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What the teams said – Race day in Saudi Arabia

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Kevin Magnussen of Denmark driving the (20) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari

Red Bull

Verstappen was unchallenged down to Turn 1 after he got a brilliant start to lead comfortably. He briefly lost the lead in the pit stop period as Norris chose not to come in, but soon dispatched the McLaren and from there, he swept to his second straight victory to start his year in perfect style. Perez had to work harder from third on the grid, but made his way past Leclerc and also Norris in the pit stops. He did pick up a five-second time penalty as he was deemed to have been released unsafely in the pit lane chaos under the Safety Car, but his advantage over Leclerc was such that his P2 was never in doubt.

FACTS AND STATS: Bearman makes it four Brits in the points for the first time since 1968

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."

Christian Horner, Team Principal

"Today was a very well executed race, the only mishap we had was the unsafe release, but Checo had enough in hand to keep that second place and Max was clinical throughout to win again. The cars performed brilliantly all weekend and the drivers have done their part to deliver us a second one-two of the season already. I think you can see that the Team is operating at an incredibly high level, trackside and back home in Milton Keynes, we've carried that momentum from last year and that is testament to a lot of hard work from everyone. The RB20 was an aggressive evolution from the RB19 for us but after a dominant display in Bahrain, we've come to another circuit and it's performed well again. In Melbourne we will have another, very different challenge, so let’s see how we perform. We have started the season in the best possible way we could and the whole Team now want to continue this form into the remainder of a very long season."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Race winner Max Verstappen of the Netherlands and Oracle Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Ferrari

Leclerc was side by side with Perez through the first handful of turns, emerging ahead after some tough but fair racing. But he couldn’t hold the might of the Red Bull at bay, dropping behind Perez after a handful of laps. He came home a lonely third after a relatively quiet race. As for Bearman, he was one of only two drivers to start on softs. That gave him grip on the very busy first lap, when he tried to make a move on Tsunoda, showing no signs of nerves. He eventually got past the RB after the Safety Car came in, and then overtook Hulkenberg to show his wheel to wheel prowess. He had to be error-free in the closing laps with a freshly shod Norris on his tail, but didn’t put a foot wrong as he came home a brilliant seventh on debut.

READ MORE: Bearman ‘destroyed’ after points-scoring Ferrari debut as he reflects on ‘good showing’ in Saudi Arabia

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."

Fred Vasseur, Team Principal

"With Charles today, I think we paid the price a little bit in the first part of the race of not being in clean air. Unfortunately, after the pit stop, he lost time with Lando Norris and so he was unable to get close enough to Sergio Perez to try and make the most of the five second penalty handed out to the Mexican. Overall, Charles produced a solid race and when he had a clear track ahead of him he was able to match the pace of the Red Bulls to the extent that he set the fastest lap at the very end. We have to put our rivals under pressure if we want to beat them and today, we didn’t manage it. The good news is that we have made progress in terms of the tyres and had minimal degradation.

"As for Ollie, I didn’t have any specific expectations given the circumstance that led to him being in the car. And yet, he managed these two days amazingly well, almost like a veteran. There were no problems with his start or at the pit stop, things that were all new to him. He was always calm and precise with his feedback over the radio and gradually his confidence in the car grew so that towards the end he managed to keep two great drivers, Lando (Norris) and Lewis (Hamilton) behind him.

"It was nice that Carlos was able to join us at the track today, just over 24 hours after his operation and we hope he will be able to race in Australia. If nothing else, this weekend has taught us that, if the need arises again, we have a reserve driver who is very much up to the task."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Third placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari celebrates in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

McLaren

Piastri had a great start, picking off Alonso early on and as the lead car, got the call to pit under the Safety Car. McLaren’s worries about losing out by double stacking seemed well founded, and meant Norris wound up leading the race for a few laps. But with no Safety Car or late red flag, Norris’ pit stop wound up dropping him down to eighth, and he ran out of laps to chase down the Ferrari ahead. As for Piastri, he came home a very solid fourth after a decent weekend.

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.”

Andrea Stella, Team Principal

“Another strong result here in Saudi Arabia. Oscar drove very solidly throughout the weekend and today he capitalised on the strong qualifying yesterday, finishing fourth and driving a faultless race, with some close but clean fights.

“With Lando, we decided to split the strategy as a team at the Safety Car, which could have put us in a very rewarding situation in the event of another Safety Car or a red flag, which is not infrequent here in Saudi, and so definitely worthwhile taking this opportunity. Unfortunately, there was no further Safety Car or a Red Flag which meant Lando potentially lost a couple of positions compared to where we could have finished. Nonetheless, it was still a strong result and very good driving by Lando.

"We take the positives from the first two races with the knowledge it will be a battle of development throughout the season. We are pleased to be so close to a podium finish and know where we have to keep working and improving the car."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren MCL38 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Aston Martin

Stroll brought out the early Safety Car after he clipped the wall, breaking his suspension and going straight on into the barriers. He was okay, although he looked suitably frustrated as he stood behind the fencing watching his car being cleared away. That left Alonso as the sole Aston Martin left, and the Spaniard seemed worried at times about the pace of the cars behind. But although he lost out to Piastri early on, he had enough pace to keep Russell at bay for a second points finish in a row.

