F1 Saudi Arabian GP 2024 Free Practice 2: Timing and highlights

Follow the action as F1 teams and drivers take to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for FP2 at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP

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Welcome to the live blog for Free Practice 2 at the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, set against the stunning backdrop of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. As the Formula 1 circus pitches its tents under the Arabian sky, fans worldwide are gearing up for what promises to be an electrifying session on one of the calendar’s fastest street circuits.

Historically, the Jeddah Corniche Circuit has been a stage for dramatic battles and surprising outcomes, making every lap and turn crucial for teams and drivers alike. Free Practice 2 proved to be difficult for some drivers, with Valtteri Bottas one of those to spin on cold tyres.

Fernando Alonso went quickest in FP2 with a lap that the rest of the grid struggled to get near. George Russell and Max Verstappen were in close pursuit, while Lewis Hamilton was hit with a warning from the stewards but avoided a penalty for impeding Logan Sargeant after a close shave between the pair.

Make sure and join our 2024 Saudi Arabian GP LIVE Blog which starts at 20:00 local time.

Goodnight!

Thanks for joining Total Motorsport’s coverage today. Be sure to tune in with us tomorrow for FP3 and qualifying.

Until then, it’s goodnight from us.

BREAKING: Hamilton warned by stewards, escapes penalty

Lewis Hamilton has been warned by the stewards and Mercedes have been fined €15,000. But he will NOT receive a grid drop.

More follows…

Hamilton set to discover fate

Lewis Hamilton looks on in a press conference at the 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain | Mercedes / Jiri Krenek
Lewis Hamilton looks on in a press conference at the 2024 pre-season test in Bahrain | Mercedes / Jiri Krenek

We’re expecting to hear the decision from the stewards on whether Lewis Hamilton will receive a penalty shortly, so stick with us.

Zak Brown: Best yet to come from McLaren

McLaren managing director Zak Brown is confident the team have more pace in their locker ahead of FP3 and qualifying after scraping into the top 10.

“Bahrain is kind of where we had it pegged with Red Bull up the way, Ferrari ahead but then Mercedes and Aston Martin close. That played out as we thought,” Brown said, speaking to Sky Sports F1.

“This weekend it looks like Red Bull has everyone covered but maybe not by the same gap. We feel pretty competitive, we were working on a variety of programmes, so I don’t think the lap times are representative of where we will be come qualifying.”

FP2 Results: Alonso quickest, Hamilton struggles

That’s the end of the 60-minute session and Fernando Alonso has thrown a spanner in the works with a super lap. He tops the timing sheet ahead of George Russell and Max Verstappen.

Are Aston Martin… back?

FP2 Classification

1 Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, 1:28.827

2 George Russell, Mercedes, +0.230

3 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.331

4 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +0.353

5 Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.473

6 Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, +0.501

7 Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, +0.628

8 Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +0.677

9 Pierre Gasly, Alpine, +0.701

10 Oscar Piastri, McLaren, +0.767

Hamilton unhappy with car

Hamilton is not happy. He’s been complaining that the “rear is loose” and he’s just had a nervy moment going at 160mph, before telling the team he has “no power”.

A few bleeps on the radio follow for good measure. He’s come into the pits and the 39-year-old is not satisfied with the balance of the car.

Hamilton summoned by FIA to visit stewards

The FIA have confirmed that Lewis Hamilton has been summoned to visit the stewards at 18:30.

The Mercedes driver will be asked to explain why he blocked Williams’ Logan Sargeant earlier in the session. Sargeant will also be present to give his account.

Alpine improvement?

Pierre Gasly steps into his Alpine A524 for free practice ahead of the 2024 Bahraing GP | Alpine F1 Team

Will we see a better showing from Alpine this weekend? Maybe, just maybe.

Pierre Gasly has hooked up a decent lap and has settled in behind Hamilton in P9. That’s certainly a lot better than the double Q1 exit we saw from the Enstone team in Bahrain.

That said, Esteban Ocon is down in 15th, so maybe their troubles aren’t quite resolved just yet.

15 minutes to go

Here’s how we’re looking towards the end of FP2 as the drivers begin their race runs.

