1059th F1 GRAND PRIX | 2nd SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX | 2nd GRAND PRIX AT JEDDAH CORNICHE CIRCUIT
2021 POLESITTER: LEWIS HAMILTON | 2021 WINNER: LEWIS HAMILTON
Jeddah Corniche Circuit is the fastest street circuit on the Formula 1 calendar. The first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was held in 2021 – and it proved to be a highly dramatic affair! The 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is set to take place on March 25-27.
Friday 25th March
Free Practice 1 – 5pm Local Time/ 2pm UK Time
Free Practice 2 – 8pm Local Time/ 5pm UK Time
Saturday 26th March
Free Practice 3 – 5pm Local Time/ 2pm UK Time
Qualifying – 8pm Local Time/ 5pm UK Time
Sunday 27th March
The 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – 8pm Local Time/ 6pm UK Time
This weekend, Lewis Hamilton will overtake Michael Schumacher as the driver to have started the most races with a single team. Michael Schumacher started 179 Grands Prix with Ferrari during his career. This will be Hamilton’s 180th appearance with Mercedes.
Red Bull will start their 327th Grand Prix this weekend. That sees them move ahead of Ligier and into the top ten of most starts for a team in Formula 1.
This will be the fourth F1 race held on March 27th. It’s the first time a race has been held on this day since the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.
The final lap of the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will be the 100th racing lap to take place at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
WHAT HAS CHANGED AT THE CIRCUIT SINCE LAST YEAR?
There have been a number of changes at Jeddah Corniche Circuit since last year’s inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Barriers at various corners have been moved back in order to improve safety, while the track has been widened at the final corner.
HOW MANY DRS ZONES WILL THERE BE?
There will be three DRS zones at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. They are located on the main straight, at the exit of Turn 19 and on the entry to Turn 25.
JEDDAH CORNICHE CIRCUIT TRACK GUIDE
Rumours of a Formula 1 race in Saudi Arabia have been ongoing for a number of years. In 2019, it was announced that a permanent circuit was to be built in Qiddiya, outside of capital city Riyadh. The plans were confirmed in January 2020. Track designer Alex Wurz appeared with a number of past and present Formula 1 drivers – including World Champion Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean – in an event on the proposed site of the circuit. It was confirmed at the event that the circuit was designed to FIA Grade 1 standards, meaning that Formula 1 could theoretically race there – though not until 2023. Instead, for the time being at least, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will take place on the streets of Jeddah, the country’s second-largest city.
Saudi Arabia has attracted other major motorsport events in recent years. The Race of Champions, held at the King Fahd International Stadium in February 2018, was the first ever international motorsport event to take place in the country. Meanwhile, Formula E has raced in Diriyah since 2018 and the Dakar Rally has been held in the country in each of the past two years.
The track layout for the inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was unveiled on 18th March 2021. The Jeddah Corniche Circuit is designed by Hermann Tilke, and is situated on the Jeddah Corniche. It is the fastest street circuit in Formula 1, with an average speed of over 250km/h. Race organisers say that the circuit – which has 27 turns set out over 6.175km – prioritises overtaking, rather than scenic views. The race takes place at night.
WHO WILL BE IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE?
The world’s media will have the opportunity to talk to the drivers on Friday morning before the opening practice session. The 20 drivers will be split into four groups for this week’s press conference. Here are the groups:
- Group 1: Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, George Russell, Alex Albon
- Group 2: Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton, Nicholas Latifi
- Group 3: Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon, Carlos Sainz, Mick Schumacher, Max Verstappen
- Group 4: Yuki Tsunoda, Fernando Alonso, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, Sebastian Vettel (or Nico Hulkenberg)
The media will also be talking to prominent members of Formula 1’s teams on Saturday morning. Mattia Binotto (Ferrari), Andreas Seidl (McLaren), Mario Isola (Pirelli), Mike Krack (Aston Martin), Guenther Steiner (Haas) and Jost Capito (Williams) will appear in the press conference.
WHO WILL BE THE RACE DIRECTOR?
Niels Wittich will make his second appearance as race director at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
WHO WILL BE THE DRIVER STEWARD?
Each weekend a former Formula 1 driver, or a driver from another prominent series of motorsport, joins the stewards to help judge any incidents from a drivers’ perspective. The Driver Steward for this weekend is Enrique Bernoldi.
The weather forecast for the week ahead at the circuit currently looks like this:
WHICH TYRE COMPOUNDS WILL BE USED?
In 2022, each team will be supplied with the same selection of tyres by Pirelli. Pirelli will supply the C2, C3 and C4 tyre compounds for this race weekend.
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR?
Tensions ran high at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. As the red flags were called out three times, championship contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton made contact on track.
F1 visited Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2021 on the all-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit – the fastest street track the sport has ever visited. Teams ran tributes to the late Frank Williams on their cars for the race weekend, who had passed away one week earlier. The perils of the new track became clear in Free Practice 2, as Charles Leclerc wrecked his Ferrari with a heavy crash.
On Saturday, Valtteri Bottas encountered misfiring issues in Q1 and made contact with Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo in Q2, but was still able to reach Q3. Max Verstappen was on a blisteringly fast lap which looked set to secure him pole position in the closing moments of qualifying. However, the Dutchman made a mistake at the final corner and crashed into the wall.
Lewis Hamilton started from pole position and led the opening lap ahead of his team-mate. After a quiet opening ten laps, Mick Schumacher made heavy contact with the barriers on Lap 10, reminiscent of Leclerc’s Friday crash. The Mercedes drivers pitted under the Safety Car, while Verstappen opted to stay out. It looked to be a strategic mistake from Red Bull – that was until the Red Flag was called, giving Verstappen the upper hand.
At the restart, Verstappen and Hamilton were side-by-side at Turn 1. Hamilton took the lead but Verstappen re-passed, albeit off the circuit. Esteban Ocon overtook Hamilton for second place before an incident behind the leaders brought out the Red Flag once more. Sergio Perez was tagged and hit the wall, with George Russell and Nikita Mazepin eliminated from the race in the resulting melee.
Controversy reigned in the stoppage, as Michael Masi presented Red Bull with the opportunity to decide the grid order at the restart. Ocon subsequently started from pole position, with Hamilton alongside him on the front row. Verstappen passed both of them on the inside at Turn 1. As the race passed its halfway point, Hamilton was back on Verstappen’s tail and attempted to overtake once again at Turn 1. But the Mercedes driver was run wide, while Verstappen also missed the corner. Verstappen was instructed to give the position back to his title rival. In doing so, Hamilton ended up hitting the rear of the Red Bull. Verstappen then let Hamilton by once more a few laps later, before immediately re-passing him. Almost straight after this, Verstappen collected a 5-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage. Hamilton ultimately passed Verstappen on track and went on to claim victory.
Bottas was charging in the closing stages and passed Ocon on the line for the final podium position. Hamilton’s win tied him and Verstappen on points heading into the final round of the season.