Saudi Arabia F1 Grand Prix 2023 LIVE! Race feed, breaking news, updates, TV, weather and starting grid today
It’s the second race on the 2023 F1 calendar and we’re back in the Middle East after Max Verstappen’s win in Bahrain a fortnight ago. The reigning world champion, however, has everything to do to get on the podium again. A driveshaft failure in qualifying means Verstappen will start in 15th place, although no one expects him to stay there long after dominating every practice session.
Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez took pole position, as he did in Jeddah last year, and is joined by Fernando Alonso in the front row. Mercedes driver George Russell will start in P3 but team-mate Lewis Hamilton lines up in seventh and after qualifying said he “didn’t feel connected to this car”.
The Jeddah Corniche circuit is known to be relatively easy to overtake, so expect plenty of action. Follow along with our dedicated live blog below, featuring insights and expert analysis from Matt Majendie on the trail!
Max Verstappen calm before a big response
“Yesterday, of course, didn’t quite go to plan, but we have a great racing car, so I’m excited to try to work my way up to the front.
“It’s going to be an interesting race, there’s a lot going on here too because it’s not an easy track. But I can’t wait to be there.
All eyes on this man today
Sergio Perez could very likely lead the F1 World Championship tonight before starting on pole position in Saudi Arabia.
The Mexican will sincerely believe that he can challenge Max Verstappen for the title and therefore this is definitely a must race for him.
Fernando Alonso discusses off-line strategy
Fernando Alonso says nothing has been ruled out by Aston Martin as he seeks to overtake Sergio Perez from the starting grid.
“The degradation is very different here compared to Bahrain,” he told Sky F1.
“Maybe we don’t have the same race pace advantage but the car feels good, especially in high speed corners. We are aiming for the podium so let’s see if we can reach it.
“The three tires are possibilities. The mediums seem quite correct, the hard gives freedom in the strategy. We consider them all.
“The new regulations were aimed at having tight competition and, with Red Bull in another league, after them, there are around 15 cars within five tenths of each other. It’s very exciting.”
A footballing legend in the Ferrari paddock
Well, a legend if you’re Italian, at least, like Ferrari!
Toto Wolff delivers Mercedes update
So where is Mercedes?
Toto Wolff gave an overview of the seven-time constructors’ champions after qualifying.
“We are taking very big steps right now with our research and development, with our understanding of the wind tunnel,” the team boss said.
“We just needed confirmation in Bahrain that we were wrong, now we have it. And that’s why I would never cancel anything.
“Is it realistic after today’s performance [in qualifying] can we talk about the world championship? No, it’s not, you’re a fool if you think like that.
Matt Majendie in Jeddah
The sun is just starting to set in Jeddah. The wind picked up a bit earlier but seems to be a bit dead. All sensibilities say that Sergio Perez in the Red Bull should win from pole such is the dominance of the RB19.
But again he and Max Verstappen briefly worried about a double DNF in the final stages of Bahrain when both of their gearboxes overheated alarmingly.
It is suspected that reliability issues would be the most likely way to undo another Red Bull win in the spotlight later on.
Red Bull changes Max Verstappen’s gearbox
A late change in the Red Bull garage but which will have no impact on today’s grid.
Verstappen returns to the gearbox he used last time in Bahrain.
Summary of qualifications
Sergio Perez moved into pole position yesterday with his biggest rivals already out of the picture; Charles Leclerc, second fastest, has already suffered a ten-place grid penalty and Max Verstappen retired from 15th place in Q2.
This means Fernando Alonso is second and George Russell is third on the grid.
Carlos Sainz is fourth ahead of Lance Stroll and Esteban Ocon, who placed his Alpine ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes.
Oscar Piastri signed a very good eighth on the grid ahead of Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg.
Discover Jeddah Corniche Circuit
The second-longest circuit on the F1 calendar, at 3.836 miles, is dubbed the “world’s fastest street circuit”.
Located on the Red Sea waterfront in the Saudi city of Jeddah, this is the third F1 race held here with Lewis Hamilton winning here in 2021 before Max Verstappen claimed victory last year.
Local weather update
Clear skies in Jeddah for this night race with no sign of rain on the radar.
Temperatures are currently 29°C and will drop slightly as the evening sets in.
Very little wind is forecast for the race, with any gusts diminishing by then.