1 Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, 1:28.827

2 George Russell, Mercedes, +0.230

3 Max Verstappen, Red Bull, +0.331

4 Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +0.353

5 Sergio Perez, Red Bull, +0.473

‘Carlando’ in the mud

Oh dear. Sainz is on a war path today – and even his close friend Lando Norris isn’t immune from the Ferrari man’s rage.

He’s just called out the McLaren star for failing to get out of the way in time, venting on the radio to his race engineer about his antics.

Sainz to Ferrari: “Unbelievable this guy [Norris].”

Qualifying sims in full swing

Verstappen improves but he’s still a fair way off matching that lap from Alonso, which looks even more impressive now everyone is on a qualifying simulation lap.

The only driver yet to post a time on the soft tyre is Sainz, who is currently 10th and eight tenths off the pace.

Fernando Alonso at 2023 Abu Dhabi GP | Aston Martin F1 Team

Stewards to look at Hamilton incident after session

It’s not good news for Hamilton, who is in danger of receiving a possible penalty after the stewards confirmed he will be investigated after the session.

The stewards are going to look at whether he impeded Sargeant after their horrifying near-miss at Turn 4. Hamilton, who put his hand up in apology, pleaded his innocence on the Mercedes team radio.

Hamilton to Mercedes: “I didn’t realise someone was on a lap. I was trying to get out of the way for Sainz and all of a sudden there was a Williams there.”

30 minutes to go: Alonso sets benchmark

Well look at what we’ve got here. Alonso is feeling very good on the soft tyre and posts a 1:28.827. That’s half a second quicker than Perez and a further tenth better than Verstappen’s time on the same time.

Even Charles Leclerc, the next quickest driver at the moment, is three tenths off the Spaniard.

Feels like a good time to remind you that Alonso is 42 years of age and still racing like a bonafide champion. Vamos!

Verstappen on top… but not by much

You just wonder if Red Bull have tweaked their car setup a little. They’re not exactly blowing away their rivals here, with Alonso posting some impressive lap times in comparison with the Dutchman.

Bottas, Ricciardo and Sargeant have all gone onto the soft tyre. Suspect many others will now follow to benefit from the increased rubber being laid down and track evolution.

Mercedes troubles

Hamilton wasn’t happy about the rear bouncing in FP1, and now George Russell has been on the radio to complain about the ‘unstable’ nature of his W15.

Russell to Mercedes: “Car is so unstable at high speed, so unstable at high speed.”

Sargeant nearly collides with Hamilton!

We’re 10 minutes in and not much to judge from the session so far. Fernando Alonso is less than a tenth quicker than Verstappen at the front, but the Red Bulls might have turned down the engine.

Oooh, and Logan Sargeant very nearly ran into the back of Lewis Hamilton! That was mightily close to a horrible accident. Carlos Sainz, who was behind Sargeant, called out the Briton and said the Mercedes driver’s position was “super dangerous”.

The stewards have noted the incident for ‘impeding’. Will Hamilton get a grid drop for that?

Perez quicker than Verstappen

Both are on the medium tyre, both are presumably on the same fuel load and both are in the same machinery.

And yet, Sergio Perez has gone two hundredths quicker than Max Verstappen in the Red Bull with a 1:30.427. Nice going, Checo.

Bottas spins out

Inside the first couple of minutes and we’ve already had our first spin. Valtteri Bottas on the hard tyre loses the rear and thankfully misses the barrier.

Those tyres must be chilly.

FP2 is underway!

OK, to be fair, the delay wasn’t too long this time and the session will be started at 17:10. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri is the first man out – putting on the C3 tyre – as they make their way to the end of the pitlane.

And… FP2 is GO!

‘Loose drain cover’ behind delay

According to Sky Sports F1 commentator David Croft, who has been speaking to colleagues at Alpine and Mercedes, “loose bolts on drain covers are being checked” in the pit lane.

Again? Really?

Some TV pictures of the pitlane appear to suggest otherwise, though. But maybe the better question to ask is why aren’t the FIA communicating the reason. People have a right to know.

BREAKING: FP2 start delayed

Well, this is a bit embarrassing. We’re not getting underway at 5pm as planned.

Race Control have confirmed the start of FP2 will be delayed and no official reason has been given for it just yet.

