F1 Saudi Arabian GP 2024 Qualifying, latest updates: Timing and highlights

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


Welcome to the live blog for Qualifying 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. 

Max Verstappen was quickest overall in FP3 with a 1:28.412, placing him 0.196s quicker than Charles Leclerc in second. The Ferrari produced a strong lap on the medium tyres to remain 0.7s behind the Red Bull for much of the session until everyone switched to a qualifying simulation.

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

Saudi Arabian GP 2024 Qualifying, latest updates

Verstappen reacts to first ever Saudi Arabian GP pole

Third in 2021, second in 2022 and 15th in 2023, Verstappen’s Jeddah curse is over as he finally takes pole position at the fourth time of asking.

“That was a very lovely qualifying,” Verstappen said on the radio. “The car was on rails. Really good job.”

Can he beat Sergio Perez tomorrow?

Verstappen takes pole for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!

It’s two qualifying sessions and two poles for Max Verstappen as he reigns supreme in 2024! It’s mad to believe it’s his first ever pole here.

Joining him on the front row is, Charles Leclerc as the Monegasque pulled out a characteristically strong lap to beat Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso by 0.016 and 0.055.

Then came Oscar Piastri, Lando Norris, George Russell, Lewis Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda and Lance Stroll to close out the top 10 spots.

First runs completed: Hamilton half a second off Russell!

There is no major track evolution either as Russell crossed the line just seconds later, Hamilton has been way off the pace of Russell throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, Verstappen goes 0.5 quicker than Alonso and 0.3 ahead of Sergio Perez. That Red Bull is fast.

Q3 UNDERWAY: Alonso has a good advantage

The Spaniard, who is actually an underrated qualifier, managed to save not one, not two, but three sets of new softs for this final part of qualifying meaning he can learn exactly where the grip is before going for pole.

Advantage Alonso.

Worrying pace for Hamilton

“I couldn’t improve mate. I’ve got no grip,” says Hamilton as he sneaks through into Q3 by 0.036.

He has up to 0.2 to find because that’s the advantage George Russell had over him in Q2.

Q2 complete, eliminated are: HUL, RIC, MAG, ALB, BEARMAN

Nico Hulkenberg is in 15th after a power-related issue saw him unable to complete a lap in the second part of qualifying. His Haas teammate will join him.

Bearman fractionally missed Q3, with Lewis Hamilton beating him by 0.036 although he didn’t complete a final lap.

Joining him on the sidelines are: Albon, Ricciardo, Magnussen, Albon and Bearman.

First run complete: Verstappen fastest

Verstappen leads Alonso and Leclerc and then his teammate.

In danger are Bearman, Albon, Ricciardo and Magnussen with Nico Hulkenberg already out of the session after a mechanical issue.

Five minutes to go.

Bearman testing the limits

The F1 debutant pushes to the limits of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and has to lock-up to avoid a collision as he carries too much speed into the corner and he safely carries on.

The 18-year-old is in 11th place and needs to find a lap.

GREEN FLAG: Session resumes

After a very brief red flag, the session quickly gets back underway and the cars can continue to battle it out for those sacred 10 spots in Q3 in the hunt for pole position.

It was caused by a power-related problem on Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas, which needed to be wheeled away.

RED FLAG for Hulkenberg

A handful of drivers managed to set a time before Hulkenberg’s car decided it was done for the day and the FIA threw a red flag. The clock has frozen with 10 minutes and 58 seconds to go.

That’s enough time for two laps, maybe even three.

Problem for Hulkenberg, he’s out!

After a sensational qualifying last week, Nico Hulkenberg reports a loss of power and pulls over to the side of the road to retire from the session.

Disappointment for a Haas package that started strongly.

Q2 gets underway

A reminder that we lost Zhou Guanyu (who failed to set a time), Logan Sargeant, Pierre Gasly, Esteban Ocon and Valtteri Bottas in the first phase of qualifying.

OUT in the first part of qualifying: ZHO, SAR, GAS, OCO, BOT

Bitter disappointment for Alpine as both of their drivers are eliminated in Q1. Ocon apologises to the team on the radio. Meanwhile, Zhou missed the flag by seconds despite the excellent effort by his team to give him half a shot.

