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Qualifying report
Formula 1 Saudi Arabian GP

F1 Saudi Arabian GP: Verstappen beats Leclerc to pole

Max Verstappen took pole for Formula 1’s 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez in the second Red Bull.

Pole man Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, celebrates in Parc Ferme

Verstappen produced a 1m27.472s on his first run in Q3, but did not improve on his second attempt and so that stood as the time to beat.

Leclerc had only been fourth, a massive 0.8s down after the first runs, where he had tried an additional warm-up tour to cure a handling problem he was suddenly feeling with new softs.

On his second attempt with just a single warm-up effort he cut Verstappen’s advantage to 0.319s and beat Perez, who had been unable to go quicker than his first lap in the final segment.

Behind came Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and the McLaren pair – led by Oscar Piastri throughout Q3 – and the two Mercedes drivers.

George Russell ended up ahead of Lewis Hamilton despite making a mistake in the first sector on his final Q3 lap and backing off, with Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll rounding out the top 10.

Q2 was interrupted after four minutes when Nico Hulkenberg stopped in the Turn 8 runoff just has he had begun a first flier in the middle segment where his team-mate, Kevin Magnussen had provided a tow to the other Haas.

But Hulkenberg’s VF-24 was already sounding ill, with the German pulling over early in sector one and bringing out the red flags as his car had to be recovered.

After a five-minute delay, Q2 built to is conclusion where Oliver Bearman missed the cut by 0.036s in Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, with the 18-year-old followed by Alex Albon, Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo.

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24 in the pit lane

Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24 in the pit lane

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Australian just failed to beat his personal best with his final Q2 flier and so was knocked out ahead of the stranded Hulkenberg.

In Q1, Valtteri Bottas was shuffled back to being eliminated in 16th being others improving late in the first segment, where Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly also fell for the second week in a row.

Bottas was left fuming at traffic issues late in Q1, with his engineer claiming he was 0.1s up on his personal best in sector one on his last lap, after the Finn was eliminated by 0.072s behind Albon.

This time they ended up off the back row, where Logan Sargeant and Zhou Guanyu will start for Williams and Sauber – the former setting a personal best that was not good enough to progress well ahead of the chequered flag falling.

Zhou only left the pits with 1m39s left in Q1 after his hefty FP3 shunt, but he did not make it around to start a first flier and he was eliminated in 20th with no time set.

Bearman faces a post-session investigation for apparently failing to respect the race directors’ instruction on the maximum delta time in qualifying when not on a flying lap, in both Q1 and Q2.

F1 Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying Results

Cla Driver # Chassis Engine Time km/h
1 Netherlands M. Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1 Red Bull Red Bull


2 Monaco C. Leclerc Ferrari 16 Ferrari Ferrari



3 Mexico S. Perez Red Bull Racing 11 Red Bull Red Bull



4 Spain F. Alonso Aston Martin Racing 14 Aston Martin Mercedes



5 Australia O. Piastri McLaren 81 McLaren Mercedes



6 United Kingdom L. Norris McLaren 4 McLaren Mercedes



7 United Kingdom G. Russell Mercedes 63 Mercedes Mercedes



8 United Kingdom L. Hamilton Mercedes 44 Mercedes Mercedes



9 Japan Y. Tsunoda RB 22 RB Red Bull



10 Canada L. Stroll Aston Martin Racing 18 Aston Martin Mercedes



11 United Kingdom O. Bearman Ferrari 38 Ferrari Ferrari



12 Thailand A. Albon Williams 23 Williams Mercedes



13 Denmark K. Magnussen Haas F1 Team 20 Haas Ferrari



14 Australia D. Ricciardo RB 3 RB Red Bull



15 Germany N. Hulkenberg Haas F1 Team 27 Haas Ferrari


16 Finland V. Bottas Sauber 77 Sauber Ferrari



17 France E. Ocon Alpine 31 Alpine Renault



18 France P. Gasly Alpine 10 Alpine Renault



19 United States L. Sargeant Williams 2 Williams Mercedes



20 China Z. Guanyu Sauber 24 Sauber Ferrari



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