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Max Verstappen will be eyeing another dominant weekend as the F1 paddock arrives in Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Red Bull driver led a comfortable one-two for the world champions in the first race of the season in Bahrain, with Sergio Perez second.
Fernando Alonso came third for Aston Martin, which was the surprise, while Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh respectively.
Charles Leclerc – who was involved in a thrilling battle with Verstappen in Saudi Arabia last year – had to retire in Bahrain, with Ferrari teammate Carlos Sainz returning home in fourth place. This year’s race is the third grand prix held at Jeddah’s fast street circuit. Verstappen was fastest in both practice sessions yesterday, a day in which Hamilton parted ways with his longtime performance coach.
Follows Saudi Arabia GP qualifying with The Independent – FP3 started at 13:30 (GMT) before qualifying at 17:00.
F1 LIVE: Sky adds former McLaren and Aston Martin strategy guru Bernie Collins to its F1 team
Sky Sports has added former McLaren and Aston Martin head of strategy Bernie Collins to its team of Formula 1 analysts for the 2023 season.
Collins, who was a performance engineer at McLaren and head of race strategy at Aston Martin, will make his first Sky appearance in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix paddock this weekend.
Sky says she will be racing at other races throughout the year, as well as at Sky Studios, and is the first addition to the Sky F1 team since Johnny Herbert and Paul di Resta left in the off-season.
“I am really excited to start this new chapter with the Sky Sports F1 team and want to thank them for the opportunity,” said Collins in a Sky press release. “After many years on the pit wall, I look forward to embracing this new role in F1 from a spectator perspective and enhancing your racing experience.”
Collins’ role “will help to explain and demystify all things team strategy and engineering for Sky Sports F1 viewers old and new”.
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 2:55 pm
F1 LIVE: FP3 COMPLETED!
Wow! So impressive from Red Bull once again!
Max Verstappen fastest in all practice sessions this weekend – and he is six tenths ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez in second with 1:28:485.
Aston Martin are its closest competitors, however, with Fernando Alonso third and Spear Ride in fourth.
5-10: Hamilton, Leclerc, Norris, Piastri, Gasly, Sainz
Hamilton – fifth – one second behind Verstappen!
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 2:33 pm
F1 LIVE: 10:00 left in FP3!
And the Max Verstappen show once again – he is almost five tenths faster than teammate Sergio Perez in second!
Spear Ride is third for Aston Martin, while lewis hamilton it’s the room; nine tenths behind leader Red Bull.
Verstappen was forced to apologize to Lando Norris, incidentally, for blocking the McLaren on a hot lap. It’s not the first problem with traffic this weekend… it could be problematic in the first quarter!
As for the Ferraris? Both Charles Leclerc It is Carlos Sainz yet to set a time in softs for some reason or another…
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 2:21 pm
F1 LIVE: 30:00 left in FP3!
Normal order resumed. Sergio Perez goes faster on softs with 1:29:417, while Max Verstappen it’s a tenth descent…but on a HARD tire! Absolutely fast from the Dutchman!
It’s an Alpine three-four, with Pierre Gasly in third and Esteban Ocon room.
5-10: Russell, Albon, Hamilton, Norris, Leclerc, Sainz
Qualifying simulation laps coming up!
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 2:02 pm
F1 LIVE: 45:00 left in FP3!
It’s a one-two for Mercedes early on, with George Russell faster on the softs with 1:30:476, with lewis hamilton 0.016 seconds down.
The third is the Alpino de Pierre Gaslywhile Max Verstappen is fourth, but on HARD tires – just 0.248 seconds behind Russell!
6-10: Ocon, Magnussen, Bottas, Zhou, Hulkenberg
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 1:48 pm
F1 LIVE: FP3 Coming!
We have the third live practice of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit!
Can anyone take down Max Verstappen and claim the top spot under the blazing sun in Saudi Arabia?
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 1:28 pm
F1 LIVE: Toto Wolff speaks to the press…
Toto Wolff is honest about how Mercedes approached last year’s regulation change… and persevering with the same philosophy this year.
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 1:22 pm
F1 LIVE: Lewis Hamilton rates Mercedes’ Saudi Arabia victory prospects
Mercedes, so dominant in Formula 1 from 2014 to 2021 with eight constructors’ championships, had a season to forget in 2022 when new regulations caught up with them and they finished third in the standings.
And Hamilton – who last won an F1 race at the Jeddah track in December 2021, 24 grands prix ago – admitted it was a “shock” when he first drove the W14 car last month, acknowledging that three teams are currently ahead of them.
“After I drive the car for the first time, you start to do this [re-assess goals] with the challenges you’re facing,” said the 38-year-old.
“It’s a similar situation to last year – it’s a shock when the car isn’t where you want it to be, but you have 100% faith in the people you work with. We are not where we wanted to be and we need to keep working on it.
“We need the Red Bulls and the Ferraris not to finish the race, maybe the Astons too, to be winning. [ourselves]. That doesn’t mean we can’t reach them…”
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 1:15 pm
F1 LIVE: What is the race schedule this weekend?
- Free Practice 3: 1:30 pm
- Qualification: 5 pm
How can I watch online and on TV?
The entire race schedule will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 in the United Kingdom, with the race on Sunday live on Sky Sports main event also. will be broadcast on ESPN in the United States.
Highlights will be displayed in channel 4; for qualifying at 20:50 (GMT) on Saturday and for the race at 22:15 on Sunday.
If you are not one Sky customer, you can pick up a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 1:09 pm
F1 LIVE: Martin Brundle assesses Mercedes’ difficult start to the F1 season
Having produced a car similar in design to the troubled 2022 challenger – with a unique ‘zero-pod’ approach – Toto Wolff has admitted he is ready to ditch that type of car after seeing the deficit of roughly a second lap to Red Bull at the Sunday Grand Prix.
“It seems to me that Mercedes went the wrong way in 2022 and refused to turn around,” Brundle said in his Sky Sports column.
“Even Lewis and Toto openly expressed their disappointment at certain points over the weekend, and normally they just rave about the Brackley and Brixworth teams. The team must be tense right now, the quality is there, they just lack direction and oxygen to calm their heads.”
Kieran JacksonMarch 18, 2023 12:57 pm