Max Verstappen cruises to Saudi Arabian GP victory as F1 debutant Ollie Bearman shines for Ferrari

Victory was never in doubt for Max Verstappen who led another Red Bull 1-2 finish

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Max Verstappen clinched his 100th career podium and ninth victory in a row as Red Bull celebrated another routine 1-2 finish at the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Dutchman put in a stellar lap in qualifying and showed his speed around the Corniche Street Circuit in Jeddah as he finished seven seconds clear of his team-mate Sergio Perez.

Charles Leclerc was some 18 seconds adrift of Verstappen but the Ferrari driver finished on the podium for the first time this season and secured the fastest lap to score some much-needed points for Ferrari in their quest to finish second in the constructors’.

Lance Stroll’s high-speed collision with the barrier brought out the safety car to interrupt race strategy and that prompted a gamble from McLaren and Mercedes, who kept Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton out while the teams around them changed for the hard tyre.

After a brief spell spent behind Norris, Verstappen retook the lead on Lap 11 and it was a foregone conclusion beyond that point, with Perez making a simple overtake on Leclerc stick.

Lewis Hamilton fought with both McLarens as they jostled for points, and the Briton lost out to both Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris on another frustrating afternoon for the 39-year-old. At the end of the race, he chased Norris to the finish line but was powerless to get past the driver due to his pace in the high-speed corners.

Aramco, action, TS-Live, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, GP2402a, F1, GP, Saudi Arabia Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR24, leads Yuki Tsunoda, VCARB 01, and Oliver Bearman, Ferrari SF-24

A phenomenal debut

But where one Briton struggled, Ollie Bearman – the 18-year-old from Chelmsford, Essex – shone on his F1 debut for Ferrari.

Standing in for Carlos Sainz at an hour’s notice for FP3 and then qualifying, the teenager displayed his phenomenal ability and fearless behind the wheel as he made his way from 11th on the grid to score invaluable points on his F1 debut with a superb seventh-placed finish.

It was a magnificent drive from the youngster, who will step back into his F2 car knowing he has only boosted his chances of a future drive with the Scuderia in the future.

With the top four all spaced apart, most of the exciting action actually took place in the lower half of the field. Kevin Magnussen – hit with two 10-second penalties for colliding with Alex Albon and overtaking Yuki Tsunoda off the track – keeping a train of cars behind him to help out Nico Hulkenberg.

The German secured a vital point after stretching out the opening stint and claimed Haas‘ first point of the season, while their rivals squabbled for the lower positions behind them.

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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