In fact, it’s a double-Q1 elimination for the team as Valtteri Bottas can’t make it through either, finishing 16th. Logan Sargeant was the final scalp to be claimed in the first part of qualifying.

Zhou Guanyu WILL compete in qualifying

After a massive crash in FP3, the 24-year-old was at risk of missing the qualifying session due to the tight turnaround between sessions.

Fortunately, Sauber’s mechanics have done a great job to fix the Chinese driver’s car and he will get to see how far up the grid he can stick the green and black car.

Hamilton’s pace is awful

Mercedes tried their first runs on mediums and it did absolutely nothing for them at all. It’s not 2020 anymore.

When they put on the softs, Lewis Hamilton goes eighth fastest but George Russell can go fourth fastest.

Hamilton’s always struggled at this circuit and is half a second off Max Verstappen’s Q1 time so far.

First/second runs complete: Verstappen fastest

Max Verstappen, predictably, is quickest overall by a healthy margin as he heads a Red Bull 1-3 with Perez in third. Charles Leclerc is second, showing that the Ferrari has decent pace in qualifying. It could be a similar story to Bahrain.

Massive massive scare for Oscar Piastri!

The McLaren goes fastest on a second run on the same tyres but it almost ended in disaster as Oscar Piastri almost slams into the wall as he pushes to the limits.

He’s 0.050 ahead of Lando Norris, his teammate.

Aston Martins set the early pace

Fernando Alonso leads the pack with 11 minutes to go with Lance Stroll in third, a couple of tenths back. Charles Leclerc is sandwiched between them in second.

Zhou’s car is still being worked on

It feels like there is still a lot of work to be done on that Sauber so he might get time for a one-lap shootout but don’t be surprised if the third-year F1 driver misses out on qualifying this time around.

GREEN FLAG: Session underway!

Zhou Guanyu is still a “maybe” after a big crash but everyone else is out on track as the Haas leads the pack out for qualifying for the 2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Who will be on pole?

Hamilton adopting Russell’s rear wing

It’s fair to say that the Jeddah Corniche Circuit isn’t one of Lewis Hamilton’s best tracks as he’s been out-qualified by his teammate here twice in a row and is off his pace again in 2024.

As the Briton struggles to get his set-up in the right window and struggles to get comfortable around the high-speed and twisty track, he’s either gone for a Hail Mary or has abandoned Hail Marys as he adopts George Russell’s downforce levels.

“They’re changing the rear wing back to the same downforce level as George’s, I would guess,” Sky Sports F1 analyst, Bernie Collins said. “Then to compensate for that, they’ve had to make changes to the front wing, in terms of the angle that it’s set at.

“If they start off qualifying at the wrong angle, then they can’t track it through the session as they make adjustments to the car.”

Vasseur: No pressure on Bearman

With Ferrari expected to be in a closely-fought battle in the constructors’ championship, how important is it for Bearman to do well for the team in his cameo? According to Ferrari team principal, Fred Vasseur, it’s no big deal.

“He drove the old car a couple of months ago and he did very well,” said Vasseur on Ollie Bearman. “Last year he did two FP1s with Haas in Mexico and Abu Dhabi, and he did a good job in these too.

“But for sure, it’s a different story, and when you have to jump into the car in Jeddah FP3, it’s not an easy one.

“There is always a difference between doing a very good job in the junior series and to do a job in F1. We don’t have to draw any conclusions now, we have to let him have time to do the job and I won’t put any pressure on him this weekend.”

ICYMI: Carlos Sainz is OUT for the weekend

The Spanish driver had emergency surgery on appendicitis after feeling unwell throughout the weekend and as a result, Carlos Sainz will miss qualifying and the Grand Prix.

He has been replaced by Oliver Bearman, who impressed Toto Wolff with his competitiveness in FP3 by being within 0.9 of Max Verstappen with a turned down engine. Bearman took pole in Formula 2 at this circuit on Thursday.

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.

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