In FP1, we did have drivers complaining of plastic bags and other debris lying around the track, so perhaps that could be a reason for the delay.

Tyre choices

In case you haven’t brushed up on your tyre knowledge for the Saudi Arabian GP, C4 is the softest compound for this weekend, with C3 a medium for this circuit when it was a soft in Bahrain.

C2 is the hard, having been medium last weekend, so the drivers should have plenty of grip.

Blinded by the lights

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Unlike FP1, this session will take place under the lights with thousands of street lamps illuminating the circuit.

That will give the drivers a proper feel of qualifying and race conditions in Jeddah tomorrow and on Saturday, while the air and track temperature may well drop due to the later start time.

All of this will be taken into account as the teams collect data throughout the one-hour session. We’re just 15 minutes away from getting the green light for FP2.

Christian Horner latest

It’s the story of the year as far as F1 is concerned, and with every day comes a new twist.

Earlier today, widespread reports emerged suggesting the Red Bull employee who accused Christian Horner of inappropriate behaviour has been suspended by the team. It’s important to note that Red Bull are yet to publicly confirm this.

Horner, who was cleared after an independent investigation was carried out by a barrister, has certainly had a lot to say on the matter and bemoaned the ‘trying time’ he has endured over the past four weeks.

Good afternoon!

We’re back for the second free practice session of the day at the Saudi Arabian GP after Max Verstappen set the pace in FP1.

We should get a better idea of where the teams are at in terms of pace on this high-speed circuit on Jeddah as some experiment with qualifying sims and long runs in FP2.

Mercedes looked quite quick, with George Russell one of the few drivers to match Verstappen’s pace throughout the first session. Let’s see what they – and Ferrari – have got to match the Red Bulls, who are expected to be quickest again.


Detailed 2024 Saudi Arabian GP Session Times

DateSessionLocalUK (GMT)US (EDT)US (PDT)Aus (AEDT)
Thu, Mar 7Practice 116:3013:3008:3005:3000:30*
Thu, Mar 7Practice 220:0017:0012:0009:0004:00*
Fri, Mar 8Practice 316:3013:3008:3005:3000:30*
Fri, Mar 8Qualifying20:0017:0012:0009:0004:00*
Sat, Mar 9Grand Prix20:0017:0012:0009:0004:00*

*Denotes next day

Pirelli Tyre Information for Saudi Arabian GP 2024

When Does the Saudi Arabian GP 2024 Start?

The anticipation for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2024 is building, with fans around the globe eager to see how the early season battles will unfold. Following the season opener in Bahrain, the F1 circus moves to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, promising another thrilling race under the lights. The Saudi Arabian GP, known for its high-speed straights and challenging corners, is set to take place on Saturday, March 9, with the main race lighting up the evening at 8pm local time:

  • UK and Ireland (GMT/UTC): 5pm on Saturday, March 9.
  • United States (ET/PT): 12pm ET / 9am PT on Saturday, March 9.
  • Australia (AEDT): 4am AEDT on Sunday, March 10.
  • Canada (ET/PT): 12pm ET / 9am PT on Saturday, March 9.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP in the UK

In the UK, the exclusive rights to broadcast Formula 1 are held by Sky Sports F1. Fans can watch every session live on the Sky Sports F1 channel, including practice rounds, qualifying, and the race itself. For those without a Sky subscription, NOW TV offers a Sky Sports day pass, providing a flexible way to catch the race.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP in the USA

ESPN continues to be the home for F1 in the USA, providing comprehensive coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix across its channels. Live streams are also available through the ESPN App for fans on the go. Additionally, cord-cutters can opt for services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV, which include ESPN in their packages.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP in Australia

Fox Sports and Kayo Sports are the go-to platforms for watching F1 in Australia. Fox Sports will broadcast the Bahrain GP live on TV, while Kayo offers a streaming service tailored for sports enthusiasts, featuring live and on-demand access to the F1 season.

Where to Watch the F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP in Canada

TSN and RDS secure the rights to F1 broadcasts in Canada, offering live coverage of the Bahrain Grand Prix in English and French. Streaming is available for TSN and RDS subscribers via their respective websites and apps, ensuring fans can watch the race on multiple devices.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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