Verstappen cruises to victory at Saudi Arabian GP

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JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, March 10, (AP): Max Verstappen stayed firmly on course for another season of dominance in Formula 1 on Saturday by winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Even after just two races, and despite turmoil at Red Bull, Verstappen seems in near-total control on the track as he aims for a fourth consecutive title this year. Still, he had to share the attention with 18-year-old Oliver Bearman, who was a surprise seventh in his first F1 race as a Ferrari stand-in.

“A fantastic weekend for the whole team and also for myself. I felt good with the car,” Verstappen said.
The Dutch driver won easily ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez by 8.6 seconds on the road, 13.6 once a time penalty for Perez was factored in. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third.
“It was a bit of a boring race because Red Bull was a bit too quick and behind we had a bit of a gap, but we took the maximum points we could today,” Leclerc said.

Verstappen started on pole and held off Leclerc at the first corner, as he did last week at the season-opener in Bahrain which he won, before quickly building his lead.
The only interruption came when Lance Stroll’s crash brought out the safety car. Verstappen came into the pits for a tire change and after the restart easily passed Lando Norris – who hadn’t stopped – to retake the lead.

Perez had a five-second penalty because Red Bull released him from a pit stop into the path of another car, but that didn’t matter since he finished far ahead of Leclerc.
Verstappen has won nine races in a row going back to last season, and 19 of the last 20 races in total. The next race in Australia on March 24 offers him the chance to match his record of 10 consecutive wins, set last year.

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