Daniel Ricciardo retires with engine problem as Max Verstappen wins Saudi Grand Prix

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Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen passed Charles Leclerc three laps from the end of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix for his first victory of the season and the 21st of his career.

The race in the spotlight came two days after an attack on a nearby oil depot by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.

Leclerc was aiming for back-to-back wins after winning the season opener in Bahrain from pole position last Sunday, but Verstappen passed him on lap 47 of 50 after thrilling races between them.

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Leclerc remains at the top of the standings after two races.

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished in third place to make it another podium double for Ferrari after finishing second in Bahrain where Leclerc had brilliantly repelled three attacks from Verstappen, who retired just at the end of this race with his teammate Sergio Perez.

Max Verstappen celebrates winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. (Getty)

Perez bounced back with a superb pole position on Saturday but finished fourth, while seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton could manage just one point for Mercedes in 10th place after starting 15th.

His team-mate George Russell fared better in fifth, but Mercedes again looked off the pace.

Australian Daniel Ricciardo was one of three drivers to retire on the same lap – along with Fernando Alonso and Valterri Bottas.

“I have no practice, I can’t accelerate,” he told team radio at one point, before retiring with engine failure.

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