F1: Charles Leclerc earns first podium of 2024 in Saudi Arabia

charles leclerc saudi arabia 2024

A week on from a disappointing race in Bahrain for Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc, the second round of the 2024 Formula 1 World Championship in Saudi Arabia saw the Scuderia Ferrari racer obtain his first podium of the year as well as extra points for taking the fastest lap. 

Leclerc was back on the front row for the race on Saturday 9th March in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but he was only able to hold his position until Lap 3, when Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez surged past to take the Monegasque’s second place.  

After pitting – along with most of the grid following Lance Stroll’s crash into the barriers during Lap 7 – Leclerc found himself in fifth and it would take until Lap 15 before he could overtake future teammate Lewis Hamilton and Lap 21 to regain his third place from Lando Norris.  

See more: F1: Lewis Hamilton will join Charles Leclerc at Ferrari in 2025

The order was set then: Red Bulls Max Verstappen and Pérez securing yet another P1 and P2, and Leclerc earning his first podium of 2024. The Monaco-born driver also picked up some extra points by getting the fastest lap time during his final sprint around the Jeddah Circuit. 

Charles Leclerc earned extra points for himself and his team by driving the fastest lap on the Jeddah Circuit in Saudi Arabia. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Leclerc now sits third in the Driver Standings, with 28 points to Pérez’s 36 and Verstappen’s 51.  

“We maximised our potential today and couldn’t have done better than this,” said Leclerc. “We struggled a bit on the Mediums, the Hards were tricky at first but improved throughout the stint and I was able to set the fastest lap on them with a bit of help from DRS. All in all, I felt good in the car.” 

18-year-old Ollie Bearman, who had claimed pole position during the Formula 2 racing the previous day, was called up as Ferrari’s reserve driver and asked to stand in for an unfortunate Carlos Sainz, who underwent surgery for appendicitis while out in Saudi Arabia.  

The rookie is the youngest driver to ever make his debut in Formula 1 at the wheel of a Ferrari and follows in Leclerc’s footsteps as a product of the Scuderia Ferrari Academy.  

Called up a day before the Grand Prix, reserve driver and Formula 1 rookie Ollie Bearman achieved an impressive P7. Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre

Bearman ultimately took seventh in the desert, adding some important points to the Constructor Standings’ rankings for the Maranello marque. Ferrari maintain a strong second spot, with 49 points. Ahead is Red Bull on 87 while behind is McLaren with 28.  

“Ollie did an exceptional job this weekend,” said Leclerc. “To get into a Formula 1 car starting from FP3 when you don’t know the car and the track is one of the most challenging of the season, it is impressive to see someone get up to speed so quickly. It was super nice to see him so happy and excited all weekend and he’s done a great job.” 

The grid will now enjoy a few weeks’ break before the next Grand Prix on the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday 24th March.  

Read related:

F1: Charles Leclerc takes fourth at a frustrating opening race in Bahrain


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Photo credit: Scuderia Ferrari Media Centre