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2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Wrap Up

Staff Writer, Will Black, provides analysis on the events of the second Grand Prix of the season in Saudi Arabia.

Stroll crashes out, Verstappen wins number nine in a row, and Bearman has the debut of a lifetime. Let’s have a debrief from the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP.  

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


Much like at Bahrain, the French team qualified poorly and finished even worse. Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly started P17 and P18. Ocon was able to push up to P13 but a gearbox failure on lap one for Gasly took him out of the race. Alpine have a long way to go before they can even begin to fight for points and it is clear that the Renault power unit is lacking in said power.

Aston Martin

Lance Stroll has been Mazepin-esque so far in 2024 with a spin in Bahrain last week and a crash on lap six at Jeddah. The Canadian driver clipped the wall at turn 23 and careened into the barriers, thankfully he got out the car unharmed. It does raise questions towards Stroll’s position at Aston Martin. While his seat is secure thanks to his father’s ownership of the team, the six-place deficit in the standings to his teammate Fernando Alonso at the end of 2023 and two disappointing performances at the start of 2024 aren’t going to make fans of Aston or investors and sponsors happy. His teammate however fared much better on Sunday. Alonso was able to fend off Russell for P5 and secured good points for Aston. 


The most exciting news of the weekend was Ollie Bearman’s debut performance following Carlos Sainz’s emergency surgery for appendicitis. The 18-year-old Brit received a call on Friday night informing him he would have to abandon the pole position he set for his F2 race to drive for the Scuderia. Bearman was able to qualify P11, impressive considering he had only driven an F1 car a number of times and was only able to have one practice session. Bearman was 0.044 seconds off knocking Lewis Hamilton out of Q3! The debutant got his revenge on Sunday however as he was able to maintain P7 ahead of both McLaren driver Lando Norris and seven-time world champion Hamilton. Bearman became the first British driver to score points on his debut since Paul di Resta in 2007. Charles Leclerc’s podium finish at P3 was perhaps overshadowed sadly by Bearman’s stellar performance but the Monegasque had a strong, clinical race, finishing with fastest lap. 


The award for best team player certainly goes to Kevin Magnussen this week. His teammate Nico Hulkenburg went long on his medium tyres while Magnussen held up Ocon, Tsunoda and Albon at P10 for over 15 laps. Magnussen’s work allowed Hulkenburg to stay in the points and finish P10 for Haas, invaluable for a team which came dead last in 2023. Magnussen faced a slew of penalties however, first for causing a crash with Albon and secondly for exceeding track limits. He finished P12.

Kick Sauber

There is not much to report on Sauber. A slow pit stop for Guanyu Zhou towards the end of the race ended any chance of pushing further up the field, finishing P18. Valterri Bottas similarly had an uninteresting race ending the weekend at P17. 


The biggest takeaway for McLaren were lack of straight-line speed. Both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri looked sluggish on the straights, but Piastri was able to achieve a commendable P4, finishing ahead of teammate Norris at P8. The lack of straight-line speed was most evident at turn one as the papaya cars were unable to gain enough speed down the pit straight shown by Piastri’s failure in overtaking Hamilton in the third quarter of the race. Despite this McLaren were able to stay ahead of the Mercedes, seemingly their main rival for 2024. 


It was tepid day for Mercedes. Despite Russell having a decent race finishing P6 he was unable to catch Alonso for P5 at the end of the race. Hamilton similarly struggled towards the end of the race being unable to get past Norris and then Bearman, keeping him at P9 after following the same late pit stop strategy as Norris. Much like the McLarens, the Silver Arrows struggled for straight-line speed making overtaking at a track like Jeddah difficult.


Although there was no in-fighting this weekend, the RBs were not especially entertaining to watch. Yuki Tsunoda lost fights on lap 34 pushing him down from P13 to P15. After Magnussen overtook him outside of track limits it seems the Japanese driver became frustrated, perhaps leading to is loss of track position. His Australian teammate Daniel Riccardo fared no better. His spin on lap 49 exemplified a poor performance where he lacked pace. At no point during the race did he seem like a threat. The 34-year-old finished 12 seconds behind his teammate in P16. 

Red Bull

As usual, Max Verstappen dominated. He won his ninth consecutive Grand Prix and for the first time in his career won the first two races of an F1 season. Perez finished comfortably in P2 but was over 13 seconds slower than his teammate to the chequered flag. Despite the ongoing drama at Red Bull management, another 1-2 on track demonstrates just how far ahead they are from the rest of the grid.


Alex Albon demonstrated strong race craft, pushing up the field well after his knock with Magnussen and finishing a decent P11. There is not much to report on Logan Sargent who finished in P14 ahead of the RBs. Albon’s racing seemed confident and controlled and perhaps showed that he deserves to be in a car quicker than the Williams. I think Williams might find it hard to hold on to Albon after 2024. 

Coming Up:

Race 3: Australia, Albert Park Circuit, March 22-24



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