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Poll | Verstappen to crown overtaking race with win in Saudi Arabia

Poll | Verstappen to crown overtaking race with win in Saudi Arabia

18 March - 22:07

Until Saturday night, everyone had predicted a pole position for Max Verstappen, but it did not come in the end. Sergio Perez took first place in qualifying in Saudi Arabia for the second year in a row, while Verstappen can work his way forward from 15th place on the grid. Can Verstappen pull off a catch-up race as he did in the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix?

At Spa-Francorchamps, Verstappen had to start from fourteenth place due to an engine change, but in no time he was back in the lead. In the end, he finished seventeen seconds ahead of Perez. It is a scenario the Dutchman will no doubt hope for, but it is unlikely to be as easy as in Belgium, according to the man in question himself.

Verstappen dominant enough?

Verstappen has been very dominant all weekend, winning all free practice sessions by a large margin to teammate Perez. The 25-year-old driver is feeling good at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and, moreover, he was much faster than Perez in Bahrain. It reinforces the thought that Verstappen might be strong enough to overtake his teammate.

The question then remains, what can the other nine teams counter? Based on the longruns, Aston Martin seems to be Red Bull's biggest challenger. Catching up with the Mercedes and Ferrari should not be too much of a problem. Verstappen's big problem, however, is that he has to squeeze through a lot of traffic.

Danger of DRS trains

This creates the risk of DRS trains. The straights offer opportunities to overtake, but if many drivers are within a second of each other (and thus all can open the rear wing), the advantage is lost and often a slipstream alone is not enough. Verstappen then has to rely on mechanical grip, and while the RB19 has plenty of that, it remains to be seen how easy overtaking will be for Verstappen then.

What might play into Verstappen's hands is the fact that Perez is not known as the best starter in the field. A fortnight ago in Bahrain, the Mexican lost a position to Charles Leclerc and it took a lot of laps before he passed the Ferrari driver. If a similar scenario plays out and Alonso takes the lead, he might be able to put so much pressure on his Spanish rival that they both lose pace and Verstappen gets time to catch up.

Do you agree or disagree with the statement: Verstappen will crown overtaking race with a victory in Saudi Arabia. Let us know in the poll and join the discussion in the comment section!

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