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F1: Max Verstappen cruises to victory at Saudi Arabian GP to extend dominant start to title defense

Max Verstappen stayed firmly on course for another season of dominance in Formula 1 on Saturday by winning the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Even after just two races, and despite turmoil at Red Bull, Verstappen seems in near-total control on the track as he aims for a fourth consecutive title this year.

The Dutch driver won easily ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third.

ALSO READ: F1- Max Verstappen’s mentor Helmut Marko staying with Red Bull

Verstappen started on pole and held off Leclerc at the first corner, as he did last week at the season-opener in Bahrain, which he won, before quickly building his lead.

The only interruption came when Lance Stroll’s crash brought out the safety car.

Verstappen came into the pits for a tyre change and after the restart, easily passed Lando Norris — who hadn’t stopped — to retake the lead.

Perez had a five-second penalty because Red Bull released him from a pit stop into the path of another car, but that didn’t matter since he finished far ahead of Leclerc.

Eighteen-year-old British driver Oliver Bearman was seventh for Ferrari in his first F1 race, one day after being called up as an emergency replacement for Carlos Sainz Jr., who needed an operation to treat appendicitis.

The next race is the Australian Grand Prix on March 24.

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