2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Highlights

 

Introduction

 

Max Verstappen has continued his title defence in refined style, taking a dominant victory in the 2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. An action-packed event unfolded behind him.

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The Dutchman enjoyed a strong start from the pole as the 50-lap race got underway and, from there, held an assured lead, despite an early Safety Car sparking a flurry of action in the pit lane where Red Bull was amongst the teams to risk a double-stack strategy.

Sergio Perez came home in P2 to mark the squad’s second consecutive one-two result. The Mexican was handed a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release into Fernando Alonso’s path during that busy visit to the pits. Still, he held enough gap to third-placed Charles Leclerc to keep his position.

Leclerc completed the podium ahead of Oscar Piastri in fourth. The Australian had spent a significant portion of the race trying to find a way past Lewis Hamilton, one of the few drivers in the field to stay out during the early run of pit stops.

Fernando Alonso held onto fifth as the sole Aston Martin to remain in the race, with teammate Lance Stroll having been the cause of the Safety Car call-out following a crash into the barriers on Lap 7. Alonso had withheld pressure from the Mercedes of George Russell in the latter stages, but the Briton ultimately had to settle for sixth.

It was a memorable Formula 1 debut for Oliver Bearman, standing in for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari after the Spaniard was diagnosed with appendicitis earlier on Friday. The youngster scored his first points by securing P7 during an impressive drive in which he took several overtakes.

Bearman led a pack of British drivers, with Lando Norris ending the day in P8 ahead of Hamilton in P9. Norris and Hamilton had stretched out their opening stints on the medium tyre before making pit stops in the race’s second half.

Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 to score Haas’s first point of the season. The German also opted not to pit during the initial round of stops, aided by a team strategy that saw Kevin Magnussen keep a pack of drivers at bay behind to give Hulkenberg space when returning to the track from his eventual pit stop.

Alex Albon missed points in P11 despite making some solid moves in that midfield fight, including an overtake on Yuki Tsunoda. Magnussen took P12 in an eventful evening for the Dane, having been handed two separate 10-second time penalties.

Esteban Ocon was the sole Alpine to finish in P13, while Tsunoda was the lead RB in P14. The Williams of Logan Sargeant followed in P15, with Daniel Ricciardo behind in what was a quiet afternoon for the Australian in P16, barring a spin on the final lap of the event.

The Kick Sauber duo of Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were the last drivers to finish in 17th and 18th, respectively.

Stroll was one of the two to retire following that early crash, while Pierre Gasly’s race was practically over before it started. The Frenchman retired soon after the start, having reported a gearbox issue on the Formation Lap.

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director, Pirelli:

It’s been a very straightforward race, both in terms of the final result, which was almost a carbon copy of Sakhir and when it comes to how the tyres performed. We knew this would be a race where the quickest strategy was a one-stop. After seven laps, the Safety Car brought the pit stop window forward. The C2 proved to be very consistent, both in terms of performance and degradation, as can be seen from the fact that the race’s fastest lap came right at the end, courtesy of Leclerc on a set that had done 43 laps. The C3 was also up to the task because the four drivers who chose to stay out when the Safety Car appeared could take it to its wear limit while still running pretty competitively. Compared to Friday’s long runs, graining on this compound was minimal, down to the track, gradually rubbering in more and more with use. Hamilton’s and Norris’ stints on the C4 also demonstrated that the softest compound could be competitive even in the first part of the race, although only two drivers tried to exploit that.

The day on the track:

On the starting grid, 18 20 drivers opted to run the first stint on Medium tyres, the only exceptions being Oliver Bearman and Valtteri Bottas, who preferred the Soft. The Safety Car came out on lap seven after Lance Stroll hit the barriers, triggering a run of pit stops. Only four drivers – Norris, Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Zhou – stayed out on the Medium, delaying their stop as much as possible. As from lap 30, this quartet began to pit: Hulkenberg on lap 33, Hamilton on 36, Norris on 37, while Zhou went to lap 41. The Haas driver was the only one to fit Hard tyres, with the other three going for Soft to try and make up some places, although they did not manage it. Of the drivers who saw the chequered flag, only Bottas made two stops (Soft-Hard-Soft).

What’s next?

Formula 1 will be back on track in a fortnight in Melbourne, where the Australian Grand Prix will run to the conventional Thursday to Sunday programme. Pirelli is bringing the C3-C4-C5 compounds, a trio one step softer than last year, for the Albert Park street circuit. The two junior series, of which Pirelli is the tyre supplier, Formula 2 and Formula 3, are also racing there.

2024 Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Race Results

PosNoDriverCountryTeamTimePointsOverall
1.1Max VerstappenNetherlandsRed Bull Racing1:20:43.2732551
2.11Sergio PerezMexicoRed Bull Racing +13.643s1836
3.16Charles LeclercMonacoScuderia Ferrari+18.639s1628
4.81Oscar PiastriAustraliaMcLaren Racing+32.007s1216
5.14Fernando AlonsoSpainAston Martin F1 Team+35.759s1012
6.63George RussellGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+39.936s818
7.38Oliver BearmanGreat BritainScuderia Ferrari+42.679s66
8.4Lando NorrisGreat BritainMclaren Racing+45.708s412
9.44Lewis HamiltonGreat BritainMercedes-AMG Petronas+47.391s28
10.27Nico HulkenbergGermanyHaas F1 Team+105.737s11
11.45Alexander AlbonThailandWilliams Racing+1 lap00
12.20Kevin MagnussenDenmarkHaas F1 Team+1 lap00
13.31Esteban OconFranceAlpine F1 Team+1 lap00
14.2Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing+1 lap00
15.22Yuki TsunodaJapanVisa Cash App F1 Team+1 lap00
16.3Daniel RicciardoAustraliaVisa Cash App F1 Team+1 lap00
17.77Valtteri BottasFinlandKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00
18.24Zhou GuanyuChinaKick Sauber F1 Team+1 lap00
19.18Lance StrollCanadaAston Martin F1 TeamDNF01
20.10Pierre GaslyFranceAlpine F1 TeamDNF00
21.55Carlos SainzSpainScuderia FerrariDNS015

2024 Constructor Standings

PosTeamPoints
1.Red Bull Racing301
2.Scuderia Ferrari252
3.McLaren Racing212
4.Mercedes-AMG Petronas124
5.Aston Martin F1 Team58
6.Visa Cash App F1 Team28
7.Haas F1 Team7
8.Alpine F1 Team5
9.Williams Racing2
10.Kick Sauber F1 Team0

Here are the team-by-team highlights:




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