Teams' reaction after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Street Circuitsa

Round 2 of the 2024 F1 season, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix saw three-time world champion Max Verstappen claim a ninth consecutive race victory, but Ferrari's 18-year-old reserve driver Oliver Bearman stole the show by bringing home his SF-24 in a sensational seventh place. Here is what teams had to say after the Jeddah F1 race.

Red Bull

Red Bull continued where they left off in the Bahrain season-opener a week ago. Their 2024 F1 car, the RB20 now appears to be the quickest car over one lap, and its long-run pace lifts the Milton Keynes-based team to another level in the pecking order. It was therefore no suprise to see the team that has been going through a difficult period due to the internal issues clinch its second one-two finish on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in a similar manner to how they performed in Manama last weekend.

Max Verstappen, 1st

“It was great to get my 100th podium today and it was another great race for us this weekend. I am very happy to win here in Jeddah: it has been a great start to the year and we don’t know the full potential of the car yet so now we want to keep the momentum going. Because of the early pit stop with the safety car, I knew we had to work on managing the pace.

"Every time that I pushed I tried to extend the gap as you don’t want to be driving on the limit constantly and be taking too many risks in this circuit. It was a very long stint on the hard tyre during the race but the pace of the car was very good and I was good at managing my tyres. In the last stint, the tyres were getting cold and it was easy to lose the grip at the end, but we pushed through and I think we did everything well today. The ultimate goal is to fight for the championship so we are off to a great start."

Sergio Perez, 2nd

"I think the early safety car compromised our race quite a lot unfortunately, I lost quite a lot going into traffic with Lando and Lewis, around seven to eight seconds. We needed to get through that quicker than we did to challenge for the win but other than that it was a strong drive and performance. I really feel like we have done the two steps forward that I was looking for this weekend, so we are getting closer to where we need to be.

"The Ferrari has the pace and I think there are tracks where they will be a lot closer to us, they probably didn’t maximise their full potential today and we did. Max is driving at a super high level and I think he is the only driver who has maximised qualifying and the race so far this season. It is great though because I have the best possible challenge in him. I must keep evolving weekend after weekend. Now, my full focus is on Melbourne and getting on top of what we have done here in Jeddah."


Ferrari have had a tough weekend with Carlos Sainz health issues. Carlos Sainz had been feeling unwell with suspected food poisoning, and still took part in Thursday's free practice, but he was then diagnosed with appendicitis.

Oliver Bearman was drafted in, but he could only complete a few laps in the third partice session before taking part in his very first qualifying session. The 18-year-old Briton delivered a sensational, eye-catching performance to qualify himself in P11 before climbing up the roder to P7 in the race on a circuit which is not only the second-fastest F1 track, but one of the most demanding race courses on the schedule.

Charles Leclerc had to contend with P4 in Bahrain due to brake issues, but he delivered again when it mattered, securing P2 on the grid, beating Sergio Perez in his quicker Red Bull RB20. The Monegasque then clinched his first podium of the year in the race, and demonstarted his eye-catching speed by setting the fastest lap of the race on the very last lap with 43-lap-*old hard tyres.

Charles Leclerc, 3rd

"We maximised our potential today and couldn’t have done better than this. We struggled a bit on the Mediums, the Hards were tricky at first but improved throughout the stint and I was able to set the fastest lap on them with a bit of help from DRS. All in all, I felt good in the car.

"Ollie did an exceptional job this weekend. To get into a Formula 1 car starting from FP3, when you don’t know the car and the track is one of the most challenging of the season, it is impressive to see someone get up to speed so quickly. It was super nice to see him so happy and excited all weekend and he’s done a great job."

Oliver Bearman, 7th

"What a great experience and opportunity to have my first race in Formula 1 with Scuderia Ferrari. It was physically demanding, especially in the end when I had Lando (Norris) and Lewis (Hamilton) behind me on Softs. I had to push flat out to maintain the gap and had to stay really focused, always checking my mirrors. It was a shame that the Safety Car came out so early, as I was comfortable on the Softs, but of course it was the right call to pit then and I’m very happy with the result.

"I’m confident that I maximised everything today and had great fun out there. I’ll never forget this weekend. Thank you to the whole team for their support and for giving me the chance to race."


McLaren appeared to be third quickest team behind the dominant Red Bull and Ferrari in Jeddah. Oscar Piastri made good use of the speed of his MCL38, finishing in P4.

His team-mate Lando Norris elected against pitting under the early safety car period, and led the race for a few laps, Although he showed reasonable speed on his used mediums, he was unable to catch his rivals after performing his late pit stop for new soft tyres. As a result, the Bristol-born driver finished in P8.

Lando Norris, 8th

"A reasonable race. We tried something with strategy but, in the end, it didn't quite pay off – but it was a good effort and I think it was the right decision at the time as we were covering all options for the team. There was reasonable pace in the car today, so we maybe missed out on a couple of points, but I think we did what we could. We took a little bit of a gamble, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and today it didn’t, but it could have done! So, I'm still happy. I think today’s pace was pretty strong so there are some good signs there. On to the next one!”

