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Live: F1 Saudi Arabian GP updates - FP3 & Qualifying

The second round of the 2024 Formula 1 season continues with final practice and qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and you can follow the action here.

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso topped Thursday practice at Jeddah but Red Bull remains the hot favourite ahead of the main event in Saudi Arabia.

Carlos Sainz has withdrawn from the rest of the race weekend with appendicitis and Ferrari has called up junior driver Oliver Bearman who will make his F1 debut as his replacement.

Saudi Arabian GP final practice starts at 1:30pm GMT (4:30pm local time) ahead of qualifying at 5pm GMT (8pm local time).

By: James Newbold, Haydn Cobb

Summary

Summary
  • Verstappen takes pole position from Leclerc, Perez and Alonso
  • Following his FP3 crash, Zhou unable to set a lap time in Q1; Bottas, Ocon, Gasly and Sargeant also eliminated in the session
  • Stricken by a technical issue on his Haas, Hulkenberg causes a red flag in Q2
  • Standing in for Sainz at Ferrari, Bearman just misses out on Q3 and will start his F1 debut in 11th
Leaderboard
  1. Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Leclerc, Ferrari
  3. Perez, Red Bull
  4. Alonso, Aston Martin
  5. Piastri, McLaren
  6. Norris, McLaren
  7. Russell, Mercedes
  8. Hamilton, Mercedes
  9. Tsunoda, RB
  10. Stroll, Aston Martin
Status: Stopped
With that, we'll wrap up this live text coverage of Saudi Arabian GP qualifying. We'll be back tomorrow for the main event, with the pre-race build-up before lights out at 5pm GMT. Until then, go well!
Meanwhile, a fresh twist in the Red Bull saga has emerged, as Helmut Marko has said he might be suspended after the Saudi Arabian GP! The developing story is here.
The front three pose for the customary post-quali picture and that wraps up qualifying. Here's the Saudi Arabian GP qualifying report.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20 in the pit lane

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20 in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Verstappen on his first pole in Saudi Arabia: "It was a very good day. We improved the car a little bit overnight and that gave me more confidence to attack the high speed corners. Around here it really depends on how you can get to the limit. Today I felt very comfortable with the car."
Leclerc on his stand-in team-mate Bearman: "First I hope Carlos will recover quickly. On Ollie's side he has done an incredible job obviously with only one session in FP3 and he was straight up to speed and comfortable with the car so it is good. I am happy for him."
Leclerc on another front row: "The first lap in Q3 we tried something different on the preparation laps but it didn't work out for us and then for the second lap I put everything togethe... that was what was in the car today."
Perez on P3: "We didn't get much of an improvement on the second lap [in Q3] so we missed the front row. Overall, Max has done a tremendous lap and that was not possible for me today. But the front row was achievable."
Perez qualifies third which he'll take given his recent qualifying struggles. He has been called to the stewards for failing to follow the maximum delta lap time in Q3, while Bearman has just been cleared for the same offence in Q1 and Q2.
It is also the sixth race in a row, including the tail end of 2023, that Leclerc and Verstappen qualify on the front row together.
Verstappen's final margin over Leclerc is 0.319s. "That was a very lovely qualifying, the car was on rails," he says over team radio. That's his 34th F1 career pole.
Verstappen didn't need to better his first Q3 lap which gives him pole position for the Saudi Arabian GP!
Alonso cannot improve by enough so he slips back to fourth.
Leclerc goes second with a 1m27.791s to push Perez off the front row!
Russell bails from his last lap so he will start seventh at best.
Piastri goes fourth, Norris fifth but nobody can crack the top three yet.
Hamilton improves but he can only go seventh... and gives a massive tow to Alonso who starts his final lap. Smart work by the Spaniard.
The Aston Martin pair are the last out on the track as everyone gets ready for the final Q3 lap.
Everyone will be on fresh softs for this run, so it is time for all or nothing.
"I don't know. It just feels very weird on new tyres. Very difficult to drive," Leclerc says over team radio.
So, advantage Verstappen by a third of a second from Perez with the second and final Q3 runs to come.
Leclerc, after his second prep lap, goes fourth with a 1m28.272s. Just the eight-tenths to find to match Verstappen...
And here come the Red Bulls! Perez takes provisional pole for a few seconds but he is beaten by Verstappen's 1m27.472s. That puts him 0.335s ahead of Perez and half a second faster of Alonso in third. Wow.
Russell sets the early time to beat of 1m28.316s and then come Piastri, Norris and Hamilton.
Leclerc is on another warm-up lap while most of the others have gone for a timed effort straight away. Let's see how it shakes out.
All 10 contenders in Q3 are out on track. Lots of fresh softs on show for the first runs.
Right, Q3 time. Tsunoda is effectively the disruptor in place of the other Ferrari. Off we go.
"That was a messy session, sorry about that," Bearman says over team radio. He did have some squirrely moments in Q2 including a kiss with the wall but still a solid effort.
For the second time in qualifying Bearman has been requested to see the stewards for not following the maximum delta lap time. It shouldn't risk his qualifying position though. What an effort by young Brit, from getting F2 pole to 11th on the F1 grid in 24 hours.
Out in Q2: P11 Bearman, P12 Albon, P13 Magnussen, P14 Ricciardo, P15 Hulkenberg.
Tsunoda improves to go eighth, so all eyes on Bearman to see if he can knock Hamilton out of qualifying... no! Bearman's 1m28.642s is just 0.036s slower than the seven-time world champion. That is a terrific effort though.
Hamilton improves but only goes ninth, so he is at risk with Tsunoda 10th.
Albon is out in Q2 as he only goes 12th. He joins Hulkenberg in the exit area. Three more spots to be filled.
Hamilton is the driver on the bubble in the final two minutes of Q2. Bearman is his nearest rival but he needs to find a quarter of a second to get into the top 10.
Then Norris pushes his team-mate back one place to take fourth. Is it enough to make Q3?
Piastri goes fourth quickest, some four-tenths off Verstappen's leading effort.
Five minutes to go in Q2 and in the danger zone is Magnussen, Ricciardo, Albon, Bearman and the already relegated Hulkenberg.
Leclerc, on used softs, goes third quickest with a 1m28.179s. Just 0.101s splitting the top three.
Perez goes quickest but for mere seconds as Verstappen goes top with a 1m28.078s. Alonso splits the Red Bull pair with second place.
Bearman overcooks it and locks up which wrecks his first timed lap. A grizzly one for Bearman, some might say.
Everyone apart from the McLarens and the stranded Hulkenberg are preparing for a timed effort. Most are on fresh softs, apart from the Mercedes pair.

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