Max Verstappen suffered a suspected driveshaft issue that ruled him out of Qualifying and saw him qualify in P15 ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Verstappen’s chances will be significantly affected as the Saudi Arabian circuit isn’t an easy track to overtake on. While the Dutchman has won from P14 before, P15 will prove much more difficult. He remains positive about the prospects of his Red Bull car, but acknowledges that it will be a challenge.
In Qualifying, Fernando Alonso qualified P3 for Aston Martin, with Lance Stroll finishing in P6. Charles Leclerc was confirmed to have a 10-place grid penalty. Aston Martin’s solid performance puts Alonso on the front row, with Stroll moving up to the third row. The race is expected to be a challenge, but it presents a significant opportunity for Aston Martin to secure points.
Track limits were a topic of discussion in Q1 as Logan Sargeant had his lap-time deleted for going over the line in Turn 27, effectively putting him out of Qualifying. The consistency of decisions has been hard to come by in the sport recently, but if the first race is anything to go by, the FIA will be strict with their decisions for the whole season.
Looking at onboard footage, Sargeant’s tyre did go over the line and according to the FIA, he gained a lasting advantage by going off the track. While he may have gained very little advantage in this instance, if track limits are applied similarly in tomorrow’s race, many drivers will see black and white flags. It remains to be seen how the FIA will choose to enforce track limits in the coming race.