

Click here to read the full blog on The Independent's website