Formula 1 – Saudi Arabia Qualifying – Follow all the build-up and live updates as embattled Christian Horner leads Red Bull team looking to recreate their Bahrain form with Ferrari’s Ollie Bearman, 18, becoming Britain’s youngest driver in history

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Follow all the action with lap times and updates from qualifying in Saudi Arabia as controversial Christian Horner leads the Red Bull team ahead of the second race of the season.

It might have been easier for Christian Hoorner to play the ‘leave my family alone’ card if he hadn’t paraded hand in hand with his wife Geri through the Bahrain paddock last week for the whole world and its photographers to witnesswrites JONATHAN MCEVOY.

This whole sordid affair It has been an unedifying spectacle for anyone who stood close to observe, just as it has been riveting for those who absorbed it vicariously through newsprint, with a story after weeks of dizzying revelation.

The latest twist came on Thursday when the woman in the eye of the storm, an unnamed female colleague of Horner’s at Red Bull, was suspended from her job at the Milton Keynes factory, albeit on full pay…

Formula 1 Saudi Arabia Qualifying Follow all the

Ready player Leclerc

The Ferrari was sent slaloming yesterday by unwanted floating plastic bags on the track. I hope that the drivers will not face any more obstacles on the Corniche this afternoon, with higher points to avoid.

Horner about possible reputational damage for Red Bull

Horner took his now permanent place behind a plant pot in the paddock ahead of the final practice session, after sharing his thoughts last night about the possibility of his team suffering reputational damage as a result of the leak of the alleged texts. -research.

The team boss made these comments before Honda’s statement, but here’s what he had to say:

It is clear that a lot of attention has been paid to this. But one must go back to the basis of a complaint. It was fully investigated and it was rejected. And we go from there.

I think an awful lot has been made of it. Clearly, there has been great interest in different elements of the media for a variety of reasons. I think it is now time to look ahead and draw a line under it. We’re here to race.

We are here as a Formula 1 team and the time is now to focus on what is happening on the track, on the performance of the cars and the drivers and where the spotlight should be during a Grand Prix weekend.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 08: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on in the Paddock ahead of the final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 8, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi -Arabia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 08: Oracle Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner looks on in the Paddock ahead of the final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 8, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi -Arabia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

A reminder of today’s timing

Friday is the new Saturday for Saudi Arabia’s adjusted schedule, with the race moved a day earlier as Sunday marks the start of Ramadan.

That means the final practice session and qualifying before the Grand Prix will take place today, with the first taking place at 1.30pm GMT.

Qualifying starts hours later at 5 p.m. and we will know our starting grid at 6 p.m. – barring any penalty complications.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 8: Charles Leclerc of Monaco and Scuderia Ferrari walk in the paddock during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 8, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)
JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 08: Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes walk in the Paddock prior to the final practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 8, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Japanese engine manufacturer will supply the two Red Bull Racing teams with power units until their contracts expire at the end of the season – and they want answers.

You can read more about the thoughts of Red Bull’s partners about the turbulence at the manufacturer below.

1709901506 879 Formula 1 Saudi Arabia Qualifying Follow all the

Alonso finished fastest in the peloton on Thursday

The former world champion set a lap time of 1:28.827 in the second free practice session, 0.23 seconds faster than his nearest rival, George Russell of Mercedes.

Verstappen, who drove fastest in the first session of the day, had to settle for the third fastest time at the last minute. But what can last week’s race winner accomplish today?

…and who exactly is Oliver Bearman?

Good question. The Ferrari reserve driver joined the Scuderia’s Driver Academy in 2021 and got behind the wheel of one of their Formula 1 cars for the first time in a private test in October 2023.

Bearman currently drives for Prema Racing in Formula 2 and has previously featured for the Italian constructors during free practice at the 2023 Mexican Grand Prix and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Last weekend Bearman finished 15th in the standings in Sakhir – today he will be fighting for a chance at the front row.

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 07: Oliver Bearman of Great Britain and PREMA Racing (3) prepares to drive in the garage ahead of practice for Round 2 Jeddah of the Formula 2 Championship at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on 7 March 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula Motorsport Limited via Getty Images)

There is no shortage of surprises in the Formula 1 circus and this morning the news is that Sainz has fallen ill and his shoes will be filled by an 18-year-old British newcomer.

Mail Sport’s JONATHAN MCEVOY has the full report below.

1709901513 776 Formula 1 Saudi Arabia Qualifying Follow all the

Good afternoon!

Hello and welcome to Mail Sport’s live coverage of Friday’s final practice session and qualifying ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Things have been far from quiet since the start of the season last weekend – to say the least – but in our top breaking news spot, away from the roiling storm engulfing Red Bull, Carlos Sainz is officially absent for the rest of our time in Jeddah after suffering from appendicitis.

More news about this to come…

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – MARCH 8: Orcale Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner arrives in the paddock ahead of qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 8, 2024 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.  (Photo by Kym Illman/Getty Images)
Formula 1 F1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 8, 2024 Mercedes' George Russell before practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
Formula 1 F1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 8, 2024 Red Bull's Max Verstappen poses for selfies with spectators before practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed