Verstappen will shockingly start 14th on the grid, following a driveshaft failure.
The stage is all set for the second race of the 2023 Formula 1 season, as the drivers roll up their sleeves to take on the tricky and swift tracks of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. The 6.175km long track consists of 27 turns and has been widely regarded as a track that showcases Formula One’s spectacular speed to the maximum. But this high speedy track is often what spices things up and makes the Saudi Arabian GP so special, as the narrow tracks added with its intricate turns, provide tons of opportunities for mistakes.
Defending champion Max Verstappen won the previous edition of the Saudi Arabian GP. He also started the F1 2023 season with a bang after a dominating win in Bahrain. However, unfortunately, things haven’t gone to plan for the Dutch driver in Jeddah, as even before the start of the race, Verstappen had a major blow in the qualifying session on Saturday. He was forced out at Q2, as a result of which he will have to start 15th on the grid on Sunday.
While there was agony on one half of Red Bull, fortunes were exceedingly contradictory on the other, as Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez managed to claim the pole position for the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, following an incredible lap time of 1:28.265. Charles Leclerc made it to the front row, with his best lap just 0.180 seconds slower than Perez’s.
Mercedes pair George Russell starts fourth and Hamilton starts seventh in what was another disappointing performance by the British Legend in qualifying, whereas Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso starts third, making it even more evident that the veteran is one to watch out for this season.
But all these practice and qualifying sessions have only led us up to the main showdown that will take place on the 19th, and we can be very sure of the intriguing and exciting race that Jeddah has always given us. Amongst all possible battles that can come up on Sunday, these are the most mouth-watering, and will surely hook all of the community.
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3. Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen
If the issues with Verstappen’s vehicle are duly worked upon, then we can surely expect the Dutchman to gain a few places on the table, and ooze past the cars in the middle half of the gird, and upon gaining a few positions, Verstappen is deemed to come across his arch-rival from two seasons ago Lewis Hamilton.
These two drivers share a long history, which is not very friendly, and drama is always ensured whenever they battle it out on the track.
On Sunday as well, the high-end experience of Lewis Hamilton will be put to test, as he might come against his biggest opponent and reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, in a battle that will surely be the spiciest ingredient in tomorrow’s savoury race.
2. Fernando Alonso vs George Russell
The second grid on the track tomorrow will also be one to hold your sights on, as two beaming and promising drivers will be taking on each other, pushing and hounding for the better position. It is a fight between the teasing and treacherous potential of a youngster, coming up against the elite experience of one of the greatest, in a battle that will surely be tasty.
After a disappointing first race of the season, George did extremely well in qualifying, as he waved past the quick tracks of Jeddah, and claimed the fourth position. The British driver would try for a podium finish tomorrow, but if there’s one things stopping him from achieving this feat tomorrow, it is Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard is having an amazing start to the new campaign and has topped his incredible Podium finish in Bahrain with another scintillating drive this Saturday to take up the third spot in the starting grid.
Both Alonso and Russell will have an incredible battle for a podium finish, and it will be truly gripping to see, as to who comes out as the winner between the two drivers.
1. Sergio Perez vs Charles Leclerc
Verstappen’s unfortunate mishaps in qualifying has opened the window for other drivers to try and claim their first win of the season, and Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc come on top of this list.
Checo had a great outing in Bahrain two weeks ago as he claimed the runners-up position behind his Red Bull teammate Verstappen. But with Max’s seclusion from the top half of the race this time, Perez has the perfect opportunity to get a victory, and add 25 precious points to the World Championship standings.
With equal machinery and the fastest car on the grid, Perez has a slight obligation to shine on Sunday, and rise from the shadows of his Red Bull teammate. But if there is one driver that can ruin Perez’s party on Sunday, it is probably Charles Leclerc.
Charles was unfortunate in Bahrain, as he was forced to have an early retirement following some issues with his vehicle. But with a great qualifying session on Saturday, and a start on the front grid, Leclerc has the great opportunity to turn his fortunes around, and pull off a master class in Saudi Arabia.
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