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What time the next grand prix starts and what happened in the previous rounds

What time the next grand prix starts and what happened in the previous rounds

The 2024 Formula One season is well underway and set to feature a record 24 races. That was meant to be the case in 2023 but the Chinese GP and Emilia-Romagna GP were both dropped from the calendar, for different reasons; both returned for the 2024 season, making this a bumper year for fans and a hectic one for the teams and drivers.

Once again the F1 season began with the Bahrain Grand Prix, which took place this year on Saturday, March 2. The season is due to stretch into December, with the final round slated for the Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi on December 8.

In scheduling the races for 2024, F1’s management made a conscious move towards “greater calendar regionalisation”, which in layman’s terms means grouping events together based on their geographical locations. This, F1 says, has the dual benefit of reducing logistical burdens on the teams and making the season more sustainable.

The resulting tweaks involved moving the Japanese GP to April, putting it between the Australian and Chinese rounds, while the Azerbaijan GP shifts to September, after Italy and before Singapore. Additionally, the Qatar Grand Prix is back-to-back with Abu Dhabi.

Of greatest interest for UK F1 fans will be that the 2024 British Grand Prix takes place on the weekend of July 5-7.

A statement from F1 read: “This calendar creates a better flow of races in certain regions, and this work will continue while being realistic to the fact that as a world championship, with climatic and contractual constraints, there will always be travel required that cannot be completely regionalised.”

Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1, said: “I believe this calendar strikes the right balance between traditional races and new and existing venues.

“Our journey to a more sustainable calendar will continue in the coming years as we further streamline operations as part of our Net Zero 2030 commitment.”

When is the next F1 race?

The next F1 race is the British Grand Prix on Sunday, July 7.

The main race starts at 3pm London time. We’ve included local times below for the UK, USA and Australia.

Location Time Time Zone UTC Offset
London (United Kingdom – England) Sunday, 7 July 2024, 15:00:00 BST UTC+1 hour
New York (USA – New York) Sunday, 7 July 2024, 08:00:00 EDT UTC-4 hours
Los Angeles (USA – California) Sunday, 7 July 2024, 07:00:00 PDT UTC-7 hours
Canberra (Australia – Australian Capital Territory) Monday, 8 July 2024, 00:00:00 AEDT UTC+10 hours
Timings via timeanddate.com

The full British GP schedule with UK timings:

Friday, July 5 UK times
Practice 1 12:30 – 13:30
Practice 2 16:00 – 17:00
Saturday, July 6
Practice 3 11:30 – 12:30
Qualifying 15:00 – 16:00
Sunday, July 7
Grand Prix 15:00

2024 F1 calendar

Here’s the full schedule of grands prix for the 2024 Formula One season. After each round you’ll be able to click on links to read a report of each race.


2024 Bahrain GP race report

The 2024 F1 season has already had more than its fair share of drama and scandal before the lights went out on the first race, writes Dave Humphreys.

Despite plenty of variability in the early practice sessions, the starting grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix continued where 2023 left off. Reigning world champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull started from pole position ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari and George Russell of Mercedes.

Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) lined up in fourth place — he has a lot to prove this year, as he will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton in 2025. Hamilton could only qualify in ninth, saying he sacrificed qualifying speed for race setup in his Mercedes.

The wily Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) started from sixth, ahead of the McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. A strong performance from Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) saw him in tenth spot.

As the lights went out, Verstappen got away cleanly and maintained his lead into the first corner, with the pack taking a cautious approach to the first lap in this season-opener. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) spun around following a light touch from Hulkenberg, demoting the Canadian driver to last place as he recovered. Zhou Guanyu (Stake F1) made a great start and gained four places by the end of lap one.

A couple of laps in, Norris made a move stick on Alonso while further up the field, Russell performed a fantastic overtake on Leclerc into turn four. With the Mercedes moving ahead, Leclerc had the Red Bull of Sergio Perez on his rear wing. The Mexican driver kept the pressure on and on lap seven Leclerc locked up his brakes and ran wide in turn 11, allowing Perez to slip through.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track leads the group during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images )

Hamilton’s race pace wasn’t as promising as it might have been; complaints over the team radio revealed he was dealing with hybrid battery issues and a broken race seat. Nevertheless, he passed Alonso on lap 10 just before Sargeant (Williams) stopped briefly off-track. Sargeant soon got the car going again but was now plum last.

The first raft of pit stops took place on lap 12, with Russell, Leclerc, Perez, Hamilton and Piastri all stopping. Perez was fast on fresh tyres and caught up to Russell, passing him two laps later to move into sixth place. Sainz was also driving well and pulled off a daring overtake on Leclerc on lap 17, clearly out to make a name for himself this year.

Verstappen was untroubled out in front, and the race leader stopped on lap 18 for fresh rubber. Further back, Leclerc struggled with balance issues, and the Mercedes of Russell also developed problems with the power unit overheating. That provided Sainz the opportunity to overtake for third place.

It then became quite processional out on track with little action for fans to get excited about. The second round of pit stops began on lap 32 with Russell and Bottas. The Finnish driver had a lengthy delay due to a wheel nut issue, but he was eventually able to rejoin the race in the lurid green Stake F1 car. A few laps later, Perez made his second stop that enabled him to get out in front of Sainz, though he was still some way behind Verstappen, who would set the fastest lap of the race on lap 40.

BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN - MARCH 02: Carlos Sainz of Spain driving (55) the Ferrari SF-24 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 02, 2024 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images )

Six laps later, Russell made a mistake going into turn 11 and ran wide, leaving the door open for Leclerc to slip by in the Ferrari, moving up to fourth. Further back, the two RBs (formerly AlphaTauri) of Daniel Ricciardo and Yuki Tsunoda were involved in some action as the team instructed Tsunoda to switch places and leave Ricciardo through, much to the Japanese driver’s chagrin.

Unhappy at being asked to give up what was already a non-points-finishing place, Tsunoda vented his frustration on the team radio. It seems that the new team boss, Laurent Mekies, has brought some of the questionable decision-making from Ferrari’s strategy department with him to RB. Adding insult to injury, Verstappen lapped both RBs in the Red Bull on his way to the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez rolled home in a distant second place, some 22 seconds behind Verstappen, and Sainz scored an important third place ahead of Leclerc. Fifth was all that Russell could muster in the end, followed by Norris, Hamilton, Piastri, Alonso and a good recovery from Stroll following his spin at the start to finish the race in the last points-scoring position of 10th.

