RACE REPORT | F1 Saudi Arabia 2024

Max Verstappen took dominant victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, leading a Red Bull 1-2 with Sergio Perez in second place.

The weekend in Jeddah went according to plan until Friday's third practice, before which Ferrari announced that Carlos Sainz would have to undergo acute appendix surgery and that he was withdrawing from the grand prix programme. Sainz was replaced in the cockpit by 18-year-old rookie Oliver Bearman, who was originally due to take part in the F2 race in Saudi Arabia.

However, Bearman showed he was ready in free practice, in which he showed good pace, and confirmed this in the subsequent qualifying session on Friday, in which he was 11th. 

In the last part of qualifying, the focus turned once again to Max Verstappen's Red Bull. The Low German confirmed his role as the favourite and took his second pole position of the year by a margin of three tenths. He was joined on the front row by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, as he had been the week before.

In Saturday's race, it was Vestappen again who took the lead after the lights went out. He was followed by Leclerc for a while, but was overtaken by Sergio Pérez on lap four.

On lap six, Lance Stroll crashed heavily, requiring the Safety Car to come out. The vast majority of the drivers took advantage of the situation to pit stop. Except for four drivers, including Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton.

Norris took the lead, but only for a moment, because shortly after the restart Verstappen took the lead again.

The Red Bull driver then left no doubt and drove to a clear victory. Behind him, the situation was not dramatic either. Perez easily secured second place ahead of Charles Leclerc.

Behind them, the order was as follows: Oscar Piastri finished fourth, Fernando Alonso fifth and George Russell sixth.

A very good seventh place went to the newcomer Bearman.

Norris and Hamilton's bet on pit stop postponement didn't work out too well, with the two British drivers finishing the race in eighth and ninth respectively. 

Nico Hülkenberg took the final point, securing the first points of the year for the Haas team.

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