Saudi Grand Prix: How to Watch and What to Know
When Mercedes driver George Russell stepped out of his car two weeks ago after the first race of the Formula 1 season, he announced that the title race was over. Red Bull’s cars are simply too fast, he said.
“They’ve got this championship ready,” Russell said. Red Bull, he predicted, can win every race.
That prediction may eventually prove to be correct: After all, Red Bull had the fastest car in qualifying again on Saturday night, as Sergio Pérez clinched the top spot ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday. Japan. But a mechanical breakdown that sends Pérez teammate Max Verstappen limping back to the garage will serve as a reminder that nothing is locked when it comes to fragile car, difficult system And narrow angle.
Verstappen will start on the 15th on Sunday. The race for the title, at least for a day, will return.
How to watch
Time: The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday starts at 1pm Eastern Time, ie 8pm local time in Jeddah.
TV: Watch on ESPN in the US. For a complete list of who holds the rights to broadcast Formula 1 wherever you are, click here.
Sunday’s starting grid
by Verstappen drive shaft damaged causing him to fall into the net, and a prerace penalty will do the same with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc. Leclerc is the second fastest in qualifying but will start in 12th place.
Mercedes (with Russell) and Ferrari (with Carlos Sainz) will be happy to see their two drivers go right behind the leaders. Staying there will be the hard part. “Red Bull,” said Leclerc, “on another planet.”
This week’s story line
Are Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin real? Finishing third in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix was a pleasant surprise for 41-year-old Alonso and a great start for his new team, Aston Martin. But Alonso is not in the mood to probe the nuances of split time and speed. “I don’t know,” he said when asked if the team had learned anything from a week of intense practice. “I just drive and then in qualifying I’ll see where I am.” His place after qualifying is alongside Red Bull’s Pérez in the front row.
Good news, bad news for Red Bull. How fast was Verstappen in the opening win of the season in Bahrain? Fast enough for his team tell him to slow down At the end of the race, a request annoyed Verstappen and ended with a Red Bull engineer pleading: “Please do it.” It is unclear if the order was given to save Verstappen’s motives or the honor of the field, but the sudden power outage that prompted him to drop Saturday’s bid was not the push his team needed, and it did. ruined the mood even as Pérez returned to the lap fastest. “Now it’s going to be a bit more difficult to take the lead,” Verstappen said of the 15th place start. “Anything is possible on this track. But let’s be realistic: It’s going to be tough.”
Ferrari’s energy problem. Things could hardly be worse for Leclerc and Ferrari in Bahrain. Racing against the leaders, Leclerc was forced to leave the race after his power unit suddenly stopped working. (If you don’t know what causes a powertrain to stop working, don’t worry: Ferrari’s engineers don’t seem to know either, and that’s a significantly bigger problem for them than you are.) The specter of more power, however, trouble has been haunting Ferrari all week: It looks like it’s running its cars at a lower speed just to be on the safe side.
Mercedes wants to do it again. “That is one of our worst days in the race,” said Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff after a poor start to the season in Bahrain that saw Lewis Hamilton go home in fifth and Russell in seventh. Mood did not improve. Wolff was still grumbling, Russell was still struggling and Hamilton was still steaming. “I didn’t feel the car underneath me,” Hamilton said. “I really don’t know what I’m going to do with that.”
Last time out
Results and standings after the first race of the season, Bahrain Grand Prix on March 5:
What are they saying?
“Anything is possible on this track. But let’s be realistic: It’s going to be tough.” — Verstappen about his chances of winning after dropping to 15th on the starting grid.
“I think in terms of pure speed, Red Bull is in a different league. I think we need to focus more on other teams.” — Alonsostarted in the front row but looked over his shoulder.
“We need the Red Bulls not to finish the race, the Ferraris not to finish the race and maybe now the Astons not to finish the race, for us to win at the moment.” — Hamilton set out extremely difficult path to victory for Mercedes. In his defense, knocking down half a dozen of the fastest cars would be pretty useful for any middleweight team, which is exactly what Mercedes is aiming for at the moment.
April 02: Australian Grand Prize, Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.