Formula 1

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Verstappen Tops Final Practice

3 Mins read
Credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen topped the final session of free practice in Jeddah ahead of Friday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying. The Dutchman finished just under two tenths ahead of Charles Leclerc and his Oracle Red Bull Racing teammate, Sergio Pérez.

George Russell found himself top of the timesheets after twenty minutes of the session. Both Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team drivers opted to put in some laps early on, despite a lack of action on track.

The first third of the session saw laps from just eight drivers. Russell led Leclerc and his teammate, with Oliver Bearman in fourth getting some crucial laps in ahead of his F1 debut. Both Stake F1 Team and Visa Cash App RB drivers also got onto track early.

Thing started to ramp up with forty minutes to go – Sergio Pérez’s first timed attempt put him at the top of the timesheets. Verstappen put his RB20 behind his teammate just a few minutes later.

Leclerc was the next to go quickest on the medium tyre, beating the time both Red Bull’s set on the soft compound. Verstappen’s next qualifying simulation run put him top of the pile, a few tenths above Leclerc. 

With thirty minutes and half of the session gone, Verstappen was top of the timesheets, ahead of Leclerc and Pérez. Russell was fourth after an early soft tyre run ahead of Nico Hülkenberg. Lando Norris was sixth, with Kevin Magnussen just over a tenth behind in seventh. The Williams of Alex Albon was in eight, ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Bearman. 

More drivers started to get on track going into the final part of the session. Magnussen continued to impress for Haas F1 Team, putting his car third in the standings at one point, with his teammate also in the top ten. 

The red flag came out with just under twenty minutes to go. Zhou Gunayu span before hitting the barrier at turn seven, causing significant damage to the rear and left hand side of his car.

The session resumed with just a few minutes to go, leaving a flurry of late action on the soft tyre. That last few minutes saw a shakeup in the order, with plenty of drivers getting their only qualifying run.

Verstappen kept his place at the top of the timesheets, although his final attempt wasn’t quicker than his original time that saw him top earlier in the hour. Leclerc was just under two tenths off the Dutchman in second, but ahead of the other Red Bull car in third.

Russell was lead Mercedes in fourth, ahead of fellow Brit Norris. Fernando Alonso, who topped Free Practice Two, was in sixth ahead of his teammate, Lance Stroll in seventh. Oscar Piastri was eighth ahead of Hamilton. Bearman finished the session in tenth although his final lap on the softs did see him leave the track in the second sector.

Magnussen ended the day in eleventh, ahead of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. Esteban Ocon was fourteenth, with Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo behind. Despite running in the top ten earlier in the session, Albon finished the session In seventeenth ahead of the two Sauber drivers. 

Logan Sargeant was last after not setting a laptime in the session. The American driver damaged his Williams on his first outlap earlier in the session. Both Williams and Sauber have work to do to fix their damage ahead of qualifying later today.

11Max VerstappenRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:28.41213
216Charles LeclercFERRARI1:28.608+0.196s16
311Sergio PerezRED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT1:28.906+0.494s13
463George RussellMERCEDES1:28.964+0.552s17
54Lando NorrisMCLAREN MERCEDES1:28.971+0.559s11
614Fernando AlonsoASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:29.038+0.626s14
718Lance StrollASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES1:29.127+0.715s14
881Oscar PiastriMCLAREN MERCEDES1:29.213+0.801s11
944Lewis HamiltonMERCEDES1:29.268+0.856s19
1038Oliver BearmanFERRARI1:29.306+0.894s22
1120Kevin MagnussenHAAS FERRARI1:29.485+1.073s12
1210Pierre GaslyALPINE RENAULT1:29.546+1.134s13
1322Yuki TsunodaRB HONDA RBPT1:29.572+1.160s18
1431Esteban OconALPINE RENAULT1:29.575+1.163s13
1527Nico HulkenbergHAAS FERRARI1:29.675+1.263s11
163Daniel RicciardoRB HONDA RBPT1:29.740+1.328s15
1723Alexander AlbonWILLIAMS MERCEDES1:29.808+1.396s13
1877Valtteri BottasKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:30.083+1.671s21
1924Zhou GuanyuKICK SAUBER FERRARI1:30.739+2.327s12
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