Oscar Piastri, 4th

"P4! I think that’s definitely the most we could have got out of that race, and we executed it well. It was a bit frustrating being stuck behind Lewis Hamilton for so long, but I think that was the most amount of points we could have got this weekend, so, I’m very happy. I can’t wait to go to Melbourne next for my home race, I'm really looking forward to racing at my local circuit in front of the Aussie fans.”

Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso continued his impressive form from Bahrain. He qualified fourth on the grid, only fractions away from P2. In the race, he was unable to keep up with Red Bull and Ferrari, but was able to keep Mercedes driver George Russell behind while he also finished the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Lando Norris, who stayed out on track when the safety car was deployed.

Alonso's team-mate Lance Stroll lacked speed in Q3 on Friday evening, ending up P10 on the grid. The race then did not last long for the Canadian as he clipped the wall at Turn 22 and crashed violently into the barriers at the next corner.

Fernando Alonso, 5th

"I'm very happy with finishing fifth in today's race. I think finishing in front of one McLaren, one Ferrari and both Mercedes is a great result for the team and probably around the maximum we can achieve at the moment.

"It was intense from start to finish and I had George [Russell] so close behind for most of the race. We went into the unknown a little bit with over 40 laps on the Hard set of tyres but we managed it all well and were able to make the one-stop strategy work. We will keep chasing for more performance and focus on the long term as it's a very long season ahead."

Lance Stroll, DNF

"A disappointing way to conclude a good weekend. I’d been pushing really hard in those opening laps – the cars around us were definitely faster and the tyres were already struggling. I was trying to build a gap and just clipped the wall.

"There are positives to take away, the team has scored points in both races and we feel there’s more pace to unlock in the car. I’m already looking ahead to Australia – it’s a race and a country that I really enjoy and I’m sure we can pick up the momentum again."


Mercedes have had a tough weekend. Their 2024 F1 car, the W15 appeared to lack speed in the high-speed corners with both drivers complaining about bouncing. As a result, George Russell and Lewis Hamilton qualified down in P7 and P8 respectively and finished down in P6 and P9 in the race.

Russell was stuck behind Fernando Alonso's Aston Martin, but he never really seemed to have the pace to overtake the two-time world champion. The soon-to-be Ferrari driver Lewis Hamilton stayed on track under the safety car, waiting for another interruption, but it did not come and the Briton had to contend himself with a ninth-placed finish in Jeddah.

Lewis Hamilton, 9th

"We tried our best to go long today and were hoping that we might benefit from a safety car or a VSC. Unfortunately it never came to us, and we ended up finishing slightly further back than we started. It was worth trying something different though. We gave it everything we had, and that was likely the best result we could get today given how the race played out.

"There is potential within this car, but we still need to add a good amount of performance. The car today was pretty good in the medium and low-speed corners, but we were losing out in the high-speed. These next few races will be tricky but we will be putting in a great deal of effort to improve as much as we can. I know everyone at the factory will be getting their heads down and working as hard as they can."

George Russell, 6th

"It was a long evening out there. I spent nearly 40 laps within 1.5 seconds of Fernando Alonso but couldn’t get past. I had a slippery car on the straights, but I couldn’t get close enough in the high-speed to give him any real pressure. P6 was likely a fair result in the end and it’s clear that we haven’t found the sweet spot with this car just yet.

"Overall though, we need to find a bit more performance. We’ve seen potential and pace in the car, but we haven’t shown it when it’s mattered. We need to understand why that is and improve ahead of Melbourne. As we’ve seen, the pecking order behind the Red Bulls is very close so we need to get on top of it. There’s lots of work to do but I believe in the team."


Nico Hulkenberg, 10th

“One point is worth a lot these days. It felt like a very clean race, and a really good race by the team strategy-wise. We split the cars during the Safety Car which was discussed before the race and that worked out well. At the restart when the faster cars disappeared, I managed to get free air, good pace, and a good rhythm. I think that was key, but also the teamwork from Kevin today to slow down the others for me to be able to make a pit window. It was perfect teamwork, and I’ll return the favour to him later in the season.”

Kevin Magnussen, 12th

“I showed good pace but unfortunately I got two penalties, so that’s not a great day for me of course, but I think I made up for it with the effort in keeping everyone behind to create a gap for Nico to pit. He scored a point so that’s super important and right now, I’m not fighting for a championship, so the real fight is in the Constructors’ Championship, and I’m happy that we scored a point today. It’s huge for the team, we earned it today, and it’s positive that we have the pace – for a second race in a row we’ve shown that we have good pace.”


Alex Albon, 11th

"It’s frustrating to not be fighting for points today, finishing just outside in P11. Haas did a great job with strategy using Kevin to hold up the group, which was very smart. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the speed and we were carrying front wing damage as well, so we struggled to progress through the field. We had a better race car than we showed today, so now the focus is on improving for Australia."