The next round of the 2024 Formula 1 season will take place on March 7 in Saudi Arabia, with the race taking place on Saturday, March 9 due to Ramadan, the Islamic holy month, starting on Sunday, March 10.

Watch the 2024 Bahrain GP highlights

2024 Saudi Arabian GP race report

A slightly altered weekend schedule for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, moved forward by one day to accommodate Ramadan, once more saw action under the floodlights, writes Dave Humphreys. The Christian Horner / Red Bull saga may have continued — and even ramped up — off-track but on circuit it was business as usual for Max Verstappen as he clinched pole position during Friday’s qualifying session.

However, all eyes in qualifying were on young up-and-coming British driver Oliver Bearman, who had a last-minute call-up to replace Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari. The Spanish driver had been feeling under the weather since arriving in Saudi Arabia and was subsequently diagnosed with appendicitis, requiring immediate surgery.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: 7th placed Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and Ferrari looks on in the pits prior to competing in the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Ferrari called upon 18-year-old Bearman, who had been competing in feeder series F2, to step into the second Ferrari from the third practice session. Having spent just an hour with the car, he was thrown into Qualifying, though it didn’t rattle the youngster and he narrowly missed out on making it through to Q3, qualifying a very respectable 11th. 

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) lined up alongside Verstappen (Red Bull) on the front row of the grid, with Perez (Red Bull) in 3rd ahead of Alonso (Aston Martin), who was impressive throughout the weekend. The McLarens of Piastri and Norris made up the third row, with the Mercedes of Russell and Hamilton behind. Tsuoda (RB) and Stroll (Aston Martin) rounded off the top 10.

Verstappen got a clean getaway at the start, with Leclerc following closely into the tight first corner. Perez was all over the Ferrari’s rear, keen to get by. Piastri made no delay in getting past Alonso, while Gasly (Alpine) was forced to retire at the end of the opening lap with suspected gearbox issues.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Fernando Alonso of Spain driving the (14) Aston Martin AMR24 Mercedes on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Perez slipped by Leclerc to 2nd place with the help of DRS on lap 4, but the race was neutralised three laps later when Stroll tapped the wall on the inside of turn one, damaging his suspension and sending him into the tyre wall, resulting in the deployment of the safety car. That triggered a flurry of pit-stop action, with some teams double-stacking cars. Perez narrowly avoided a collision as he left his pit box, which earned him a five-second penalty.

Norris and Hamilton stayed out during the safety car period, leaving the McLaren driver in the lead of the race when action got underway again.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Oscar Piastri of Australia driving the (81) McLaren F1 Team MCL38 on track and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain driving the (44) Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team W15 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Bearman kept his nose clean but raced hard and moved into the top 10 on lap 10m, passing Zhou (Stake F1).

Magnussen (Haas) was also handed a 10-second penalty for causing a collision with Albon (Williams). That was bad news for Magnussen’s race, but he proceeded to defend his position gallantly and held up Tsunoda, Ocon (Alpine), Albon and Sargeant (Williams), creating enough of a gap ahead for his Haas team mate Hulkenberg to pit and retain his points-scoring position.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Nico Hulkenberg of Germany driving the (27) Haas F1 VF-24 Ferrari makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Peter Fox - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Hamilton stopped on lap 37 for fresh rubber, leaving Norris some clear air ahead of his stop one lap later. The McLaren re-emerged between Bearman in the second Ferrari, slowly making his way up the field, and Hamilton’s Mercedes.

Perez was closing the gap to Verstappen at the front, but the Red Bull driver would hold station in 2nd place with a comfortable gap to Leclerc in 3rd. The Ferrari driver did manage to secure the fastest lap before the end, earning another crucial championship point.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 09: Race Winner Max Verstappen of Netherland and Oracle Red Bull Racing, second placed Sergio Perez of Mexico and Oracle Red Bull Racing and third placed Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Ferrari celebrates on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 09, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

Despite the off-track drama, it was very much business as usual for Verstappen as he crossed the line, having led from the start. However, Bearman impressed most with a faultless drive to secure a respectable 7th place in his F1 debut with Ferrari. It remains unclear if Sainz will recover in time for the next round in Melbourne, so we may see the young Brit in action again.

2024 Australian GP race report

As F1 returned “Down Under”, it was a welcome relief that it was the action on-track that generated the most interest, rather than what was happening behind the scenes, writes Dave Humphreys.

The tight circuit nestled within the leafy surrounds of Melbourne’s Albert Park proved to be a challenging one for some of the drivers. Alex Albon (Williams) had an enormous impact against the wall during practice, enough to damage his chassis beyond repair.

Williams, already on the back foot during winter development, didn’t have a spare chassis for Albon and therefore made the controversial and difficult decision to put underperforming Logan Sergeant on the bench for the weekend and give his car to Albon in the hope of him scoring a point or two.

Many saw it as unfair to punish a driver who, through no fault of their own, would have to miss a race, but team principal James Vowles said he made the tough decision in the team’s best interests. Albon lined up a decent 12th on the starting grid, just behind Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), who could manage only 11th after being knocked out of Q2 by Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin).

It was another pole position start for Max Verstappen (Red Bull), but more impressive was Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), returning from an appendectomy that saw him sit out the previous race. The Spanish driver is still on the hunt for a drive next year and is keen to prove his worth. Lining up behind him were Lando Norris (McLaren), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Oscar Piastri (McLaren) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull), who was demoted after receiving a penalty for blocking Nico Hulkenberg (Haas).

A clean getaway from the grid saw Sainz sticking with Verstappen in the opening laps while George Russell (Mercedes) passed Perez to move up a place. Hamilton also moved up a place; otherwise, the pack was holding station. The Ferrari cars had looked quick all weekend at Albert Park and, on the second lap, Sainz exploited the DRS to pass Verstappen and remain in front.

It seemed as if Verstappen didn’t have an answer to Sainz’s speed, and then on lap five smoke began to emerge from the Red Bull’s rear, causing him to slow. A fire on the right rear brake proved to be terminal as the Red Bull returned to the pits, ending Verstappen’s phenomenally impressive reliability run.

