Formula 1

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – What the Drivers Said after Qualifying – Part 2

6 Mins read
Credit: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images

The second Qualifying session of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season is in the books, and for the second consecutive weekend, it was Max Verstappen and Oracle Red Bull Racing who dominated the session to take pole position, the thirty-fourth of his illustrious career.

Charles Leclerc will join him on the front row, while Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso will line-up on row two.  All eyes, of course, were on Oliver Bearman, a late replacement for the ailing Carlos Sainz Jr. at Scuderia Ferrari, and the young Briton put in a superb performance with very limited running to place just outside the top ten.

Read what the bottom half of the field after Qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit had to say ahead of Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

#38 – Oliver Bearman – Scuderia Ferrari

“It’s been a great day but it could have been even better. It wasn’t the ideal way of making my F1 debut and of course I send all my best wishes to Carlos for a speedy recovery. But it’s a great opportunity nevertheless.

“I would have liked to have come to quali with more than the 22 laps I did in FP3. But I can still be happy with today, even if Q2 was a bit messy. It was so close, but I made a mistake on my first push lap, so I had to do a second one and by then the tyres were no longer at their best.

“Now I’m ready to make the most of this opportunity tomorrow. I will focus on bringing the car home, although points would be nice. But it’s my first race on a really difficult track, so I can’t expect too much.”

#23 – Alexander Albon – Williams Racing

“I’m mostly happy with P12 but I know we’re still missing Q3 by a few tenths, so we’re a little further from where we want to be but it’s good progress. We have good race pace and I think we’ll be able to manage the tyres reasonably well tomorrow.

“Whilst we struggled a little bit today, our race pace looks to be slightly better than some of our competitors, so we’ll see what we can do with it tomorrow.”

Alexander Albon will start twelfth in Jeddah – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“It went better than expected I would say. The cold temperatures didn’t seem to help us so we were having to do a preparation lap, instead of just an out lap, then push. It looks like we were more exposed with the cold temperatures, which is a different situation than we’re used to, normally it’s the other way around.

“P13 for tomorrow is a decent starting position, it’s close to the points and I think we can fight for them – it could’ve been much worse.”

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“It was a very frustrating qualifying. Compared to Bahrain, where I was more frustrated with myself because I knew there was more time on the table, today was a little bit more of a mystery. I know where the time was, but I don’t know how we could’ve got it in that session.

“I was confident going into qualifying, and I was feeling quite good in the car, but on the second run, I made a mistake. Nonetheless, we were still in the fight. Once in Q2, everyone was improving their lap time, but I felt like I couldn’t get any more out of what I had, and we just plateaued. It wasn’t a matter of understeer or oversteer, but more that I didn’t have the grip compared to the others.

“Well done to Yuki, he did a great job! Thinking of tomorrow, I have a few areas in mind to analyse, so we’ll look into them and hopefully, we’ll find more performance for the race.”

Daniel Ricciardo didn’t have the same kind of pace as team-mate Yuki Tsunoda on Friday – Credit: Mark Sutton / LAT Images

#27 – Nico Hülkenberg – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“The power cut, and on the radio the team said it was related to the fuel system – fuel not being delivered to the engine – which is obviously a problem and they asked me to stop. Yesterday’s running was okay, not great, but we did some decent set-up work overnight, but we can’t really test that until tomorrow obviously.

“I think it will be challenging either way, especially from where we start with traffic and running with the pack. It’s going to be an interesting day for us to see how the package performs here on a very different circuit to Bahrain.”

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“It is very disappointing to finish just a handful of hundredths away from Q2. It had actually been a decent session until the last push lap, when I got caught up in traffic in the last four corners, and ended up with not one, but two cars blocking the way in front of me.

“Based on the delta, I should have made it through, which makes it even more frustrating. We are still lacking something on single-lap performance, and today’s happenings didn’t work out in our favour. Nevertheless, tomorrow is a new day, with new opportunities to fight our way through the field.

“Based on the last event, our race pace should grant us better chances to improve our grid positions. Of course, the starting slots we are in are not ideal, so it’ll be important to keep away from trouble at the start and in Turn One, and try everything we can to get some points.”

Valtteri Bottas was eliminated in Q1 – Credit: Mark Sutton / LAT Images

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“It’s been a difficult Qualifying for us here in Jeddah, where we still lack some performance. I would say I maximised the session and unfortunately that was only enough for Q1. We will keep pushing, keep our heads high and keep digging to unlock more pace from the car.

“We will fight in the race – as we always do – and try to have a good start tomorrow. Our straight line speed has been reasonably competitive this weekend, so we will see how we can race relative to others. Gathering data and learning more about the car is also a must for us.”

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“Unfortunately, we had a challenging Qualifying session in Jeddah. The first push lap in Q1 felt good, we maximised the lap, but the pace was just not there. On my second lap, I was lacking rear grip and the car was sliding quite a bit.

“We need to analyse why this happens and find solutions going forward. We knew it would not be an easy day but everyone is pushing to find improvements and we are doing our best to improve our current situation.

“Tomorrow is race day and we will fight and give everything we can, as we do each and every time we are in the car. I will try my best to go up the grid and, as a team, we will keep bettering our understanding of the package.”

Pierre Gasly was eliminated in Q1 again in Saudi Arabia – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team

#2 – Logan Sargeant – Williams Racing

“We’ve had the car in a good place all weekend and it was definitely capable of getting through to Q2. Our first lap of Qualifying was right where we needed to be, but a very compromised outlap on the second run meant we couldn’t get the tyre in the right window.

“It looks like tomorrow will be a high-pace race and our long runs look okay, so hopefully we can make up some places.”

#24 – Zhou Guanyu – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“First and foremost, the team did a fantastic job putting the car back together in such a short time, which is definitely not an easy task. The accident in Turn Six was quite some impact: it’s a flat-out corner, and I lost the rear – which cost us the qualifying and a chance to show what we can do due to the time we needed to repair the car.

“Until then, the weekend, in general, had felt good, and I can feel the team has made a step forward. Unfortunately, we’ll start from the back at a track with not much tyre degradation, definitely not a position we wanted to be in.

“Nevertheless, I am happy that the team managed to get me out there to get a feel for the car ahead of the race. Tomorrow will be difficult, but our race pace has been looking decent so far, and we’ll stay positive.”

Zhou Guanyu failed to get a time on the board in Qualifying after crashing in practice – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images
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Long time motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1 and the occassional other series. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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