For the second race of the season, Formula One found themselves in Saudi Arabia. Before the race, it was reported by NPR that Houthi rebels launched a missile attack on an oil depot in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, six miles from the circuit. However, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile and race organizers assured participants that the event would not affect the race weekend.

A thrilling qualifying session on Saturday resulted in a career first pole position for Mexican driver Sergio Perez, racing for Red Bull.  Charles Leclerc qualified second and teammate Carlos Sainz in third, both racing for Ferrari. The defending world champion Max Verstappen had experienced a difficult qualifying session and found himself in fourth position in his Red Bull. Mercedes continued to struggle with car issues which resulted in poor grid placement. Mick Schumacher, racing for HAAS, was out of the race before it had even begun due to a terrible crash sustained during qualifying. Yuki Tsunoda, the Alpha Tauri driver, suffered a similar fate due to a missed qualifying session and drivetrain issues in the car. 

Eighteen drivers lined up on the grid as lights went out on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Perez immediately led Leclerc off the line with his teammate Verstappen sneaking around Sainz into third immediately out of turn two. Kevin Magnussen was able to secure ninth off Pierre Gastly, which also allowed Lando Norris to sneak by. Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso fought hard for sixth. Valterri Bottas, in the Alfa Romeo, was able to slip in between the two Alpines when Ocon’s engineers told him to back off Alonso. 

Perez began to build a gap as the race leader as Verstappen stayed close to Charles Leclerc in second. During the 16th lap, Red Bull decided to pit the race leader Perez in order to get him a fresh set of tires. What they did not anticipate was Nicholas Latifi's massive crash in the final corner of the race track. The crash caused a safety car to be deployed which allowed teams to pit quickly while those who remained on track had to slow down drastically. Instead of being able to catch up on lost time in the pits, Perez was forced into fourth position with Leclerc coming out of the pits as the leader of the race. Perez initially had a bit of a squabble with Sainz for third as he exited the pits, but the team requested he return the position to the Ferrari driver. 

The race progressed with exciting overtakes from Magnussen, Alonso, and Lewis Hamilton who was able to break into the points after starting in the 15th position on the grid. Everything changed on lap 38. Within seconds of each other Riccardo, Alonso, and Bottas were all crawling back to the pits, each experiencing different issues with their race cars. Within a couple of laps, Stroll and Albon were also pulling off the track due to a collision that they caused. The race had initially started with two drivers already missing, meaning only 18 had participated in the race, but was now left with only 13 active drivers. 

As the virtual safety car was removed, the fight for first began between Leclerc and rival Verstappen. On lap 42, in the back straight of the track, Verstappen took the lead by using the  Drag Reduction System. Leclerc responded immediately and was able to retain his lead. Verstappen attempted another pass at the Ferrari driver on lap 43 but both cars experienced simultaneous lock ups causing there to be no overtake. The Red Bull kept its distance for another four laps trying to maintain a small gap with the Ferrari ahead. On lap 47, Verstappen made another pass at Leclerc and was able to pry first place away from him. Although Leclerc did not back down and set the fastest lap, he was still unable to catch the Dutchman. The defending World Champion crossed the finish line in first with the two Ferraris following close behind. At this race, Haas gained points for a second week in a row, a great improvement from previous years and McLaren were able to earn their first points of the season with Norris coming in seventh. The teams and their drivers will go head to head at the Australian Grand Prix on April 10th.