Sainz built up a comfortable lead over Norris, with Leclerc following in third. Hamilton, one of the only drivers to start on the soft tyre, pitted on lap eight for hard tyres, with teammate Russell doing the same one lap later. An early pit stop for Leclerc signalled that the Ferrari driver was going for the “undercut” on the McLaren of Norris. The McLaren driver stayed out to counter the offensive before pitting on lap 15.

Race leader Sainz stopped on lap 17 just before the virtual safety car was activated because Hamilton peeled off the circuit with an engine failure. It was a premature end to the race in what Hamilton later described as the worst start to a season in his career. Alonso took advantage of the incident to make a quick pit stop and save a few seconds.

With Sainz in a comfortable lead and Leclerc closing in, Ferrari instructed its drivers to hold position. The team was eyeing a valuable one-two finish and didn’t want to risk more racing between its drivers. In the sole Red Bull, Perez was making up places, passing Russell to regain sixth on lap 21. Albon was now running in 10th and in the points, though there was still lots of racing to be done.

Piastri obliged as team player when asked to switch with Norris as he was proving to be faster and chasing a podium finish. The other Australian driver, Daniel Ricciardo (RB), wasn’t having such a good race and continued to struggle, running last at one point and four seconds adrift of the Alpines. In the other RB, Yuki Tsunoda had a far better race, in ninth.

The leaders’ second round of pit stops began on lap 40 with Piastri, followed by Norris and Sainz one lap later. That temporarily made Leclerc the race leader, but he still had a stop to make himself. A late dive into the pit for Russell on lap 46 suggested he might catch Alonso with fresher tyres, and by the closing stages of the race he had caught right up. Alonso, claiming to have an engine issue, slowed more than expected into turn six, catching Russell out and sending him off the track and spearing into the wall, before ricocheting back onto the circuit.

Further up the field, Sainz crossed the line to complete a masterfully controlled race and take the win ahead of Leclerc. Norris secured third. Piastri earned a solid fourth ahead of Perez and Lance Stroll in the second Aston Martin.

Tsunoda was promoted to seventh after the stewards issued a drive-through penalty to Alonso for causing an incident with Russell, which became a 20-second time penalty.

The two Haas cars finished in the points as a result of Russell retiring, but Albon, who had so much pressure to earn some points, finished just outside them in 11th.

2024 Japanese GP race report

Race fans in the UK once again had to set their alarm clocks for an early start as the latest round of the 2024 F1 season took place at the Suzuka circuit in Japan, writes Dave Humphreys.

Following his surprise retirement at the Australian Grand Prix, current championship leader Max Verstappen (Red Bull) was keen to regain his race-winning ways at Suzuka. Despite securing yet another pole position start, he didn’t have such an easy run of it after a close-run qualifying battle with his teammate Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Lando Norris (McLaren) in third, just ahead of Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) and Oscar Piastri (McLaren).

The Mercedes team continued to struggle with its car performance, resulting in Lewis Hamilton starting in seventh and George Russell in ninth. Making up the rest of the top ten was Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) in eighth and local driver Yuki Tsunoda (RB) in tenth.

Verstappen made a clean getaway at the start, keeping Perez behind, but the race was quickly red-flagged following a collision between Daniel Ricciardo (RB) and Alex Albon (Williams) that sent both cars into the tyre barrier in turn three, ending their races. It was an unfortunate end for both drivers, with more pressure ratcheting up on Ricciardo and the security of this seat at the team, while Williams suffered yet another substantial (and costly) repair.

As the race restart got underway Verstappen once again led the field. Further back Esteban Ocon (Alpine) suspected contact with his teammate Pierre Gasly. Verstappen started to pull out a slight lead, breaking free of the DRS window ahead of Perez.

Sainz was putting pressure on Norris, who had got the best from his tyres already and went on to pit on lap 12. Tyres were proving to be a challenge for others, including Hamilton, and resulted in the team orchestrating a swap of positions between him and Russell. Hamilton’s race didn’t get much better when Norris overtook him on the way into turn two, and soon Sainz would also pass.

Leclerc opted to stay out longer and was splitting the Red Bulls for a period until Perez resumed second place when he passed the Ferrari as it ran wide at the Degner 2 corner. With the Red Bulls managing a comfortable lead, the more exciting action was happening further back in the field, with Nico Hulkenberg (Haas), Tsunoda and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) fighting for the remaining points places.

Williams’ dire weekend continued when Sargeant went into the gravel trap but stopped short of the tyre barrier. He managed to reverse back out onto the track before continuing. Both Ferrari drivers had strong races, with Sainz putting in another impressive performance as he continues his search for a drive in 2025. The Channel 4 commentators in Britain claimed that there was now huge demand for the Spanish star, following his performances so far this year.

Towards the end, Leclerc swapped positions with Sainz as they were on different race strategies and lapping faster.

The action continued right to the end of the race as Russell tussled with Piastri into the final chicane. The McLaren driver was forced off the track to avoid contact but held onto the position. Nevertheless, Russell made the move work at the second attempt, aided by the drag reduction system, which flips open a rear winglet.

It proved to be another relatively easy victory for Verstappen, with Perez securing second ahead of Sainz in third. Given his starting position, Leclerc’s drive to earn fourth represented a good recovery.

Norris and Alonso crossed the line in fifth and sixth, respectively, followed by Russell, Piastri, Hamilton and Tsunoda, who scored the last remaining point, much to the delight of his home crowd. He’d also made two brilliant passes on different laps around the outside at turn six, which is highly unusual and showed the Japanese driver is more than pulling his weight at RB.

2024 Chinese GP race report

After a lengthy break from the calendar, F1 returned to China with a sprint weekend at the Shanghai International Circuit, writes Dave Humphreys.

The return of the Chinese Grand Prix was accompanied by lots of interest in the country, buoyed by the presence of a local driver, Guanyu Zhou (Sauber), competing in front of his home crowd.

Sprint race

They were treated to an exciting qualifying session for the Sprint race, which saw Lando Norris (McLaren) start from pole ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin).

As the lights went out, Norris led the way, but a slightly faster start from Hamilton gave him the better line going into the first corner, and he was able to run Norris wide, sending him off the track and back down the field.

