Major events

Will Smith is loving the light show. So far, he seems to be the only major celebrity on show in Jeddah. How did they get him…?… Ah.

Max Verstappen: “We have a fast car but I need to be careful. I know it’s not entirely realistic to fight for the win. We have to stay out of trouble on Lap 25 [for P2]? I will try to do better.”

The Saudi Arabian national anthem playedShort but sweet, and the race is no longer far away.

Lance Stroll: “There’s a lot of adrenaline. The wind is up and it can affect the balance.

“I feel good,” says Lando Norris. “We’re going to focus on Astons and Ferraris,” says George Russell, with a broad smile.

This is high-end conversation at this point.

Fred Vasseur jokes with Brundle about owning a Ferrari. “There’s no pressure,” he retorts. “Charles’ goal is to get back into the top five and put Carlos on the podium.”

Will Smith is on the grid. “Tolly Lewis, that’s my boy. Late last night, I lost my voice,” laughed the one-time freshman prince.

The grid fills up, and Christian Horner explains that Verstappen’s problem is linked to the brake fluid. “If Max gets on the podium, it’s going to be a hell of a drive,” he tells Martin Brundle as he walks his pit.

Lewis Hamilton speaks ahead of the race. Despite the on-track and off-field issues, he has kept it zen.

It’s a beautiful day and I’m looking forward to the race. It’s a new day, a new opportunity to do good and have fun. We are privileged to do what we do. I’m going to try and have fun today.

I will naturally try to go forward and get as many points as I can for the team. Some of the guys from Ashton are around me.

Verstappen’s chance to winAt Spa last year he went from 14th on the grid to win, and the Belgian GP is a longer track than Jeddah, so file it under: it’s possible, bordering on inevitable.

It is also worth mentioning that F1 A trip to Saudi Arabia, like the kingdom’s interest in soccer, carries all the stars of game-washing, human rights and geopolitical soft power.

Mustafa al-Khayyat was one of the 81. On Thursday, his brother Yasser Al-Khayyat wrote to F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali, arguing that he had been executed for nothing more than taking part in pro-democracy protests and that F1’s presence in the kingdom had motivated the authorities to act brutally. and without compaction.

“They use the spectacle of this sports championship to distract from the murder of my brother and hundreds of others,” he wrote. “The ongoing Grand Prix as usual, not to mention recent atrocities on the same soil, legitimizes these heinous crimes.

“Silence is complicity. This is how the regime absolves itself of its tyranny and stifles calls for democratic reform. If you want to be an agent of change rather than a tool to ‘sportswash’ Saudi abuses, please end Formula One’s silence.”

Alonso, second on the grid, is another plotline to follow. Man only lives for the race.

If Verstappen’s title is a fait accompliThen Lewis Hamilton’s quest for an eighth world title and where it might take him will be a major timeline this season.

“If Lewis wants to win another championship he needs to make sure he has the car,” Wolff said. “And if we can’t show him that we’re able to give him a car in the next two years then he’s going to have to look everywhere. I don’t think he’s going to do it at this stage, but I have no complaints if it happens in a year or two.

Red Bull may have a vacancy at the end of the year with Sergio Perez on a 12-month deal, but it seems unlikely that Hamilton will be linked with Verstappen. Ferrari is a possible route to explore if Charles Leclerc chooses to move away from engineering.

Ferrari has to have Hamilton, right?

Here’s a recap of Saturday’s rather chaotic qualifying.

Perez’s time of 1 minute 28.265 seconds proved enough to claim just the second pole of his career, taking the top spot here in 2022. Leclerc improved to second place and was only one and a half back, showing some form of the Ferrari. It was hoped to perform in Jeddah. However Leclerc has a 10-place grid penalty to pick up his third electronic control unit of the season with just one race under his belt. Alonso continued his very successful opening to the season with third, just four tenths in arrears. Leclerc’s Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz was fifth.

For Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, fourth and eighth respectively, it was more than the team expected. Mercedes has admitted after Bahrain that it followed the wrong design concept and is preparing to take a new direction. Qualifying in Jeddah, for Russell, was perhaps better than they expected but he was still sixth on pole with Hamilton, almost a second behind, a clear confirmation of how far they have to go.


You wanted excitement from this F1 season, and now you’ve got it, Sergio Perez is on pole and Max Verstappen is back in 15th. Fire Yellow, “The Race” is on. Meanwhile, Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso will be second as Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc has a 10-place grid penalty for engine use. So, the two main protagonists will be in the midfield for most of the run. In Merc, George Russell is third and Lewis Hamilton is seventh. Jeddah has been a long, unforgiving track for the cars in its previous two editions, although turns 22 and 23 have been tightened and the walls turned back at several corners, due to safety concerns related to fast, blind corners. It is also run at night.

Grid posts

  • 1) Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

  • 2) Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

  • 3) George Russell (Mercedes)

  • 4) Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

  • 5) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

  • 6) Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

  • 7) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

  • 8) Oscar Piastre (McLaren)

  • 9) Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

  • 10) Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

  • 11) Zhou Guanyu (Alpha)

  • 12) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)

  • 13) Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

  • 14) Valtteri Bottas (Alfa)

  • 15) Max Verstappen (Red Bull

  • 16) Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha-Tauri)

  • 17) Alex Albon (Williams)

  • 18) Nyck de Vries (Alpha-Tauri)

  • 19) Lando Norris (McLaren)

  • 20) Logan Sargent (Williams)

Lights out at 5pm GMT. come with me


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