Jeddah – Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen held off the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc to win Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz in the other Ferrari was third with Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s teammate who had set off from pole, in fourth.
Verstappen was securing his first points of the season after retiring late on behind winner Leclerc in the season-opener in Bahrain last weekend.
“We were battling hard at the front. It was tough. I’m really happy we’ve finally kick-started the season,” said Verstappen.
Despite defeat, Leclerc maintains his world championship lead after two rounds.
“It wasn’t enough today, but I really enjoyed that race. It’s hard racing but it’s fair, every race should be like this. It was fun, I’m obviously disappointed, I wanted to win today,” he said.
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Merecedes’ deposed seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who endured his worst qualifying since 2017 on Saturday, set off in the unfamiliar surroundings of 15th on the grid and crossed the line in 10th.
Two drivers failed to make the start – with Mick Schumacher absent after his horror crash in qualifying, and Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri packing up in the warm-up lap.
The race only went ahead following lengthy talks in the aftermath of Friday’s missile strike by Yemen’s Huthi rebels on the nearby Aramco fuel plant.