Alonso had a front-row seat for the move and capitalised on it, moving up to second with Max Verstappen (Red Bull) close behind in third, but the Dutch driver was struggling early on with battery issues in his car.

After what was becoming a processional race, Verstappen resolved his car issues with a change of engine mode and began closing in on Alonso.

Behind that was Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), while Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull was keeping ahead of the second Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. Having dropped back, Norris managed to stay ahead of his McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri.

The long back straight in Shanghai and the benefit of the drag reduction system (DRS) meant that on lap eight, Verstappen could comfortably pass Alonso and began closing in on Hamilton.

Verstappen gained an added advantage as the gap diminished when Hamilton ran wide at the hairpin. Now, Verstappen was right behind and, on the next lap, helped with that DRS advantage, he overtook the Mercedes for the lead. Further back, it was a more settled race until the closing laps.

On lap 17, Sainz sent it up the inside of Alonso, pushing him wide, opening the door for Perez to slip by. Alonso regained the position but picked up a puncture in the process. In the frantic action, Leclerc then passed Sainz heading into the hairpin, but the Spanish driver — soon to be out of contract — barged his way back in front, forcing Leclerc off the road.

After having to pit with a puncture from the incident with Sainz, Alonso found he had to retire his Aston Martin due to additional damage.

Things began to settle from then on and, up front, Verstappen cruised to a comfortable victory. Hamilton was able to keep ahead of Perez and earn a very welcome second place. Leclerc, angry with Sainz, finished ahead in fourth as the McLaren pair crossed the line in sixth (Norris) and seventh (Piastri), while Russell in the other Mercedes could only manage eighth. Big cheers went up for local driver Guanyu as he scored a ninth-place finish ahead of Magnussen in the Haas.

Grand Prix

Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix had a predictable front row, with Verstappen on pole and Perez alongside, but a stellar drive from Alonso in qualifying placed him in third place for the start, beside Norris. Despite a great showing in the Sprint race, Hamilton had one of his worst qualifying sessions in years and would start from 18th.

Verstappen led into the first corner, but Alonso pulled off a masterful overtake on Perez around the outside of turn one. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) was running well in sixth, just behind Russell. On lap five, Perez lunged at Alonso to regain the Red Bull one-two. Alonso was overtaken again at the hairpin by Norris and soon after, Leclerc made a successful move on Russell.

Next on Leclerc’s list was Piastri, whom he passed at the hairpin and then, as Alonso pitted, the Ferrari driver found himself in fourth place.

Following the first round of pit stops, Verstappen was back in the lead. The Sauber of Bottas suffered a technical failure that caused a virtual safety car on lap 21, allowing Leclerc an advantageous pit stop.

Marshalls had difficulty removing the Sauber, prompting a full safety car that bunched up the field. As that was happening, Stroll (Aston Martin) ploughed into the back of Ricciardo (RB), ending the Australian driver’s race with a broken floor. Stroll received a 10-second penalty for causing the incident.

As racing resumed, Perez made a move on Leclerc to gain third place, while Hamilton fought his way up into a points-scoring position further back. Alonso’s second pit stop saw him drop to 12th, but he quickly raced his way back up to 7th.

It was an easy win for Verstappen, who was in another class to the rest of the field and seemed to be toying with his car in the final laps. It was another solid podium finish for Norris in second, who must surely be in line for a race win soon.

Perez’s third place was more good news for the Red Bull Racing team, while Ferrari earned another fourth and fifth place with Leclerc and Sainz, respectively. The rest of the top ten included Russell, Alonso, Piastri, Hamilton and Hulkenberg.

2024 Miami GP race report

F1 landed in Miami for the first of three races in the United States this year, writes Dave Humphreys, and it was a weekend to remember for one debut GP winner.

The circuit at Miami may take place in the car park area surrounding the Hard Rock Stadium, home to the Miami Dolphins, but the 19-turn track involves both tight racing and high-speed action. McLaren brought a comprehensive upgrade package, while Ferrari celebrated its 70-year presence in North America by running flashes of blue on its car as a nod to the US importer, Luigi Chinetti, who operated the North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.) with blue and white colour schemes.

Sprint race

The Saturday Sprint race saw Max Verstappen (Red Bull) start from pole, ahead of Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Sergio Perez (Red Bull) and Daniel Ricciardo (RB), who put in a solid performance to start on the second row.

As the lights went out, the run into the first corner saw Perez lose a place, but further back there was more drama as the two Aston Martin drivers, Lance Stroll and Fernando Alonso, came together with Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Lando Norris (McLaren). The safety car was deployed as marshals cleared the debris.

As racing resumed on lap three, the drivers were a bit more cautious, but once the tyres were back up to temperature, Perez began his fight with Ricciardo. A deep lunge under braking on lap five saw the Mexican driver regain his position.

Further back, Hamilton was engaged in a close battle with Kevin Magnussen (Haas), who gave no quarter to the multiple world champion. The Haas matched the Mercedes on performance, requiring Hamilton to dig deep into his book of tactics to get past. Magnussen missed the chicane on lap 12, earning him a penalty and, two laps later, the stewards showed him the black and white flag for driving standards. This ding-dong fight intensified when Hamilton ran wide, trying to out-brake the Haas, opening the door for Yuki Tsunoda (RB) to slip by and gain two positions.

There was a vast train of cars further back, with positions from 11th to 18th all within one second of each other. To add insult to injury, Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane during the safety car period, resulting in the time being added to his race. It was a clean win for Verstappen, though Leclerc wasn’t far behind in second, with Perez in third. Fourth place gave Ricciardo a strong result after a challenging 2024 season to date.

Grand Prix

The race on Sunday once again saw Verstappen start from pole, with the Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz behind and Perez in fourth. The two McLarens of Norris and Oscar Piastri made up the third row, followed by the Mercedes of Russell and Hamilton.

Verstappen got off to a great start but Perez locked up and almost speared into his teammate as he carried straight on, and only just avoided the Ferraris. The melee gave an opportunity to McLaren, with Piastri moving up. Hamilton was once more battling a Haas, this time with Nico Hulkenberg at the wheel, as George Russell (Mercedes) closed in. On lap five, the hard-charging McLaren of Piastri went up the inside of Leclerc to gain second place.

