Formula 1

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – What the Drivers Said after the Race in Jeddah – Part 2

6 Mins read
Credit: Williams Racing

Race two of the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season is in the books, and we had a familiar result at the front of the field as Max Verstappen took a ninth consecutive win, and the nineteenth in the past twenty races.

Oracle Red Bull Racing once again dominated, with Sergio Perez overcoming a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release to finish second, while Scuderia Ferrari completed the podium with Charles Leclerc, who also took the bonus point for fastest lap on the final lap.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit also heralded the debut of a new star as Oliver Bearman took a remarkable seventh place after being drafted in at the last moment to replace the ailing Carlos Sainz Jr., while Kevin Magnussen played a blinding defensive role as he held up the pack to allow team-mate Nico Hülkenberg to score a point.

Here is what those who missed out on points had to say after the conclusion of Saturday evening’s race under the floodlights in Jeddah.

#23 – Alexander Albon – Williams Racing

“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.”

#20 – Kevin Magnussen – MoneyGram Haas F1 Team

“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.”

Kevin Magnussen held up the pack to allow his team-mate to score a point – Credit: Steven Tee / LAT Images

#31 – Esteban Ocon – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“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.”

#2 – Logan Sargeant – Williams Racing

“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.”

Logan Sargeant ended fourteenth in Saudi Arabia – Credit: Williams Racing

#22 – Yuki Tsunoda – Visa CashApp RB

“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.”

#3 – Daniel Ricciardo – Visa CashApp RB

“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.”

It was a scruffy race for Daniel Ricciardo, with a late race spin condemning him to only sixteenth – Credit: Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images

#77 – Valtteri Bottas – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“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.” 

#24 – Zhou Guanyu – Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

“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.“ 

Zhou Guanyu ended eighteenth after another slow pit stop by Sauber compromised his race – Credit: Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber

#18 – Lance Stroll – Aston Martin Aramco Formula 1 Team

“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.” 

#10 – Pierre Gasly – BWT Alpine F1 Team

“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.”

Pierre Gasly was unfortunately forced to retire after just the first lap in Jeddah with a gearbox issue – Credit: BWT Alpine F1 Team
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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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