Race Report: Verstappen and Perez on top at Saudi Arabian GP

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202403090567 // Usage for editorial use only //

Max Verstappen converted his pole position int to a resounding win for the Saudi Arabian Gand Prix followed by his teammate Sergio Perez for a Red Bull Racing one, two finish. The Red Bull duo were followed home by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in third as he secured the fastest lap point on his very last lap of the race.

The talk of the weekend was the absence of Carlos Sainz due to an emergency appendectomy which left Ferrari junior driver Oliver Bearman in the hot seat filling his shoes. This is no small task as F1 cars are quite different than the F2 cars he is used to but the young British driver did a terrific job bringing home points in P7 and won the vote for Driver of the Day.

Win

A win for Red Bull’s Max and Sergio during a time of great tumult for the team with Christian Horner’s investigation and now Helmut Marko’s possible involvement in that situation. The off-track drama has been relentless but thanks to the men and women of the Red Bull racing team, they’ve buckled down, avoided the emotional drain and delivered two win on the trot so far in 2024.

A win for Ferrari despite not having the pace to match Red Bull. The team had one driver out—which could have led to no points—and they made the most of what they had with Charles in P3 and stand-in driver Oliver Bearman in P7. They may not have the pace of Red Bull yet but they are beating McLaren and Mercedes for a clear attack on best-of-the-rest.

A win for McLaren and Oscar Piastri who had a great battle with Lewis Hamilton and managed to beat the 7-time champ, as well as his teammate Lando Norris for a very respectable P4. Lando was out of sequence but made the most of it be defending agains tHamilton to come home P8. It’s the straight line speed here that hurt them most.

A win for Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen who both gave Haas F1 a point in the championship thanks to some seriously good defensive driving that gave Nico time to box from 10th and hang on to the position for a point. Great team work and the Haas did relatively well at this circuit.

Fail

Fail isn’t really the right word for Mercedes given George Russell finished 6th but it was a lonely race for him against Fernando Alonso and Lewis could only manage P9. Not where the team want to be and I suspect their medium and high speed cornering deficit to McLaren showed us where they will be working on this car.

Aston Martin had a tough weekend with Lance Stroll throwing it all away by hitting the barrier and crashing. This left Fernando to pick up the pieces and he did his best coming home in P5 which is the Alonso factor. Fernando was hoping for more.

Miserable day for Alpine with Gasly out on first lap and Ocon trundling around to P13. The were beaten by Williams and that’s not where they should be.

RB was a disappointment on Saturday with a P15 and P16 for Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo respectively. Clearly not a track that flattered the car but I am worried for Dan if he can’t beat Tsunoda.

WTH

Not sure what happened to Kick Sauber as they finished dead last. Not good.
I was amused that Kevin took on 20s of penalties in his effort to help Nico score a point, that’s a real team player.

 

Pirelli Report:

On the starting grid, 18 of the 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 7 after Lance Stroll hit the barriers, triggering a run of pit stops. Only four drivers – Norris, Hamilton, Hulkenberg and Zhou – decided to stay 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 all the way 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).

Saudi Arabian Gp Results:

POSNODRIVERCARLAPSTIME/RETIREDPTS
11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT501:20:43.27325
211Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT50+13.643s18
316Charles LeclercFERRARI50+18.639s16
481Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES50+32.007s12
514Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES50+35.759s10
663George RussellMERCEDES50+39.936s8
738Oliver BearmanFERRARI50+42.679s6
84Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES50+45.708s4
944Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES50+47.391s2
1027Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI50+76.996s1
1123Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES50+88.354s0
1220Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI50+105.737s0
1331Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT49+1 lap0
142Logan SargeantWILLIAMS MERCEDES49+1 lap0
1522Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT49+1 lap0
163Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT49+1 lap0
1777Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI49+1 lap0
1824Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI49+1 lap0
NC18Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES5DNF0
NC10Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1DNF0
REVIEW OVERVIEW
Overall Race
race-report-verstappen-and-perez-on-top-at-saudi-arabian-gpHad fun watching the battles from 10th through 16th. lot of action there and it was good the TV production focused on it. Good to see Bearman do well and Haas as well. Fun race.
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Worthless Opinion

Seeing the footage of Hamilton applauding Bearman on the track, it was just cool to imagine what that could’ve felt like. What a great day.