Going through the chicane on lap 22, Verstappen clipped a bollard and sent it into the racing line, which called for a virtual safety car (VSC) period as marshals retrieved it. That VSC wasn’t long enough to give any major pit stop advantages to the leading drivers. However, six laps later, Magnussen tangled with Logan Sargeant, putting the Williams car out of the race and bringing out the safety car once more, gifting Norris an advantageous pit stop. As the field reshuffled, Norris was leading.

Sainz and Piastri were embroiled in a thrilling battle as racing resumed, with each driver giving as good as they got. The two touched, damaging the McLaren’s front wing and requiring a pit stop that effectively ended the Australian’s race.

As the laps ticked down, it became clear that Verstappen, who complained all weekend of not feeling at one with his car, didn’t have an answer for Norris, who put in consistently fast laps in his McLaren. There was intense fighting back in the pack, and a massive lock-up from Albon saw him lose out to Ricciardo, Piastri, Valtteri Bottas (Kick Sauber) and Magnussen.

As the chequered flag came out, it was a richly deserved and long-overdue win for Norris. It confirms his talent and highlights how much the McLaren team has improved this year. But although Verstappen couldn’t catch the Brit and was complaining of poor grip all weekend, it is a sign of the Red Bull driver’s dominance that he still managed to win the sprint race from pole and start the grand prix from pole, too, then secure the second step on the podium in Sunday’s main event.

2024 Emilia-Romagna GP race report

The European leg of the 2024 Formula One season got underway at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, writes Dave Humphreys.

Following a slew of “fly-away” races, the F1 circus touched down in Europe for the first time this season, at Imola, Italy. The old circuit is steeped in history, and infamous as the venue of a GP weekend in 1994 that involved the deaths of Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna in separate incidents. The 30th anniversary of the tragedies was marked by the F1 community, with tributes paid to both men.

Sebastian Vettel hosted a celebration of their lives by gathering the current F1 drivers, along with many from F2 and F3, for a run around the circuit stopping at the Senna memorial to pay their respects.

Then it was business as usual for the current F1 teams and stars. In qualifying, McLaren continued to improve its performance, with Oscar Piastri recording the second-fastest time just behind Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who clinched pole position, though he again wasn’t entirely happy with his car and definitely felt the pressure from rivals as the rest of the field had closed the performance gap.

Lando Norris in the second McLaren was third-fastest ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with George Russell (Mercedes), Yuki Tsunoda (RB), Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Daniel Ricciardo (RB) and Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) making up the top ten, respectively.

However, Piastri incurred a three-place grid penalty for blocking Kevin Magnussen (Haas) in qualifying, which demoted him to fifth for the start of the race. As the lights went out, Verstappen got a clean getaway and led into the first corner, while further back, Hamilton quickly passed Tsunoda and tucked in behind his teammate, Russell.

In an unusually poor weekend for Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard started from the pit lane after a crash in practice and an “off” during qualy, then lagged behind the field in his Aston Martin. He then opted for an early pit stop in the hope of a safety car later in the race, a common occurrence at this circuit.

Alex Albon (Williams) also stopped early for a tyre change but a poorly-attached wheel required him to crawl around the lap and return to the pits. That would subsequently be deemed an unsafe release by the stewards, earning him a 10-second stop-and-go penalty, effectively ending any chance of a successful finish.

Up front, Piastri was charging hard and closing in on Sainz, while Tsunoda managed to pass Hulkenberg in the pit stops. By lap 18, Verstappen was increasing his lead over Norris, though the McLaren driver kept the Red Bull in his sights.

Norris stopped on lap 23 but Ferrari kept Leclerc out, hoping to benefit from the “overcut”. Exiting the pits, Norris came up behind Sergio Perez (Red Bull), and he soon passed the Mexican driver, who was struggling to match his teammate’s pace during the race. Hamilton caught and passed Perez on lap 37.

As Verstappen stopped for tyres on lap 25, Norris set the fastest lap of the race as he tried to close the gap. The hard tyre wasn’t to Norris’s liking, and after ten laps of racing he complained to the team about the performance of the rubber. Leclerc was also now closing the gap to Norris, getting within DRS distance by lap 42 as Norris made his way through traffic.

Despite getting close, Leclerc was unable to make a pass and Norris soon began to stretch his lead again. The McLaren driver had his sights set on catching Verstappen and slowly began reeling in the Dutch driver. Russell made a late pit stop on lap 53 and managed to stay ahead of Perez.

As the laps ticked down, so did the gap between Verstappen and Norris. The Red Bull struggled with its tyres, and the McLaren was looking far quicker. Taking several tenths per lap, it seemed Norris could be on the way to a second successive victory. At the opposite end of the field, Williams retired Albon following a dismal weekend, leaving Alonso to continue in last position.

Norris was giving it everything in the battle for victory but in the end Verstappen was able to just hold onto the lead, crossing the line less than one second ahead of Norris. Leclerc satisfied the home fans by holding onto third ahead of Piastri and Sainz. Hamilton and Russell secured sixth and seventh, while the top ten was rounded up with Perez in eighth, Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) in ninth and Tsunoda in tenth.

The next round takes place in the glamorous location of Monte Carlo on May 24-26.

2024 Monaco GP race report

The Monaco Grand Prix has long been the most glamorous and prestigious race on the F1 calendar, writes Dave Humphreys, and this time a home driver too victory.

No other circuit carries the same mystique and history as Monaco, but it is also one of the least forgiving on the calendar. The ultra-narrow layout lined with Armco barriers leaves no margin for error, and as overtaking is so tricky, solid qualifying is essential.

The Saturday performance for some could have been better, with the Haas duo of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen demoted to the back of the grid following a technical infringement when stewards found the Haas rear wing to be outside of the regulations. That helped some drivers, such as Logan Sargeant in the Williams, who would start from 15th, ahead of Sergio Perez (Red Bull) in 16th, who had a dismal performance and initially qualified in lowly 18th. Both Red Bulls were off the pace all weekend, though Max Verstappen (Red Bull) qualified in sixth, ahead of Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Yuki Tsunoda (RB), Alex Albon (Williams) and Pierre Gasly (Alpine).

