F1 qualifying LIVE: Lewis Hamilton eyes pole position in Saudi Arabia Grand Prix for Mercedes but Max Verstappen looks to maintain his dominance

Can Mercedes challenge Red Bull in new F1 season? | You Ask The Questions

Max Verstappen will be eyeing another dominant weekend as the F1 paddock rolls into Jeddah for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver led home a comfortable one-two for the world champions at the first race of the season in Bahrain, with Sergio Perez in second.

Fernando Alonso came home third for Aston Martin, who were the surprise package, while the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished fifth and seventh respectively.

Charles Leclerc – who was involved in a thrilling battle with Verstappen in Saudi last year – had to retire in Bahrain, with Ferrari team-mate Carlos Sainz coming home fourth. This year’s race is the third grand prix held at the lightning quick street circuit in Jeddah. Verstappen was quickest in both practice sessions yesterday, a day when Hamilton parted ways with his long-term performance coach.

Follow qualifying at the Saudi Arabian GP with The Independent – FP3 started at 1:30pm (GMT) before qualifying at 5pm.


F1 LIVE: 10:00 left in FP3!

It’s the Max Verstappen show once again – he’s nearly five-tenths quicker than team-mate Sergio Perez in second!

Lance Stroll is third for Aston Martin while Lewis Hamilton is fourth; nine-tenths behind the leading Red Bull.

Verstappen forced to apologise to Lando Norris, by the way, for blocking the McLaren on a hot lap. Not the first issue with traffic this weekend… could be problematic come Q1!

As for the Ferraris? Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz yet to set a time on softs for some reason or another…

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 14:21


F1 LIVE: 30:00 left in FP3!

Normal order resumed. Sergio Perez goes fastest on softs with a 1:29:417, while Max Verstappen is a tenth down… but on a HARD tyre! Absolutely rapid from the Dutchman!

It’s an Alpine three-four, with Pierre Gasly in third and Esteban Ocon fourth.

5-10: Russell, Albon, Hamilton, Norris, Leclerc, Sainz

Qualifying simulation laps coming right up though!

(Getty Images)

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 14:02


F1 LIVE: 45:00 left in FP3!

It’s a Mercedes one-two early on, with George Russell quickest on softs with 1:30:476, with Lewis Hamilon 0.016 seconds down.

Third is the Alpine of Pierre Gasly, while Max Verstappen is fourth but on HARD tyres – only 0.248 seconds down on Russell!

6-10: Ocon, Magnussen, Bottas, Zhou, Hulkenberg

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 13:48


F1 LIVE: FP3 coming up!

We’ve got third practice coming up live from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit!

Can anyone topple Max Verstappen and claim top spot under the beating sun in Saudi?

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 13:28


F1 LIVE: Toto Wolff speaks to the press…

Toto Wolff is honest about how Mercedes approached last year’s change in regulations… and persevering with the same philosophy this year.

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 13:22


F1 LIVE: Lewis Hamilton ranks Mercedes’ prospects of win in Saudi Arabia

Mercedes, so dominant in Formula 1 from 2014-2021 with eight Constructors’ Championships, had a season to forget in 2022 as new regulations caught them out and they finished third in the standings.

And Hamilton – who last won an F1 race at the Jeddah track in December 2021, 24 grand 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.

“Once I drove the car for the first time, you start to do that [re-assess goals] with the challenges you’re facing,” the 38-year-old said.

“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’re not where we want to be and we need to keep working on it.

“We need the Red Bulls and Ferraris not to finish the race, maybe the Astons too, to be winning [ourselves]. It doesn’t mean we can’t catch them up…”

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 13:15


F1 LIVE: What is the race schedule this weekend?

  • Free Practice 3: 1:30pm
  • Qualifying: 5pm

How can I watch it online and on TV?

The entire race schedule will be broadcast live on Sky Sports F1 in the UK, with the race on Sunday live on Sky Sports Main Event too. It will be broadcasted on ESPN in the United States.

Highlights will be aired on Channel 4; for qualifying at at 8:50pm (GMT) on Saturday and for the race at 10:15pm on Sunday.

If you’re not a Sky customer you can grab a NOWTV Day Pass here to watch without a subscription.

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 13:09


F1 LIVE: Martin Brundle evaluates Mercedes’ tough start to the F1 season

Having produced a car similar in design to 2022’s troubled challenger – with a unique “zero-pod” approach – Toto Wolff admitted that he is set to ditch this breed of car after seeing the roughly second-a-lap deficit to Red Bull in Sunday’s grand prix.

“It seems to me that Mercedes went the wrong way in 2022 and refuse to turn around,” Brundle said in his Sky Sports column.

“Even Lewis and Toto were openly expressing their disappointment at certain points of the weekend, and normally they only sing the praises of the teams at Brackley and Brixworth. It must be tense at the team right now, the quality is there, it just needs direction and oxygen to calm heads.”

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 12:57


F1 LIVE: Verstappen vs Alonso

Here’s a fascinating side-by-side of the two fastest laps in FP2 last night!

Who’s your money on this afternoon?

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 12:42


F1 LIVE: Sky add ex-McLaren and Aston Martin strategy guru Bernie Collins to their F1 team

Sky Sports have added former McLaren and Aston Martin strategy chief Bernie Collins to their Formula 1 punditry line-up for the 2023 season.

Collins, who was a performance engineer at McLaren and head of race strategy at Aston Martin, will first feature on Sky in the paddock at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix this weekend.

Sky say she will feature 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 begin this new chapter with the Sky Sports F1 team and want to thank them for the opportunity,” Collins said in a Sky press release. “After many years on the pit wall I’m keen to embrace this new role within F1 from a viewer’s perspective and enhance their experience of racing.”

Collins’ role will “help explain and demystify all things team strategy and engineering for Sky Sports F1 viewers old and new.”

Kieran Jackson18 March 2023 12:31

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