After a week off of the action, the 2023 Formula One season resumes this weekend with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Below I’ll be providing a preview of the upcoming Grand Prix and my predictions for this weekend’s action.
Grand Prix Preview
Similar to the Bahrain Grand Prix, all twenty drivers on the grid will participate in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The weekend will also follow the same format: two one-hour practice sessions on Friday, March 17, a one-hour practice session and qualifying race session on Saturday, March 18, and the ultimate Grand Prix on Sunday, March 19.
Heading into the weekend, some of the headlines included that Red Bull driver Max Verstappen apparently arrived behind schedule after his travel plans were delayed due to illness. In contrast, Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll is apparently cleared to participate after continued issues with his wrist injuries suffered in a bike crash a few months ago.
In addition to this, Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc was issued a 10-place grid penalty by FIA because he had to replace his car’s electronic control unit. This could end up as a costly penalty for the Scuderia, as they’re in desperate need of solid points.
The action will occur on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, a 6.174-kilometer track in downtown Jeddah, consisting of 27 turns, 3 DRS detection zones, and a speed trap. The Grand Prix on Sunday will consist of 50 laps for a total race length of 308.45 kilometers. The Jeddah Circuit is known for its high speeds and fast pace, as the average speed around the track is 250 km/hour, which is second only to the Monza Grand Prix in Italy.
With the first practice session in the books, the podium from the Bahrain Grand Prix has repeated their success, as Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, and Max Verstappen topped the grid, with Red Bull’s Verstappen leading the way with a 1:29.662 lap time.
Aston Martin seemed to have found their car as Lance Stroll finished just behind his teammate with a 4th place finish, followed by Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton in 5th and 6th.
Heading into the race, it seems that Red Bull remains the team to beat, with title contenders Mercedes and Ferrari not getting the results they were hoping for. However, with a track as fast as Jeddah, a lot could change before the Grand Prix on Sunday.
Predictions for Saudi Arabia
As I alluded to above, Red Bull and their drivers are in a league of their own now. Max Verstappen(-225) and Sergio Perez(+450) are the two clear favorites, with Fernando Alonso(+800) rounding out the top three. Barring any significant incident, Verstappen will handily win this Grand Prix, as he’s won nearly every practice and qualifying session this season and led for the entirety of the Bahrain Grand Prix two weeks ago.
This weekend is jam-packed with high-speed action and will certainly bring all of the excitement to the third edition of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah. You won’t want to miss a second of this weekend’s proceedings.
FORMULA ONE BAHRAIN HIGHLIGHTS AND SAUDI ARABIA GRAND PRIX PREVIEW