While the Red Bulls were at sea around the harbour streets, local driver Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) was on form all weekend and secured pole position despite a strong challenge from Oscar Piastri in his McLaren. Both McLarens were painted in a striking green and yellow colour scheme as a mark of respect to Ayrton Senna. Carlos Sainz in the second Ferrari would line up in third alongside Lando Norris in the other McLaren. Once more this year, George Russell in the Mercedes out-qualified Hamilton and started from fifth.

As the lights went out on Sunday, the field snaked through the first corner and Sainz had the slightest of touches with Piastri’s car. On the run up the hill, the Red Bull of Perez and Magnussen’s Haas came together, spearing the Red Bull into the barrier and collecting the second Haas of Hulkenberg.

This incident would bring out the red flags, but not before Sainz locked up in the run-off area at Casio Square with a front left puncture from his contact with Piastri. Adding to the opening lap mayhem, just before going into the tunnel, Esteban Ocon (Alpine) attempted an overtake on Gasly that spectacularly failed, launching Ocon into the air and ending his race, much to the chagrin of Gasly and the team.

With the race red-flagged, Sainz was given a lifeline as the stewards determined that not all the cars had made their way through the timing zone on the opening lap. Thus, the grid for the restart would be the same as the original, putting the Ferrari driver back in third with a fresh set of tyres.

With 16 cars remaining, the restart was a cleaner getaway, this time with Piastri staying clear of Sainz and Norris behind. The restart allowed teams to change tyre compounds, which significantly impacted the race strategy. Some cars on the hard tyre could theoretically complete the race without stopping. Russell, in fifth, was one of the cars carefully managing tyre wear, which held Verstappen back in sixth.

By lap 23, Leclerc was starting to stretch a narrow lead over Piastri, extending to 1.2 seconds and breaking the DRS gap, though Monaco is one track where DRS is almost irrelevant, such is the difficulty of passing. The front four were now extending the gap to Russell, while further back, a string of cars was building up behind Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) in 12th.

The strategy was playing out like a game of chess, with the leading drivers slowing down to manage any potential pit stop advantage others would have in case a safety car would be deployed. It didn’t make for an exciting viewing experience for fans. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) was one of the few drivers to pit on lap 44 and re-emerged in 11th, thanks to Alonso’s defensive driving. Stroll could now chase down Gasly for the points-earning 10th place, but two laps later, he clipped a barrier, puncturing his rear tyre. He made it back to the pits for fresh tyres, but his chance of a points finish was gone.

Verstappen tried hard to catch and pass Russell, but earlier tyre management meant the Mercedes had enough to up the pace and defend as the race entered the closing stages. Piastri was keeping Leclerc within distance at the front, but there was no way for the McLaren driver to mount a proper attack. With two laps to go, Leclerc had a sufficient buffer that he could take it home without pushing hard.

As the Ferrari driver rounded the final corner the harbour erupted with the sounds of yacht horns and cheers from the grandstands as the local boy finally took victory at his home race, the first time for a Monegasque driver in 93 years. Piastri crossed the line in second, ahead of Sainz in third. Norris brought the other McLaren home in fourth ahead of Russell, Verstappen, Hamilton, Tsunoda, Albon and Gasly.

Next is the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on 7-9 June.

2024 Canadian GP race report

Changeable weather during the Canadian Grand Prix weekend resulted in some thrilling action and a few surprises along the way, writes Dave Humphreys.

Weather played an influential role in the outcome of the 2024 Canadian GP, though it’s clear that Red Bull doesn’t still have the dominant advantage it demonstrated in the season’s early stages. Inclement weather in the run-up to qualifying meant drivers had little experience of the track in the dry, resulting in a shaken-up grid for the race.

Sergio Perez (Red Bull) was one of the early departures in Q1, as was Esteban Ocon (Alpine), due to a carry-over grid-drop penalty for his clash with teammate Pierre Gasly in Monaco. The more significant news was that Ferrari, fresh from a win in Monaco, was nowhere near the pace, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz failing to progress past Q2.

That left Mercedes, rediscovering its form, to challenge the remaining Red Bull of Max Verstappen for pole. Despite a strong showing in the practice sessions, Lewis Hamilton failed to capitalise in Q3, setting only the seventh fastest time. George Russell in the other Mercedes took pole, ahead of Verstappen, while Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri in the McLarens filled the second row. Daniel Ricciardo (RB) qualified in fifth, ahead of Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin), Hamilton, Yuki Tsunoda (RB), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Alex Albon (Williams).

Despite heavy downpours before the race, it got underway with a standing start. Russell narrowly edged ahead of Verstappen in the run down to the first corner, and through the enormous plumes of spray, most of the drivers made it through without incident. Perez had a sideways moment and touched Gasly’s Alpine, causing minor damage.

A surprise was that both Haas cars of Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg started on full wets while the rest of the field was on the intermediate tyre. It was a gamble that paid off in the early stages, with Magnussen ticking off overtakes lap by lap and making his way up to fifth place. As the track began to dry out, there was a conundrum for the strategists: more showers were incoming but were still too far away to make the ‘inters’ last on the drying track.

Ferrari’s poor weekend continued with Leclerc reporting engine issues that were costing him half a second down the straights. With blue skies appearing, Magnussen opted for a quick pit stop but caught his team off-guard, resulting in a longer-than-normal stop and undoing much of the excellent work he had already put in. Many drivers struggled with grip: Hamilton ran wide at Turn 1 as he grappled with Alonso, and Logan Sargeant (Williams) had a spin but recovered.

Russell was managing his lead well despite Verstappen closing the gap down to half a second. The Red Bull driver then also ran wide, leaving Russell with breathing room and putting Norris in a position to harry Verstappen. With the help of DRS, the McLaren of Norris was soon past Verstappen and hunting down Russell. Only one more lap was needed for Norris to perform the same manoeuvre and take the lead.

On lap 25, Sargeant had his second spin of the afternoon, colliding with the wall and blocking part of the track. A yellow flag zone was soon upped to a full safety car, but not before Norris could make the most of a shorter pit stop. Behind him the rest of the field streamed in for fresh tyres, and on the second lap around Norris peeled into the pits for fresh inters, rejoining in third, just ahead of Piastri.

