The FIA has adapted the third and final DRS zone of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. With this, the governing body is trying to prevent the games that Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc used earlier in 2021 and 2022. The DRS detection point is therefore no longer before the last corner of the fastest street circuit on the Formula 1 calendar, but after it.
The third edition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is scheduled for this coming weekend and several adjustments have already been made to the circuit prior to the race weekend. For example, some corners have been changed to improve the driver’s view and thereby make the circuit safer. Now the DRS detection point for the last DRS zone has also been moved. On start-finish, the drivers gain a big advantage through the DRS and that also resulted in tactical jousts in the previous editions.
Cat-and-mouse games between Verstappen, Hamilton and Leclerc
These tactical jousts, or cat-and-mouse games as Christian Horner called them, were big talking points in both 2021 and 2022. In the penultimate race of the 2021 season, Verstappen had to give his position back to Hamilton and preferably in a ‘strategic way’, according to Gianpiero Lambiase. This caused Verstappen to brake sharply before the detection point, causing Hamilton to also press his brake pedal. In the end, Hamilton drove into the rear of the Red Bull Racing car, which resulted in a penalty for Verstappen.
A year later, the Dutchman was again part of these games. This time the Red Bull driver was in a fight with Leclerc and caught him before the last corner in his first overtaking attempt. This allowed the Ferrari driver to hit back in turn 1. In the laps that followed, Verstappen did not want to be the first to dive into the last corner, so both drivers slammed on the brakes. It resulted in precarious situations, but this time Verstappen emerged as the winner.