Why Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen Will Find It Difficult to Overtake in Jeddah Corniche Circuit

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Published 19/03/2023

With the amount of pace Max Verstappen showed throughout the free practice sessions in Jeddah, his taking the pole position wouldn’t have been a surprise. Unfortunately, power unit issues forced him to retire before he could put up a lap time in Q2 which means he will start the race from P15.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc too was extremely unlucky as his heroic P2 is set to go in vain. The Monegasque driver changed his control electronics ahead of the start of the weekend and since he already changed it once before, he will be given a 10-place grid penalty for the Saudi Arabian GP. Hence, Leclerc will start the race from P12.

Both Leclerc and Verstappen are set to start the race from the midfield tomorrow, but fans and pundits expect them to charge up the field within the first few laps. Leclerc, however, thinks that overtaking is going to be very difficult from the midfield, regardless of how strong his pace is.

Also read: Max Verstappen and Toto Wolff Once Slammed a Bunch of ‘Brainless’ Fans For Sexually and Racially Abusing Others During Live Races

Can Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen fight back?

Red Bull has had the strongest car all weekend, and that was visible even after Verstappen’s early exit. Sergio Perez put up a blistering lap around the Corniche Circuit that put him on pole, and the Mexican driver will start alongside Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso in the front row.

Jeddah’s Corniche Circuit provides quite a few opportunities to overtake and in an ideal world, Verstappen should coast to the front of the pack within a few laps because of the RB19’s superiority. In fact, even though Ferrari are miles of the pace compared to Red Bull, they are fast enough to make some early moves to gain places.

Leclerc, however, is wary of the DRS train, that he thinks will make overtaking difficult. The midfield this year, is very close in terms of race pace, which means that they will be tightly bunched together.

Sergio Perez capitalizes on Verstappen’s misfortune

If Verstappen’s car hadn’t lost power, it is very likely that he would have started the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP on pole. When he retired, the pressure fell on Perez’s shoulders to make sure that a Red Bull car started on the front row, and the Guadalajara-born driver delivered in some style.

His first Q3 run was too strong for anyone else to match, and 12 months after he got his first F1 pole position at this very circuit, Perez repeated history. Alonso will start the race from P2 because of Leclerc’s penalty, with Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz starting P3 and P4 respectively.

Also read: Chewed Up Lewis Hamilton Admits Defeat to Mercedes F1 Teammate George Russell: “I Just Struggled…”


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About the author
Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and aims to work in the sports industry for the rest of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the great Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

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