F1 2024 Saudi Arabian GP – Fastest Lap

The fastest lap at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP was set on the final lap of the race

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Charles Leclerc denied Lewis Hamilton the chance to score a precious extra point after snatching the fastest lap at the Formula 1 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday, with Max Verstappen sealing a second consecutive win this season.

Hamilton was on course to take the extra point, which is awarded to the driver who posts the fastest lap time during the 50-lap race. Having put on the soft tyre at the end while chasing Lando Norris, the 39-year-old went quickest out of the 20 drivers.

But Leclerc, with the luxury of a huge gap to Sergio Perez in second and Oscar Piastri behind him in fourth, saved up some grip on his hard tyres to punch in the fastest lap time on the final lap of the race.

The Monegasque admitted in his post-race interview it was a “bit of a boring race” after watching the Red Bulls race off into the distance for a second consecutive race, having been passed by Perez early in the race.

Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of Red Bull (C), Second placed qualifier Charles Leclerc of Ferrari (L) and Third placed qualifier Sergio Perez of Red Bull after qualifying for 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

A positive for Ferrari

But finishing best of the rest and taking home 16 points, while Mercedes struggled to score meaningful points, may be the best the Scuderia could have asked for when Carlos Sainz was absent due to his appendix surgery.

Leclerc had shown he was one of few drivers who could keep up with the Red Bulls at the front as he qualified within three tenths of Verstappen.

The race was a different equation, however, as he finished some 23 seconds adrift of the championship leader, with Perez making it a 1-2 for Red Bull.

The result means Leclerc is now 10 points clear of George Russell in third in the drivers’ standings, with Hamilton a further 10 points adrift. Come the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, every point will count as Ferrari will know after losing out to Mercedes by three points in 2023.

Leclerc felt the frustration of that as he led the team’s efforts to finish third in the drivers’ championship. But the 26-year-old is clearly on a mission to go one better this year – and after the disastrous start to his 2023 season, this one is looking a lot better already.

Joe Krishnan
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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