Max Verstappen has won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after an intense battle to the chequered flag with Charles Leclerc – who finished in second, .5s off the pace.
The pair were swapping the lead role for several laps, but the charging bull ultimately came off best this time out.
Joining them on the podium was the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, who was shadowed by Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull. He started from his first pole position and ended the race in fourth.
As Ferrari and Red Bull fast become the main rivals of the 2022 season, Max Verstappen told Sky Sports: “It was really tough but a good race. We were battling hard at the front and we just tried to play the long game.
“They were really quick through the corners and we were really quick on the straight. The tyres were wearing our quite quickly around here.
“You could see at the end, we had a little bit more pace. It wasn’t easy but eventually managed to get ahead.
“I’m really happy that we’ve finally kick-started the season.”
Charles Leclerc then said: “Oh my god! I really enjoyed that race,” Leclerc says. “It’s hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun, I’m of course disappointed, we wanted to win today.”
He then said he has respect for Max Verstappen as a driver and went on to say: “It’s always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. We’re on a street track, we’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before to the absolute limit, and we take risks at the end, so of course, there is respect.”