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Next Event Starts in:
3hrs 24min - MotoGP Qualifying
Mar 13, 2024
Brendan Burns

The Second Race has certainly solidified some early season prospects for some teams, providing us a clearer picture for what to expect over the next couple races. 

The Jeddah circuit almost always provides us with an interesting race and the 2024 Grand Prix certainly maintained that expectation. While Verstappen P1 and Perez P2 were hardly a surprise, we saw some great racing in the mid-field and gained some more information about the teams this season. 

  • Ferrari and McLaren both had stellar races, putting on a great show throughout the mid-field.
    • While Red Bull put up a dominant performance, Ferrari showed some promise in this race as well, as Leclerc presented some great lap times and finished in third, keeping Ferrari firmly in second place in the team points. Additionally, Ollie Bearman had a fantastic race filling in for Carlos Sainz, finishing in the points and giving us some insight into Ferrari’s car itself. Ferrari’s car has certainly earned it’s team ranking, despite Bearman being thrust into a certainly unexpected situation, Bearman finished in seventh, earning himself driver of the day and a F1 Debut for the storybooks.
    • In terms of McLaren’s performance, Norris and Piastri both had good races, but both drivers struggled, for different reasons. Norris stayed out during the Safety Car, hoping to hold onto the gained race position in the event of another incident. Unfortunately, that incident never occurred, forcing Lando to pit towards the end of the race, finishing in eighth. Piastri however, did pit during the safety car, but was locked in a battle to pass Hamilton for over 20 laps. Piastri was gaining ground on Hamilton during most of the lap, but would then lose it during the straightaways. Fortunately Hamilton pitted, allowing for Piastri to surge ahead and finish the race in fourth.
  • Moving to the teams that fell behind, Saudi proved to be a difficult race for Alpine, Kick Sauber, and Team RB.
    • Alpine started off poorly, with Pierre Gasly having gearbox issues before lights out, leading to an early retirement. Ocon managed to gain some places, finishing 13th, after starting 17th, but considering the two free places due to DNF’s, with one of them being an Alpine car, the team has continued its lackluster start to the beginning of the season. And considering last week's headlines regarding the sudden departure of Alpine’s Technical leads, the forecast for their performance in these upcoming races is not great.’
    • After putting on a surprising performance at last week's Grand Prix, Kick Sauber had some unfortunate luck at the Jeddah Circuit. Valtteri Bottas trailed the pack for the majority of the race, seemingly unable to gain any ground against the other drivers. Zhou gained and maintained solid grid position by staying out on the track during the safety car, staying in P10 all the way up until lap 43, where he dropped to last place after a disastrous pit stop, which mirrored Bottas' botched pit in Bahrain. Kick Sauber finished the race in P17 - P18, a result that they certainly cannot be satisfied with. 
    • And finally, Team RB continued to struggle to meet expectations, thoroughly solidifying themselves towards the tail end of the grid. Ricciardo and Tsunoda both had unremarkable races, with the Australian consistently trailing behind in the back of the pack. Tsunoda’s race was slightly more eventful, if for all the wrong reasons. After a strange pit incident with Lando Norris during the Race start, Tsunoda continued to try and fight for position, but continuously over-extended himself, allowing for other drivers to gain position. Overall, Team RB is still coping with the growing pains that come with team changes and it is unlikely that their issues will resolve over the next few races.
  • Haas had a great grid finish with Hulkenberg finishing P10 due to Magnussen holding back a DRS train. While it was a skilled defense by Magnussen, his driving came with some penalties as he pinched both Albon and Tsunoda into the wall during some corners. Despite this, Haas’s ability to secure some points in the constructors this early was certainly a surprise. Haas was not on very many people’s radars, as many expected to see more of the same from the last couple seasons. And yet, they have been better than Williams, Kick Sauber, Racing Bulls, and Alpine. There's no guarantee that they will say P6 among constructors as upgrades are brought in, especially considering Lance Stroll’s early retirement, but it’s a promising start to 2024.
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