Rate the Race and Driver of the weekend – Race 2, Jeddah street circuit, Saudi Arabia, 2022
Mean Reader score7.4 Rated 1/2 races this season
This was the second GP at this circuit and scored a little higher than last year’s inaugural score of 7.1. Once again controversy ruled supreme here but this year it was not only the appalling Human Rights record of this country which was under the spotlight but also the fact that there was an ‘air strike’ on a petrol facility a few miles away from the track just ahead of one of the free practice sessions. The drivers were up late deciding whether to race at all this year when they ‘discovered’ their safe passage from the country could not be guaranteed if the race did not go ahead. (!?) (This was not an April Fool’s ruse). Anyway, back to burying our heads in the sand and let’s just get on with this ‘report.’
Having overcome said late night, Perez took the first ever pole of his career. Sadly his fifteen minutes of fame only lasted about that long, as Ferrari pulled a magnificent dummy on Red Bull, forcing Perez to pit early whilst Leclerc stayed out and took the lead of the race. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the following lap, Latiffi made his second visit into the barriers and caused a yellow flag, s VSC and a full safety car. Oh dear. Red Bull weren’t having a good race, as the rest of the field pitted for fresh tyres under the safety car and poor old Perez, could do nothing about it, except trundle slowly around the track. The re-start wasn’t much better as he ‘pushed Sainz off the track’ when Sainz emerged from the pits, and had to give the place back(but not until after the re-start). It’s not as if Ferrari and Red Bull were the only ones having a difficult time, as Tsunoda didn’t make it to the starting line due to engine failure on the formation lap. The two alpines were slugging it out in the early laps, on the road to worn out tyres and null points. Russel thrashed Hamilton this race and Magnussen continued to earn his keep at Hass by coming home in P9 and scoring ANOTHER two points for Hass this week, bringing their total to 12 points.
Again this week it was Leclerc and Verstappen who provided most of the entertainment by attacking and counter attacking for the lead. Once more, it looked as if Leclerc was trying to ‘deliberately’ hang back to get DRS down the strait, as he had done last race. This week, though it only worked once, as the second time he tried it both Leclerc and Verstappen locked up, with Leclerc gaining the advantage and even though Versatppen had DRS Leclerc was too far ahead for DRS to be of use to Verstappen. It was third time lucky for Verstappen who finally seemed to get the measure of Leclerc and, showing patience was in fact a virtue, hung back, got DRS and powered his way past Leclerc and into the lead on Lap 46. Phew, no wonder our esteemed leaders couldn’t choose between them for our Driver of the weekend accolade!
Driver of the WeekendSplit this week between Max Verstappen and Charles lclerc, both on 33.3% of reader Vote.
I can’t help feeling some of the voters in this pole are not taking it seriously….. as they voted for Sebastian Vettel as Driver of the Weekend; having said that, this single vote may have been cast before lunch on Friday, (HA HA HA APRIL FOOL !!!!) (The more alert of you may have noticed that Vettel was not in the race this weekend as for the second race running this season, he was out of the weekend as he tested positive for Covid prior to both sessions). No matter, their one vote made no difference to the outcome of the poll as it was even-steven’s between the winner of the first Race, (Leclerc) and the current WDC, Verstappen. As far as I’m aware this has never happened before? (Not an April fool’s joke this time).
Well, I can see why the vote was split….. it was a cracker of a race (the best this season!!!) and the finish certainly left me on the edge of my seat wondering who would win. A good comeback for the current WDC who managed to score a DNF last time out and take P1 in this race. With a score of 25 points he has gone from last in the standings to P3, behind the leader Charles Leclerc (on 45 points) and his Ferrari teammate , Sainz, (on 33 points).Well done Max and Charles!!