In a bizarre move, Ferrari pitted Leclerc for slicks despite the track being very wet and with more showers forecast. The slow stop included an engine restart that seemed to cure its earlier issues, but by now, Leclerc was running at the back of the field. The hope was that if he could manage the wet laps, when the track dried, he could have an advantage of not needing to stop again. The gamble didn’t pay off, and a few laps later, Leclerc pitted again for intermediate tyres.

By lap 40 a dry line appeared around the racing line, and Gasly opted to be the first to pit for hard slicks. Hamilton was the first of the front runners to pit on lap 44, followed by Piastri one lap later. Russell and Verstappen did the same, leaving Norris out in front, attempting to build an advantage. However, it wasn’t enough, and when the leading McLaren driver pitted, he returned in second, just behind Verstappen and with Russell and Piastri close behind. A four-way fight provided some thrilling action for the spectators, with Russell and Norris swapping places before the Mercedes driver had a big moment in the turn 3/4 chicane, letting Norris through again.

Perez had a spin in Turn 6 and went into the tyre barrier backwards, wrecking his rear wing. Nevertheless, the Mexican driver returned to the pits, hoping to avoid a safety car that would negatively impact Verstappen’s lead. But he was dropping bits of broken carbon fibre on the track, which later earned him a three-place grid penalty for the next round in Spain. It proved pointless anyway as Sainz spun and collected Albon, ending both of their respective races and summoning the safety car back into action.

The Mercedes duo pitted for fresh tyres under the safety car, and with racing getting back underway, Piastri needed help to keep Russell behind. The pair banged wheels in the last corner, allowing Hamilton to get through as Verstappen defended from Norris further ahead. Russell made a cleaner pass in the following laps and began to charge down Hamilton for the final podium place.

With DRS enabled, Russell streamed by on the back straight, but Hamilton wasn’t giving it up easily and, on the final lap, mounted an attempt to regain the position. With less than half a second between them and setting the fastest lap of the race while trying, Hamilton couldn’t pass Russell, who clung to third but will wonder how different the result could have been. Verstappen crossed the line first, followed by Norris. Piastri finished in fifth, ahead of Alonso, Stroll, Ricciardo, Gasly and Ocon.

The next race is back to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Barcelona on 21-23 June.

2024 Spanish GP race report

As the gap between the top four teams closes with each subsequent round, the Spanish Grand Prix delivered close racing and close strategy calls, writes Dave Humphreys.

Over the last few races, Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes have all closed in on Red Bull, leading to Max Verstappen stating: “The era of Red Bull dominance is over”, and that proved correct after a very closely run qualifying for the Spanish GP that saw the first 14 drivers covered by less than one second. It had seemed that Verstappen (Red Bull) would continue his dominance, but Lando Norris (McLaren) set a scintillating lap time to secure pole by two hundredths of a second.

At the start of the race, Norris dived to the right of the track to block Verstappen, but wheelspin hampered the McLaren driver just enough to prevent the move from succeeding. A great start by George Russell (Mercedes) in fourth saw him overtake his teammate Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and take advantage of a slipstream on the long run down to the first corner. As the pack headed into the braking zone, Russell darted out from behind Norris and swept around the outside of him and Verstappen to take the race’s lead.

Further back, Nico Hulkenberg (Haas) was having a good opening lap, making up three places, while Yuki Tsunoda (RB) gained two positions following a poor qualifying performance that saw him start from 17th place. Back at the front, Verstappen was keen to take control of the race and on lap three pulled off a successful overtake on Russell going into the first corner aided by DRS.

Two laps later, the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc touched going into turn one but escaped any race-limiting damage. At the front, Verstappen was edging out a safe lead over Russell, while Norris managed his pace as the team devised the best strategy. The first round of pit stops began on lap 11, with Kevin Magnussen (Haas) being the first to stop, followed by Sergio Perez (Red Bull) a few laps later. A slow stop for Russell on lap 16 saw him re-emerge just ahead of Sainz, losing much of the advantage he had built up. Red Bull pulled out an impressively fast stop for Verstappen on lap 18, with the car stationary for under two seconds.

Hamilton was now in a close fight with Sainz for sixth position. In the run to the first corner, the Mercedes driver dived down the inside, forcing the Ferrari to run slightly wide. There was the slightest of contact, but it was hard, fair racing, and despite Sainz’s protests over team radio, the stewards saw no issue with the move.

Norris was one of the last of the leading cars to pit, doing so on lap 23 and with fresh tyres he was flying in the McLaren. It wasn’t long before Norris reeled in Sainz, passing him before making the pass stick on Hamilton on lap 32, promoting the McLaren driver up to third.

It was a race then determined by strategy and tyre management, which resulted in close racing around the pit stops and as tyres began to lose performance. Norris and Russell diced again before the Mercedes driver had to pit for fresh rubber, leaving Norris to start closing in on Verstappen. Further down the grid, it wasn’t a good day for the Haas team, as following a time penalty for Magnussen due to a false start, Hulkenberg picked up a penalty for speeding in the pit lane. Things were more favourable for the Alpine team as its drivers, Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon, were on track for points finishes. In the other Red Bull, Sergio Perez managed to stay in the top ten but didn’t impact the race much.

As the pit stops had shaken out, Hamilton was once again closing in on a fight with Sainz in the Ferrari, and with a sniff of a podium finish, the Mercedes driver gave it his all. Norris made a late stop for tyres on lap 47 and remained ahead of Russell, leaving him the opportunity to chase down Verstappen for the win. It was a charge that would come too late. Despite the speed of the McLaren, the gap to the leading Red Bull was just too much.

The second McLaren of Oscar Piastri didn’t make much of an appearance during the race and seemed well off the pace of Norris, finishing up in seventh overall. It was also a disappointing weekend for Aston Martin, with Fernando Alonso managing only 12th, two places ahead of Lance Stroll in the second Aston. There was still plenty of action behind, with Hamilton pulling off a fantastic overtake on his teammate to clinch third place for this first podium finish since Mexico last year. Leclerc also passed his teammate to claim fifth, just behind Russell.

The next race takes place at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, on 28-30 June.

2024 Austrian GP race report

Red Bull’s dominance appeared to be diminishing as it arrived at its home in Austria, the middle round of a hectic triple-header series of races, writes Dave Humphreys.

The 2024 season is proving to be relentless. The teams arrived at the Red Bull Ring in Austria just one week after the Spanish Grand Prix and faced the added pressure of it being a Sprint weekend.