WATCH: Stroll crashes out of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after clipping wall

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."

Mike Krack, Team Principal

"A strong drive from Fernando and 10 points for the team. Both drivers were under a lot of pressure at the start and had to push very hard for position. Unfortunately, a small mistake from Lance came with a high price. This is an unforgiving street circuit and all that matters in such situations is Lance is OK.

"A big thank-you to everyone in the team for their hard efforts – it has been a busy three weeks in the Middle East. Overall, we have made a positive start, have lots of data to take back to Silverstone, and are already focusing on the next race."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Fernando Alonso of Spain and Aston Martin F1 Team prepares to drive on the grid during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Mercedes

Russell had a very lonely race. He was trying to chase down the McLarens early on, and then found himself behind Alonso after the Safety Car. But despite getting into the DRS range late on, his tyres were too old to try and make a move and he trailed home four seconds adrift. As for Hamilton, he was left out when nearly everyone pitted under the early Safety Car. That put him on a tricky strategy, and with no late Safety Car, his eventual pit stop dropped him down the order.

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."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"Today was not a good day for us. It is clear that we are struggling with the car in the high-speed corners. We are competitive elsewhere but in three corners here, we were losing about half-a-second. It was therefore incredibly difficult for the drivers to attack with. We tried something different on the strategy but unfortunately, with the low levels of degradation we saw across the field, it didn’t work out for us. Congratulations must go to Ollie Bearman; he jumped in the car at such short notice and drove a great race, particularly in that final stint. It shows just how high the level is in Formula 2.

"There is so much learning we can take from these first two race weekends. We need to get our heads down to analyse, understand and improve. It’s clear that we’ve got a lot of work to do but these tough days make you better. Everyone is committed to getting the car into a better place and we look forward to coming back stronger in Australia."

Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director

"We've not performed well this weekend. Our high-speed performance has been weak, and the car is bouncing in those corners. That contributed to our poor qualifying but also meant we couldn't challenge Aston Martin and the McLarens in the race. We were losing so much time in sector one that we spent the rest of the lap clawing it back.

"Overall, it has been a very frustrating weekend but ultimately one of our own making. We've seen glimpses of strong performance, but it's not been easy to land the set-up in the right place and we've clearly got some weaknesses that still need ironing out. We are going to have to work hard between now and Melbourne to improve. The tracks are similar and we don’t want another weekend like this one."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: George Russell of Great Britain driving the (63) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Haas

Haas had a very entertaining race, for some right reasons and a few wrong ones. Hulkenberg didn’t pit under the Safety Car, so was running in the top 10 with Magnussen a few places behind. But the Dane seemed to squeeze Albon into the wall, and picked up a 10-second time penalty for that move. Then in fighting Tsunoda, he ran off the track but held on to the position, earning another 10-second penalty. With his race heavily compromised, the team asked him to back the pack up to build Hulkenberg enough time ahead to pit and stay in the points – which the Dane did with aplomb.

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.”

Ayao Komatsu, Team Principal

“Today was an amazing team effort and I’m so happy that it was from great teamwork. We were fighting for P10 – one point – but against eight other drivers, so everything had to be perfect to take the opportunity. Today, Kevin got two penalties, but once we realised he was out of points contention, we made a great call and Kev drove fantastically to hold those guys back while setting a target lap time, and Nico drove faultlessly. It was a huge team effort, congratulations to everyone, and I’m really looking forward to the next race.”

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images)

Williams

Albon was squeezed into the wall by Magnussen, and that damaged his front wing and cost him plenty of performance. But that Williams looked quite handy in race trim regardless, with Albon fighting back and nearly passing the Haas on a later occasion. As for Sargeant, he wound up stuck in a bit of a DRS train and came home a few places further back.

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."

Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance

"Today was one those incredibly frustrating races. Alex had a superb start and was ahead of the Ferrari but got caught in traffic at T1 and, crucially, lost a place to Magnussen. Most of the field pitted when the safety car came out and when Alex made a pass on Magnussen shortly after the race start, he was unfairly impeded which Magnussen was penalised for, but it cost us several places and caused damage to the front wing end plate. Despite the damage, Alex was able to attack and overtake several cars, but was unable to take the final points-scoring position due to the sensible team play made by Haas.

"Logan raced well today and was part of the same pack of cars as Alex for the majority of the race. His pace was strong, but he suffered with slightly higher tyre degradation than Alex in the final stint.

"Although we are frustrated to have finished just outside of the points, there are positives from today, including the basic race pace of the FW46.

"We have learned a lot over the last couple of weeks in the Middle East and the team can now regroup back in Europe before heading to Australia for the third round of the Championship. Melbourne is always one of the highlights of the season and we are looking forward to building on the work done in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia."

