Formula One 2022 kicked off with a bang last weekend as Ferrari asserted their intentions with a flawless 1-2 finish in Bahrain. Can Max Verstappen and Red Bull overcome their woes and bring the fight to the boys in red? Or will Lewis Hamilton drag his disappointing Mercedes to lofty heights? Find out this weekend at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!
Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Harshi Vashee
The Jeddah Corniche Circuit hosted its inaugural event last year to great success with a thrilling fight for the lead brimmed with controversy and drama. Lewis Hamilton eventually won the race in which anything that could happen, did happen. From a mass pile-up involving multiple cars, to tactical team play gone wrong, the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is definitely worth a watch and sets the bar very high for this year's race!
Located on the sunny coast of Jeddah, the 6.174 km street circuit will offer a chance at redemption for many who blew their chances in Bahrain. The first of which is Red Bull who endured a painful double DNF as concerns over the new Red Bull Powertrain’s engine rose to the limelight. In fact, three out of the four cars powered by Red Bull failed to finish the race as Pierre Gasly’s Alpha Tauri dramatically went up in flames towards the end of the race, casting great doubt over Red Bull’s engine venture. Despite these issues, however, the Red Bull duo is expected to be quick in Saudi Arabia with a quick package that will prove vital in posing a challenge to the seemingly exceptional 2022 Ferrari.
The Boys in Red enjoyed their first win as a team since 2019 with an exciting 1-2 result led by Charles Leclerc. The Monegasque will obviously be keen to repeat his feat of last weekend whilst Carlos Sainz will be looking to do one better, having been particularly self-critical of the deficit he had to teammate Leclerc throughout the entire weekend. Regardless of who comes out on top inside the team, Ferrari are the favourites to win this Sunday helped by the impressive performance gain they have found within their engine over the winter.
Mercedes will be less confident heading into Saudi Arabia, however, as they desperately attempt to find hidden performance in their car. Having struggled to keep up with the top four for much of the race, Lewis Hamilton came away with a shock podium following the retirement of the two Red Bulls whilst George Russell came home in fourth. Both will be wanting to be more competitive moving forwards - especially if Hamilton wants any chance at winning that elusive eighth World Drivers Championship.
Two surprise stories of the Bahrain Grand Prix were the impressive performances from both Haas and Alfa Romeo who made the most of the impressive Ferrari engine. Kevin Magnussen scored an exciting fifth place on his Formula One return for Haas whilst Mick Schumacher just missed out on his first Formula One points. Meanwhile, Zhou Guanyu drove magnificently to finish in the points on his Formula One debut whilst Valtteri Bottas made it a double points finish for Alfa Romeo with a majestic seventh place. Both teams will be looking to continue this form into Saudi Arabia.
Fortunes were very much reversed, however, for both Aston Martin and McLaren who had what can only be described as a disastrous weekend. With both teams having had to, unfortunately, deal with a driver catching COVID-19 (Daniel Ricciardo was forced to miss the Bahrain test for McLaren whilst Sebastian Vettel missed the Bahrain Grand Prix for Aston Martin), the weekend was never going to be amazing. However, no one expected both Aston Martin drivers and Ricciardo to be knocked out in Q1 on Saturday with it finally being revealed who had gotten the 2022 regulations right and, more importantly, who had got them wrong. The two teams will be hoping for a significant turnaround this weekend having scored nothing in Bahrain.
Finally, two teams that went relatively unnoticed in Bahrain were Alpine and Williams. The latter unfortunately seems to have not made significant progress on their 2021 performance, although Alexander Albon looks to have settled in very well at his new team. Alpine, meanwhile, was lucky to score with both cars in Bahrain following the troubles felt at the front and will be wanting to score on merit this Sunday in Saudi Arabia.
With Formula One finally back, we look forward to experiencing the next chapter of 2022 in Saudi Arabia this Sunday. Be sure not to miss any of the action!
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