Max Verstappen (Red Bull) got away cleanly from pole position for the Sprint Race and pulled out a short lead from the duelling McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri. Further back, Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), who is yet to announce his plans for a drive next season, continued to drive impressively well, gaining places on the opening lap. Norris hunted down Verstappen and, on lap five, dove down the inside at turn three to emerge in the lead, but Verstappen fought back at the next corner. Piastri seized the opportunity to slip past Norris but couldn’t manage to keep Verstappen in the DRS window.

Further back, George Russell (Mercedes) was fighting back against Sainz, claiming fourth position from the Spanish driver. As the laps ticked down, Norris appeared to be mounting a challenge on Piastri, but that soon settled down, and the duo focused on securing their respective podium places rather than risking an inter-team battle. It was a comfortable victory in the end for Verstappen, but McLaren’s pace would give the Red Bull team something to think about for the Grand Prix on Sunday.

It was another pole position start for Verstappen for the race proper, but Norris joined him on the front row so the run-up to the first corner would be tense. Verstappen got away more cleanly as the lights went out, and most of the field made it through unscathed. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) found himself pinched between Piastri and Sergio Perez (Red Bull), resulting in some front wing damage requiring a pit stop at the end of lap one that saw him plummet to the back of the grid. Yuki Tsunoda (RB) also made a good start, gaining a position on Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin). Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) was right up on the back of Russell in the other Mercedes, and on lap three, Hamilton dived up the inside, going into turn three, only for Russell to reclaim the place on the run to the next corner thanks to some DRS advantage.

Meanwhile Piastri, who had been driving well all weekend, made a nice pass on Perez around the outside of turn six. The first pit stops began on lap 11, with Kevin Magnussen (Haas) being the first to stop, followed by Daniel Ricciardo (RB) and the other Haas of Nico Hulkenberg.

The race leader, Verstappen, stayed out until lap 24 before making his first visit to the pits for fresh tyres, as did Norris. As Hamilton was coming in for his pit stop, he oversteered on pit entry and placed one wheel outside of the white line, earning him a five-second time penalty. He wasn’t the only driver to receive a penalty; Perez was caught speeding in the pit lane.

Verstappen was doing a solid job commanding the race lead, but on lap 41, he began complaining on team radio about the tyres dropping off performance. There was more action further back as the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly wrestled for position, undoubtedly adding to the stress levels of team management. Gasly eventually got by without incident, adding a simple “Ciao” over team radio.

The action at the front was now heating up and as Verstappen made another pit stop, again shadowed by Norris, a slow right rear wheel change ate into the Red Bull driver’s advantage. He returned to the track ahead of Norris, but the McLaren driver was now much closer and working on getting into the DRS window.

It was clear that turn three was where Norris saw his best opportunity to try the overtake on Verstappen and made one lunge up the inside only to run wide, requiring him to give the place back and regroup. As the laps ticked down, Norris again tried the overtake into turn three, this time using the racing line on the outside of the corner. Verstappen drifted to the left in the braking zone and the two cars touched, immediately puncturing the front right tyre of the McLaren and rear right of the Red Bull.

This incident gave Russell the race lead as the two other drivers limped back to the pits. Verstappen managed to get new tyres and continue but the damage to the McLaren proved too much, and Norris was forced to retire. Piastri was now up into second position, with Sainz in third and only a handful of laps remaining. Russell crossed the line to take his second victory in F1, and one that he wasn’t expecting.

The collision also brought some of the runners lower down the field into the points-scoring places, but unlucky Leclerc’s weekend didn’t get much better as he finished in 11th. Hamilton was just off the podium in fourth, one place ahead of the recovering Verstappen. It was also a good day for the Haas team, with Hulkenberg finishing sixth and Magnussen in eighth, just behind the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez.

The next race takes place at Silverstone in the UK on 5-7 July.

Are there F1 Sprint races in 2024?

Sprint races made their debut during the 2021 season and are set to continue in 2024. They are meant to feature circuits that encourage overtaking and thus result in close and entertaining action for fans.

Sprint races will take place in 2024 at the following grands prix:

  • Chinese GP, April 19-21
  • Miami GP, May 3-5
  • Austrian GP, June 28-30
  • United States GP, October 18-20
  • Brazilian GP, November 1-3
  • Qatar GP, November 29 – December 1

What is the format for an F1 Sprint race weekend?

The starting grid for the sprint race on Saturday used to be determined on Friday afternoon with the weekend’s traditional three-session knockout qualifying session. The final order from the sprint race was then the grid for Sunday’s GP. However, in 2023 things were different, and it’s changed again for 2024.

At 62 miles long, sprint races are around two thirds shorter than a normal 190-mile grand prix, and last around 30 minutes. Though the rules are almost the same as for a GP, drivers do not have to pit for tyres during a sprint (though pit stops are not banned).

Importantly, in 2023 the sprint race was made an isolated event, with its own qualifying session, and a separate qualifying for Sunday’s GP. That’s a change from the debut format, which saw the GP grid determined by the result of the sprint. It was modified to try to encourage drivers to be a bit less cautious in the sprint race, knowing that they would still start the GP from the grid spot for which they qualified, even if they have a disaster in the sprint race and finish near the back of the field (or crash out).

However, in 2024 the schedule was changed to move sprint qualifying from Saturday to the Friday afternoon, replacing the second free practice session of a regular weekend. The sprint race now takes place on Saturday morning, replacing FP3, before the qualifying session for the grand prix. This gives teams less practice time, and less time for prep/analysis. Basically, it’s more frenetic.

While drivers have a second bite at the cherry in the GP, even if the sprint race goes badly, penalties are carried over from the sprint so bad behaviour on or off-track can result in being pushed down the order for the start of the race on Sunday. What’s more, any damage sustained means the engineers have their work cut out to get the car ready again for the GP.

The top eight drivers receive points for the sprint race: eight points for the win, seven for second, etc.

The sprint qualifying session is in three parts, as with the GP qualifying, but with sessions lasting 12, 10 and eight minutes respectively, giving teams less time to get their quick lap in.

Making it trickier, for 2023 it was determined that drivers can only use medium tyres in the first two sessions, and softs in the final session, and could only use a single new set of tyres per session.

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