F1 Saudi Arabian GP Results: Invincible Max Verstappen Makes It 9 in a Row

f1 grand prix of saudi arabia
Invincible Max Vertappen Makes It 9 Wins in a RowBryn Lennon - Formula 1 - Getty Images

Max Verstappen spearheaded another dominant Red Bull Racing 1-2 in Saudi Arabia as Ferrari debutant Ollie Bearman starred, while plucky Haas picked up a rare point.

Verstappen Continues Winning Ways

Max Verstappen continued his winning run with a comfortable triumph at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on Saturday, ahead of Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez. It was the 56th victory of Verstappen’s career, and ninth in a row, as he hones in on the record of consecutive wins—10—that he only set himself in 2023.

“Overall, it was, of course, a fantastic weekend for the whole team,” said Verstappen. “For my side I felt really good with the car and it was basically the same in the race. Of course the last stint was a bit longer than we would have liked, but with the Safety Car you had to go for it, in the last few laps, also with those backmarkers, on cold tires, it was a little bit slippery, but we had good pace all around, we could manage it quite well with the gap also. So, overall, very, very pleased.”

auto prix f1 ksa
Team principal Christian Horner, left, and Max Verstappen celebrate Saturday’s win.GIUSEPPE CACACE - Getty Images

Off-track, Red Bull Racing continues to play roll forward in the shadow of controversy that has threatened to tear apart the leadership structure. While team principal Christian Horner has been cleared of inappropriate behavior following an internal investigation and team advisor Helmut Marko is believed to be facing a possible suspension of his own, some within the team are wondering if the distractions could break up the band that continues to play a winning tune.


Post-race, Horner was keen to play down the situation.

“There's no tension, there's no stress, you can see how relaxed he [Verstappen] is around the garage with everybody in the team and that's translating to his performance on track as well,” said Horner. “So we don't see any issues with Max.”

Horner nonetheless emphasized that “no individual is bigger than the team” before adding “Max is part of the team. Helmut [Marko] is part of the team. I lead this team and everybody has a key role to play in it. And you know, that's it.”

f1 grand prix of saudi arabia
Weekend replacement Oliver Bearman scored points in his first career F1 race.Clive Rose - Getty Images

Rookie Super Sub Bearman Shines

Oliver Bearman spent last weekend toward the rear of the Formula 2 grid as his Prema Racing team struggled in Bahrain. Bearman and Prema remedied the situation in Jeddah as the 18-year-old Briton scorched to pole position for Formula 2’s Feature Race.

Only 18 hours later he was instead navigating Ferrari’s SF-24 through Jeddah’s streets around 10 seconds faster than his Formula 2 pole time, as the third-youngest Formula 1 driver in history, having been drafted in to replace Carlos Sainz, benched by appendicitis.

Bearman has been in line for a while to join the Formula 1 grid, having slotted into Ferrari’s Driver Academy in 2022. He narrowly missed out on that year’s Formula 3 title, and last year was sixth with four wins in Formula 2.

auto prix f1 ksa
Oliver Bearman raced like a veteran during his F1 debut race in Saudi Arabia.GIUSEPPE CACACE - Getty Images

Believed to be a candidate for a future ride with Haas, Bearman impressed not just with his speed but with his composure and maturity during a handful of practice runs.

In Jeddah, Bearman started a day behind his new Formula 1 rivals, had to get accustomed to a car he had never driven, and at an especially demanding circuit where confidence is required. Bearman made a couple of small mistakes and qualified an extremely credible 11th, missing Q3 by just 0.036 second.

Rivals were effusive in praise, with Lewis Hamilton labelling him “really impressive” and Fernando Alonso believing the youngster did “fantastically well.” Alonso, by the way, finished second at the 2005 Spanish Grand Prix, on the day Bearman was born.

In the race, Bearman started on Soft tyres, stayed out of trouble through the first stint, and kept a cool head to bag seventh place. The strategy worked in his favor—allowing him to jump Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton, who both opted not to pit during a Safety Car phase—but it was a very impressive debut.

“Everybody has noticed how talented he is and I guess it’s just a matter of time before he comes here in Formula 1,” said team-mate Charles Leclerc, who classified third.

Ferrari has made it clear that, assuming Sainz, who was gingerly back in the paddock for the race. is cleared for Melbourne, Bearman’s focus will be fully on his Formula 2 program.