Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 9, 2024.
© Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool
F1

F1 to 10: Two underrated aspects of Verstappen’s success

Max Verstappen’s 100th podium made the Saudia Arabia Grand Prix one for the history books. Get up to speed with Oracle Red Bull Racing’s flying start to the 2024 season here.
Written by Matthew Clayton
6 min readPublished on

1. Saudi Arabia in exactly 75 words*

Max Verstappen and Sergio Pérez gave Oracle Red Bull Racing its second 1-2 Formula One finish of the season at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with reigning world champion Verstappen earning his 100th career podium finish with his ninth successive victory dating back to last season and second career win at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. Charles Leclerc, who qualified second behind Verstappen, completed the podium for Ferrari after being passed by Pérez on Lap 4.
* 2024 is the 75th season of the F1 world championship

2. The Saudi Arabian GP in six pics

3. Race two, another 1-2 for Red Bull

Max Verstappen of Oracle Red Bull Racing at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 9, 2024.

Back-to-back: Verstappen was quick to celebrate with his team

© Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen arrived in Jeddah on the cusp of a special achievement; a win would see the Dutchman set the second-longest winning streak of all-time (nine consecutive victories), which would trail only his 10-race run last season as the longest in the sport’s 75-year history.
Pole position, with a gap of three-tenths of a second to Leclerc, ticked the first box under Saudi night skies on Friday night, and he out-dragged the Ferrari on the short run to the first corner to put himself in the box seat. An earlier-than-planned pit stop on Lap 6 – after Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll crashed out and caused a safety car – saw him have to nurse a set of hard tyres to the end of the 50-lap race. Still, he was untroubled after taking the lead back from McLaren’s Lando Norris (who didn’t pit under the safety car) on Lap 13 to win by 13.643s.
Two underrated aspects of Verstappen’s recent success are his conversion rate – Saturday was the 18th consecutive pole that preceded a race win – and his consistency; Saudi Arabia was his 43rd race finish in a row, a streak 28 races longer than any other driver.
Pérez, who won in Saudi Arabia last year from pole position, felt he’d squandered a chance for a Red Bull 1-2 in qualifying when Leclerc edged him by 0.016s to the front row. Still, the Mexican made amends swiftly on Saturday’s race by leapfrogging the Monegasque driver just four laps in.
Second looked assured from there, but it wasn’t without its challenges; Pérez was released into the pit lane in the way of Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin in the chaos of the Lap 6 safety car stampede to the pit lane and was assessed a five-second time penalty to be applied at the end of the race for an unsafe release.
Pérez pressed on undeterred and had just shy of five seconds in hand over Leclerc even after the penalty was applied, making it two straight podiums to kick-start his season.

4. Wait continues for Yuki Tsunoda and Daniel Ricciardo

Yuki Tsunoda of Visa Cash App RB at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 9, 2024.

Tsunoda was stuck in the pack and unable to reprise his qualifying speed

© Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

The Visa Cash App RB team had a frustrating night in Jeddah, with Yuki Tsunoda (14th) and Daniel Ricciardo (16th) failing to score points after the team went scoreless in Bahrain seven days earlier.
Tsunoda was a standout performer in qualifying, making it through to Q3 and lining up in ninth on the grid, but was frustrated in the race behind Haas driver Kevin Magnussen, who was assessed a 10-second time penalty for leaving the track and gaining an advantage as he attempted to hold Tsunoda off.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, will enter his home Grand Prix in Australia in a fortnight, still chasing his first points of 2024 after finishing 10 seconds behind his team-mate. A slow pit stop on Lap 6 dropped him to the rear of the field. The 34-year-old made gains and passed Sauber pair Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu late in the race, but a penultimate lap spin at Turn 2 summed up a largely anonymous weekend.

5. The number you need to know

100: Verstappen becomes the seventh driver in F1 history to achieve 100 career podiums; Lewis Hamilton (197), Michael Schumacher (155), Sebastian Vettel (122), Alain Prost (106), Fernando Alonso (106) and Kimi Raikkonen (103) are the others.

6. The word from the paddock

A fantastic weekend for the whole team and also for myself. I feel really good with the car, and it was the same in the race … we had good pace all around

7. The stats that matter

Drivers' Championship top 5

Position

Driver

Team

Points

Gap

1

Max Verstappen

Oracle Red Bull Racing

51

-

2

Sergio Pérez

Oracle Red Bull Racing

36

-15

3

Charles Leclerc

Ferrari

28

-23

4

George Russell

Mercedes

18

-33

5

Oscar Piastri

McLaren

16

-35

Constructors' Championship top 5

Position

Team

Points

Gap

1

Oracle Red Bull Racing

87

-

2

Ferrari

49

-38

3

McLaren

28

-59

4

Mercedes

26

-61

5

Aston Martin

13

-74

8. Away from the track

Take three F1 drivers and give them a break from bitumen, and you know what happens next... We let Max Verstappen, Sergio Pérez and Daniel Ricciardo loose around a replica of the United States Grand Prix circuit at Oracle Headquarters with remote-controlled cars, with hilarious results.
Without giving too much away, there were jumps and crashes, and some cars even finished the course. Some bent machinery and banter were guaranteed with this trio at the controls.
Who won? Who didn’t? Does it even matter? Watch below and find out…

5 min

Formula 1 Drivers Drive RC Cars

Oracle powers our strategy decisions on the track, but what strategy did the drivers use as they raced around Oracle HQ?

9. Where to next, and what do I need to know?

Round 3 (Australia), March 22-24
Circuit name/location: Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit, Melbourne
Length/laps: 5.278km, 58 laps
Grands Prix held/debut: 26, 1996
Most successful driver: Michael Schumacher (four wins)
Most successful team: Ferrari (nine wins)
2023 race recap: 1st: Max Verstappen (Oracle Red Bull Racing), 2nd: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 3rd: Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

10. Inside the wide world of Red Bull Motorsports

Johann Zarco races during the MotoGP World Championship in Spielberg, Austria on August 19, 2023.

Zarco joined MotoGP™ in 2017 but didn't grab his first win until 2023

© Philip Platzer/Red Bull Content Pool

The 2024 MotoGP season roared into life this weekend with the Qatar Motorcycle Grand Prix, and with 16 of the 22 riders having won in the premier class, quality on two wheels isn’t hard to find. Harder to find? Anyone who had a dry eye after category veteran Johann Zarco finally became one of those victors in 2023, the fast Frenchman annexing the Australian Grand Prix with a dramatic last-lap overtake.
It was a win that was a long time coming – Zarco was in his seventh season and had taken 19 other podiums before belatedly winning on his 120th start – and one that saw smiles from his team and rivals alike as the 33-year-old from Cannes is one of the most intriguing and endearing figures in the pit lane.
Take a trip through a race weekend with Zarco at last year’s season finale in Valencia, where he reflects on his long ride to the top, his 2024 shift to Honda, and that magical day last October at Phillip Island.

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