Logan Sargeant, 14th

"It was a decent race with a good 35 laps; however, we didn’t quite have the pace needed for the last 15 laps. I was starting to explore the potential towards the end of the race, but it was a bit too late. If I’d have realised the potential earlier, we could have picked more off, but I’ll look through it and see what I can do better. With the pace improving throughout the race, I’m confident we can unlock more potential for Australia."


Alpine showed an improved speed in Jeddah compared to Bahrain, but they were still the slowest in qualifying.

Pierre Gasly encountered a gearbox-related issue on the warm-up lap which forced him to retire from the action. His team-mate Esteban Ocon was involved in a race-long battle with Haas racer Kevin Magnussen, the two Williams and two RB drivers, but he was a long shot away from scoring any points.

Esteban Ocon, 13th

“Realistically, that’s all we could achieve in the race today. For us, we took it as another opportunity to learn more about the car. There was some chaos at the start, so we did well to stay clean and capitalise on some positions. There were some moments of close wheel to wheel racing, which was good at times.

"We are just not quick enough to score points and that’s where we are at this moment in time. We will keep our heads high and keep working to find performance. I am in Enstone this week and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody there and collectively working hard to improve our current situation. Australia is our next opportunity and I look forward to it.”

Pierre Gasly, DNF

“Obviously, it’s a disappointing day for us in Jeddah. We had a gearbox issue on the formation lap where we lost sixth gear and then lost synchronisation of all the other gears so we had to retire the car. We have to investigate why this happened as it cost us valuable track time today.

"It’s disappointing for the whole team as everyone is working really hard, bringing good energy all weekend, but things just are not going our way. It’s not easy at the moment, but we need to keep our heads high and keep working to find the performance that we are lacking. We’ll stick together and go to Australia ready to go again.”


The Visa Cash App outfit had another difficult day with Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo finishing outside the top ten. The Japanese racer had a promising qualifying session, securing P9 for the Jeddah F1 race. However, the grand prix did not pan out the way he hoped for as he tumbled down the order.

His race team-mate Ricciardo started from almost the back end of the field. He had a slow pit stop which meant that he rejoined the track in last position during the safety car interruption. Although the eight-time grand prix winner managed to claw back to his direct rivals, he was unable to improve his position significantly, and he had a spin at Turn 1 in the closing stages of the race.

Daniel Ricciardo, 16th

“It was a tough race and overall, a tough weekend, which is very frustrating. During the Safety Car time, when almost everyone pitted, we had a slow pit stop and a few laps from the end, I made a mistake and hit too much kerb in Turn 1, which caused a spin. I’m staying optimistic though, as I know we have some positive signs and we just need to polish our package up.

"We have a week off now, and there will be a big push from everyone to get it right and make sure we have a good package for the next race. I know the team wants it as badly as I do. I’m excited to go back racing in Melbourne, so let’s get ready for it.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 15th

“It was a difficult race today. I made some mistakes and let some cars behind me pass when I was trying to overtake the car in front, and that’s my fault. We struggled with our pace and grip today, so it was difficult to drive. On the positive side, we had a strong qualifying, and we’ll look into our race pace and figure out why we struggled as much as we did. There are things I can improve on today, so we’ll look through them and apply the learnings for the future.”

Kick Sauber

The Kick Sauber team had a difficult weekend in Jeddah with their drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu finishing down in 17th and 18th respectively.

The Finn complained about the lack of race speed and high tyre degradtion, claiming that the team's choice of a soft-hard strategy was a too ambitious approach. After failing to set a single timed lap in qualifying, Zhou elected to extend his first stint by staying out under the safety car interruption. He completed a late pit stop, but it turned out to be a disastrous tyre service with his team unable to mount the new tyres in time.

Valtteri Bottas, 17th

“It has undoubtedly been a tough race, and a tough weekend overall, where we didn’t have the pace we were aiming to unlock from our car. We went for an aggressive strategy with Soft-Hard, but we figured pretty quickly we were struggling quite a lot on the hard compound, never properly getting it to work.

"We switched for Softs again towards the end, hoping it would make a difference – it did – but unfortunately we had lost too much time compared to our competitors, and couldn’t make much of an improvement.

"With a week break before Australia, we’ll have the time to regroup as a team and analyse what hasn’t worked out so far for us. This is just the second race out of twenty-four, but it’ll be important to address our issues and work hard in order to promptly solve them. As a positive, we have some updates in the pipeline, which hopefully will allow us to make a step forward and get back into the fight for points.”

Zhou Guanyu, 18th

“This was definitely not my weekend. The race was difficult in the beginning, but we managed to go quite long on the medium compound tyres before pitting for new softs. We would have comfortably finished in P11, but unfortunately, the pit-stop compromised my race. We encountered another issue with a cross-threaded nut, something that we, as a team, are investigating.

"We need to understand how this happened and improve to make sure it doesn’t occur again. The positive takeaway from this weekend is that my pace was looking quite good, and we’re definitely up there fighting in the midfield, close to the points.“