Lance Stroll and Nico Hülkenberg both challenged for points at various moments in the 2022 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, only for the former to miss out on a top 10 finish in the final laps of a chaotic race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The events and opportunities did not really go our way.
"It was a demanding race, but I am happy with my performance considering my limited experience with the car. We put together a clean race, but unfortunately the events and opportunities did not really go our way. For example, the first Safety Car period was unhelpful because we were running a longer first stint on the Hard tyre – so that compromised our race. We gave it everything out there, but points were out of reach. I am happy to have helped the team by standing in again and I will remain on standby should I be needed again."
We did our best to try to hold on for a points finish.
"We did our best to try to hold on for a points finish after the late Virtual Safety Car period, but unfortunately two cars behind us were on a faster and fresher tyre compound, so there was not much we could do. It was a shame that we ended the final laps with some damage after a collision with Alex [Albon]. I felt I had left him space when he made his dive, but I have not watched the replays yet. There is still a long season ahead of us, so we will keep working hard to find more performance in the car for the coming races."
We will work hard to improve our car for the Australian Grand Prix.
"We decided to split our tyre strategy today - Lance started on Mediums, Nico on Hards - and the Safety Car that was deployed as a result of [Nicholas] Latifi's lap-16 accident at Turn 27 disadvantaged those who had started on Hards. After that, Nico was always on the back foot, but he drove a solid race all the same and ended up 12th. Lance moved up a place at the start, was soon passed by [Lewis] Hamilton, then reported a handling imbalance. Within a few laps of the end he was running 11th, but he then had a coming-together with [Alex] Albon, sustaining light damage to his car. He was forced to slow, but he brought the car home, albeit lapped. Obviously we are disappointed not to have scored any points today, but from here we will travel back to Silverstone, where we will work hard to improve our car for the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks' time."
Your guide to Jeddah
Insight and Speed
Racing in Saudi Arabia last year provided teams with some relevant data, but there's a curveball: no fewer than eight of the 27 corners have been re-profiled, most notably at Turn 27 where track width has been widened. As a key point of the lap, expect drivers to be finding the limits here in practice.
They're likely – it’s not just corner changes that could catch drivers and teams out. The 2021 edition featured two red flags and four VSCs, meaning there are still plenty of unknowns in Jeddah. Throw in new cars and tyres, and there's a huge task ahead.
It's not easy. It's just 450m from pole to Turn One, which is shorter than Bahrain, but the blast from Turn 27 to Turn One was the only overtaking spot in 2021 – and 75% of the overtakes used DRS. This race is all about track position and finding the fastest possible race without losing places.
Unlocking the Lap
While Saudi Arabia boasts the most corners on the calendar in 27, the majority are taken flat and barely register behind the wheel, but don't for a moment think that makes this circuit a breeze... With the help of SentinelOne, we're unlocking the twists and turns that define a lap of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
The Turn 13 12-degree banked hairpin can catch drivers out. The high-speed entry makes it easy for drivers to lose the rear as they balance braking and turn-in at the same time. It's crucial to keep the speed all the way through the long hairpin in fourth gear, so lining up centimetres from the wall on exit sets up a charge through another high-speed section.
There's another pivotal hairpin at the end of the lap – encompassing Turns 25-27, such is its length and challenge. Beginning with a long and open left bend, continuing into the minor left of a near-non-existent Turn 26, it culminates with one of the few heavy braking points of the lap.
It's a deceiving bend as the corner is open and taken in third gear, which keeps drivers on their toes with the opportunity of overtaking with DRS at Turn 27. Braking at around the 70-metre mark and hugging the inside wall tightly is crucial to help line up an overtake as drivers blast down to Turn One.