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Live: F1 Saudi Arabian GP commentary and updates

Follow the live action as the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix reaches its climax on race day.

Round two of the 2024 F1 season is here, with Max Verstappen starting from pole position for Red Bull.

But off the track it appears all-out war is unfolding at the world champions, as Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko stated he could be suspended after the race, which led to Verstappen indicating his position at the team might not be certain if Marko departs.

On the track, Oliver Bearman is set to make his F1 race debut as he steps in for Carlos Sainz at Ferrari, with the Spaniard sidelined by appendicitis. The British 18-year-old starts from 11th on the grid.

The Saudi Arabian GP starts at 5pm GMT.

By: Haydn Cobb, Sam Hall

Summary

Summary
  • Polesitter Verstappen claims a dominant Saudi Arabian GP victory, heading a Red Bull 1-2 from Perez 
  • Leclerc completes the podium for Ferrari
  • Bearman finishes seventh on his F1 debut standing in for the unwell Sainz 
Leaderboard
  1. Verstappen, Red Bull
  2. Perez, Red Bull
  3. Leclerc, Ferrari
  4. Piastri, McLaren
  5. Alonso, Aston Martin
  6. Russell, Mercedes
  7. Bearman, Ferrari
  8. Norris, McLaren
  9. Hamilton, Mercedes
  10. Hulkenberg, Haas
Status: Stopped
With that we'll call time on this live text coverage. After a triple-header of testing and the opening two rounds, a small break before the Australian GP on 22-24 March. So get those alarm clocks out! Until then have a lovely rest of your weekend - go well!
The podium finishers get busy with the fizzy! That rounds out the Saudi Arabian GP.
The FIA president Ben Sulayem hands over the winners' medal to Verstappen - he's been inauspicious so far this weekend.
The familiar pairing of the Dutch and Austrian national anthems rings out as the podium presentation begins. Verstappen's mechanics are standing above the podium looking down at the scene. Not sure how he's going to spray them with the sparkling rose water from there.
Replays catch Bearman stepping out of his Ferrari and being immediately congratulated by the two Mercedes drivers. Nice touch.
Here's the developing report on Verstappen's win in Saudi.
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, and the rest of the field at the start

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB20, leads Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF-24, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB20, Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38, and the rest of the field at the start

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

Verstappen on his latest win: "It was a fantastic weekend for the whole team but also for myself, I felt really good with the car. It felt the same in the race. The last stint it was longer than what we would've like but with the safety car we had to go for it. So the last few laps with the backmarkers and the cold tyres was a little bit slippery but we had good pace and could manage it."
Perez on his penalty: "It was a shame we got that penalty, luckily it didn't hurt our race but in this scenario I was quite close to Max and everyone was coming in at the same time. We need a wider pitlane."
Perez on second place: "We definitely made some good progress [from Bahrain] and it was a shame that we just qualified out of the front row because we had a great start but unfortunately Charles kept it together so we couldn't get through. Then it was quite a compromised race with the safety car so early, it was a very long stint on the hard and it was tricky at times."
Leclerc on Bearman's performance: "He completely deserves it, he has done an incredible job, even from FP3 he was straight on the pace and in qualifying he missed Q3 by so little. Today he has been incredible, seventh in your first F1 race having only done FP3 in a new car is hugely impressive. I am sure he is extremely proud and everyone has noticed how talented he is. It is just a matter of time before he comes here in F1."
Leclerc on third place: "We had quite a good pace - we got the fastest lap at the end with help from the DRS - so it was pretty good, but it was a bit of a boring race because the Red Bulls were too quick and behind we had a bit of a gap."
 
Verstappen gives it his traditional fist clench as he steps out of his Red Bull and celebrates yet another win. He is simply unstoppable.
To no surprise Bearman is named driver of the day. And what a day for the 18-year-old.
Piastri comes home in fourth ahead of Alonso, Russell and the brilliant Bearman. Norris, Hamilton and Hulkenberg round out the points - a point for the Haas driver is huge in that midfield fight.
Perez, even with his penalty, makes it a Red Bull 1-2! Leclerc takes third and the fastest lap on the final lap to boot.
And here comes Bearman. Without a doubt, the driver of the day in P7, scoring six points on his F1 debut. What a performance! Brilliant!
Verstappen wins the Saudi Arabian GP! That's his ninth win in a row and his 100th F1 career podium!
A late spin for Ricciardo at Turn 2. He fires up the rears and gets going in the right direction. He's P16 and ahead only of the Sauber drivers. Not the dream season he had hoped for.
Final lap time! Verstappen's lead is back up to 7.5s.
Russell isn't able to eat into Alonso's advantage, as he loses a lap time for track limits at Turn 2, so it appears the Spaniard is safe in fifth.
Two laps to go and Bearman's gap is still over two seconds. Avoid an incident, and the six points are yours Ollie!
Bearman currently has 46% of the vote for driver of the day and next is Hamilton on 7%. That could be the biggest percentage chunk ever - and fully deserved.
Verstappen's lead is down to 6.7s but it is a net 11.7s with Perez's penalty. It looks like both Red Bull drivers are easing it home.
It's only two-tenths gained on the latest lap with Hamilton now on Norris' gearbox. A battle here would seal Bearman's position.
Norris only gained 0.15s on the last lap over Bearman. At that rate, the positions will remain unchanged with less than five laps remaining.
Russell is gaining on Alonso in the fight for fifth but earlier the Aston driver said he is in quali mode until the end of the race. Five laps to go.
Verstappen's lead has dipped to 7.5s on Perez (who still has the 5s penalty remember) but the Dutch driver might be easing off to go for a final blast for the fastest lap. He needs to find almost three-tenths on his personal best to take it off Hamilton.
After asking Ferrari if Norris will catch at this pace, Bearman is told, "Yes, in about four laps." 

Could we have a grandstand finish between the Brits?
Into the points goes Hulkenberg as Zhou pits. It's a slow pitstop to make things worse, with a lengthy issue on the front right.
A black and white warning flag for Norris, but he's broken the DRS of Hamilton. The pair need to find half-a-second per lap just to catch Bearman, let alone pass him.
Verstappen has found another car on track! He is approaching the Magnussen (11th) to Ricciardo (17th) train and will work his way through lapping them between now and the end of the race.
Leclerc looks destined for the final podium place given he is 12s off Perez and 11.4s in front of Piastri. The gaps between the frontrunners have really stretched out since the safety car.
An interesting development with Norris noted for weaving on the straight.
"That's impressive through the high speed with him," says Hamilton. 

The Mercedes driver is admiring the corner speed McLaren currently has. But in a straight line, it is Mercedes that have the advantage.
Brit watch time with the four drivers one behind the other, although with some space, from sixth to ninth. 

The pair that are directly battling at present are Norris and Hamilton at the rear of that pack.
Verstappen, remember him, has lost the fastest lap to Perez but his lead is still a comfortable 8.7s.
McLaren responds to Hamilton pitting and pulls in Norris to ensure he comes out ahead of the Mercedes driver.
Alonso kisses the wall at Turn 9 but gets away with it, unlike his Aston team-mate earlier in this race.
Hamilton pits at the end of lap 36 and duly opts for the soft tyres. He comes out in ninth place, 7.5s behind Bearman.

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