Max Verstappen was delighted to get his first win of the new Formula 1 season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Verstappen started in fourth behind both Ferraris, with his Spanish teammate Carlos Sainz in with his first-ever pole.
However, it was the Dutch world champion who ultimately emerged victorious after numerous yellow flags interrupted the race strategy of ever rider, and in the last few laps it was the Red Bull man who claimed the win.
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He and his Monegasque Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc swapped pole as they had in the Bahrain Grand Prix last week, but this time it was Verstappen who was able to hold onto the lead when it mattered.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, Verstappen explained that patience was key to the victory.
"It was really tough but a good race. We were battling hard at the front and we just tried to play the long game,” he said.
"They were really quick through the corners and we were really quick on the straight. The tyres were wearing our quite quickly around here
"You could see at the end, we had a little bit more pace. It wasn't easy but eventually managed to get ahead.
"I'm really happy that we've finally kick-started the season."
Second-placed Leclerc was pleased with his own efforts, and he remains top of the leaderboard going into the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The 24-year-old Ferrari driver admitted that he had enjoyed the race despite losing the lead late on in the race.
"Oh my god! It was not enough today. I really enjoyed that race," Leclerc explained. "It’s hard racing but fair. Every race should be like this. It was fun, I’m of course disappointed, we wanted to win today.
"We had two very different configurations with the Red Bulls. We were quite quick in the corner, but slow in straights. It was extremely difficult for me to cover Max in the straight. Max did a great job, it was a fun race."
He also said that he had respect for Verstappen, despite the pair pushing one another hard for almost the whole weekend in the Middle East, in what has been a stressful few days after a missile attack on a nearby oil depot.
"It’s always been there, especially when you finish a race like this. We’re on a street track, we’ve been pushing like I’ve rarely pushed before to the absolute limit, and we take risks at the end, so of course there is respect."
Leclerc's teammate Carlos Sainz was also content, with what he thought was an improved showing over last week, when he claimed to be struggling.
"It was a close call there with Checo but in the end, I think he got a bit unlucky with the safety car but the rules are the rules. I think I was just ahead at the safety car line, it was my position then and after that, it was all about holding onto P3," he said.
"The Red Bulls were super quick in the last 10 laps. They were flying and putting pressure on us.
"For me, this race was a bit of progress from Bahrain. I think I managed to find a bit more rhythm with the car, still some tenths to find but I think I will end up getting there. "
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