Saudi Arabia lit up the second round of qualifying


March 18, 2023, 20:47

The second round qualifier took place under the lights in Saudi Arabia, generating plenty of talking points and questions raised in the pub. The biggest shock was Max Verstappen, who qualified P15 with a suspected driveshaft problem that forced him out of qualifying.

The Dutchman is in for a touch-and-go race as Saudi Arabia is not an easy region to beat, despite the drama we’ve seen on the calendar over the past two seasons.

Verstappen spoke about his retirement saying: “Coming out of turn 10, it happened. The possibility is… very unpleasant for this to happen. I mean, I think we’ve had a really good weekend so far.

“Every session went really well. and every time you want to follow up, you know the car was running really well.

“So now it will be a little more difficult to go to the front. but it’s all about scoring points. I’m starting on the higher road, but we can’t change that now.

“Everything is possible on this track. We’ve seen a lot of crazy things, but we also have to stay a little realistic. I mean, it’s going to be tough, but we’ve got a good pace, so I’m sure we’ll go forward.”

As Max says, anything really is possible at this track, so I’m sure we’re all looking forward to seeing what happens on Sunday. Having a rocket ship for a car will definitely help him through the field, Max has won from P14 on the grid before but let’s see if he can do it from P15 this time around…

La Mission In Action For Aston Martin

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La Misión is well and truly underway as Fernando Alonso qualified a brilliant P3 for Aston Martin today, with Lance Stroll also qualifying P6.

Lance’s qualifying was almost flawless, in the latter part of Q3 it looked like he would be close to pole, but he lost it in the final stretch and the best he could manage to cross the line was a 1.28.9 which put him in P6.

Fernando Alonso finished Quali in P3 with a 1.28.7, just 0.2 seconds faster than his teammate, but an incredible qualifying result for them once again.

Making it even better for them, Charles Leclerc was confirmed to have a 10-place grid penalty ahead of race week, meaning both qualified one place higher than their original positions.

Putting Fernando Alonso on the front row and Lance staying on the 3rd row but moving up to P5.

For Aston Martin, the huge potential of Sunday’s race leaves them with a challenge, but a serious opportunity to score significant points is on the table. Alonso and Stroll showed composure and consistency in Bahrain two weeks ago. It’s time for both drivers to put their heads down and see what they can achieve.

We all know and love Alonso’s drive for the lead, so strap in and get ready for some Turn 1 debris.

Ridiculous track restrictions cause controversy

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Now over the years we’ve seen how strict/tight the FIA ​​can be when it comes to ride restrictions, however one thing the fans are mostly asking for is consistency with the decisions made.

Logan Sargent had his lap time erased in Q1 for going over the line in Turn 27, therefore getting rid of his turn, effectively knocking him out of qualifying. Now track restrictions have always been a topic of discussion, but what the FIA ​​essentially said to the other teams today was that on Sunday, if you have to have 1 tire crossing the line, you will be given a caution.

Since it happened to Logan today, that means it should be the same for Sunday’s race, right? Consistency within sports and decisions has been hard to come by recently. Some drivers will be exempt from certain actions and others will not. However, if we come out of the first race with what’s to come, I’m sure they’ll be tough on their decisions for the rest of the season.

Looking at the plane footage, it’s true that Sargeant does have a tire on the line and, literally speaking, he has a time advantage exiting the runway. Yes, of course, he probably gains practically nothing from doing this, but in the eyes of the FIA, he has “gained a permanent advantage from going off track”.

If these restrictions are implemented in tomorrow’s race, expect to see the black and white flags many times.

What are your thoughts on track boundaries? Let us know in the comments below.

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