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Alexander Albon of Thailand driving the (23) Williams FW46 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Alpine

Gasly complained about his gearbox on the Formation Lap, and although he started the race, he was immediately called back to the pits to retire the car. Ocon did make it to the finish, and was involved in plenty of wheel to wheel action in the midfield as he fought with Tsunoda, Magnussen and Albon. But with everyone having DRS, he didn’t have the pace advantage to make any real inroads in those battles.

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.”

Bruno Famin, Team Principal

“We said it was going to be a tough start to the season and it has been a very difficult first few weeks with the test and two Grands Prix. Even if we have upgrades coming, we need to understand our lack of performance. And, today, we have to investigate the gearbox problem, which cost Pierre valuable track time. There is only one thing we can do and that is to continue working hard all together to improve the current situation that we are in. Credit to the factories in Enstone and Viry and to the trackside team for their fantastic mindset and tenacity to improve quickly our current performance level. Next stop, Australia.”

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Pierre Gasly of France and Alpine F1 and Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari talk in the Paddock prior to the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

RB

Not to be for RB, despite Tsunoda starting in the top 10. He lost out to Stroll off the line, and was then picked off by Bearman at the restart. He then found himself fighting with Magnussen, losing out to the Dane on multiple occasions and cut a frustrated figure at times. Not as frustrated as Ricciardo though, who dropped two places off the line and then couldn’t find the pace to get involved. He even spun late on for good measure, on a day to forget for the Aussie. Tsunoda was then handed a post-race penalty for an unsafe release on the reconnaissance laps, which dropped him a place.

HIGHLIGHTS: Watch the action from the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Verstappen takes the win and Bearman shines

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.”

Alan Permane, Racing Director

“With Yuki, we did a conventional race like most others. We started him on the medium tyre, and when the Safety Car came out, pitted him for the hard compound. What then happened was a little difficult to take. Magnussen drove off the track to deliberately put himself in front of Yuki and then slowed him down by up to two seconds a lap, which allowed Hulkenberg, who hadn’t stopped yet, to create a gap and of course pit in front of all the cars behind. That, to me, doesn’t seem correct and is the very definition of unsportsmanlike behaviour. I’m sure we and other teams will talk to the FIA about it for future races. Regarding Daniel’s race, we had a problem with the tyres during his pitstop and it put him at the back of the field, from here it was difficult to move forward.

“Overall, we clearly made a step with our understanding of the car and qualified well, which is positive. We now look forward to a break for our team after a long three weeks away, and I have no doubt we’ll come back stronger in Melbourne.”

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Yuki Tsunoda of Japan driving the (22) Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Kick Sauber

Zhou was one of four drivers not to pit under the Safety Car, and ran in P11 for much of the race. He was the very last driver to stop, hanging it out in the hopes of a Safety Car. His pit stop was incredibly slow too, the second weekend in a row Kick Sauber have had issues, and that dropped him down to last. Bottas finished just ahead, his gamble to start on the soft tyre not paying dividends.

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.“

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative

“Today marked a rather disappointing outcome for our race, despite the reasonable pace shown by both drivers. Valtteri had a good start, but yellow lights signalling a potential stalling car forced him to brake, resulting in a loss of a few positions. Taking advantage of an early Safety Car, and considering his soft compound tyre start, we opted for an early pit stop. Unfortunately, we struggled to find the optimal operating window for the hard compound tyres to perform at their best. Zhou’s race was characterised by a consistent and good performance. Choosing to keep him out during the Safety Car phase allowed him to fight with Kevin [Magnussen] and Nico [Hülkenberg] for points. Regrettably, we faced an issue during the pit stop: it was similar to last week’s in Bahrain, not the fault of any of our mechanics but something that requires thorough investigation. This setback placed Zhou at the back of the field, yet he persisted, showcasing good pace on the soft compound tyres. In a highly competitive midfield, we can’t afford any minor issue and must extract 100% of our performance. We’re looking with confidence towards the next race in Melbourne to be fighting for points once again.”

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JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Valtteri Bottas of Finland driving the (77) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Pirelli

Mario Isola, Motorsport Director

“It’s been a very straightforward race, both in terms of the final result, which was almost a carbon copy of Sakhir and when it comes to how the tyres performed. We knew this would be a race where the quickest strategy was a one-stop. Obviously, the Safety Car after seven laps brought forward the pit stop window. The C2 proved to be very consistent, both in terms of performance and degradation, as can be seen from the fact that the fastest lap of the race came right at the end courtesy of Leclerc on a set that had done 43 laps. The C3 was also up to the task, because the four drivers who chose to stay out when the Safety Car appeared, were able to take it all the way to its wear limit while still running pretty competitively.

“Compared to Friday’s long runs, graining on this compound was minimal, which was down to the track gradually rubbering in more and more with use. Hamilton’s and Norris’ stints on the C4 also demonstrated that the softest compound we had here could be competitive even in the first part of the race, although only two drivers tried to exploit that.”

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