Leclerc and Verstappen started the race in Jeddah second and fourth respectively, but ended up together at the front after the safety car. For the second race in a row, the two drivers battled it out. It was an intense battle that lasted more than twenty laps and which Verstappen said felt like qualifying laps. In the end, a late virtual safety car, yellow flags in Sector 1 and the DRS played a big role, making it a very dynamic fight. The decision fell just before the finish line.
Worthy loser Leclerc
Leclerc therefore had nothing but praise for the duel with his rival, despite his loss. On the on-board radio, the Monegasque congratulated Verstappen almost immediately. In front of the microphone and cameras after the race, he said, "It wasn't enough today, but oh my God, how I enjoyed this race. Again; it was hard racing, but it was fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun. Of course I'm disappointed, because I would have preferred to win. It was very hard."
With Verstappen's victory, the Dutchman gains five points on his rival. Leclerc took the point for the fastest race lap in both races. Verstappen retired in Bahrain and must therefore immediately start the season in the chase. Fortunately, the season is long enough that Verstappen can still make things difficult for Leclerc by making up six or eight points at a time. And that's only in the practically impossible situation that the two rivals finish on top every race.