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today is Mar 24, 2023

In the round-up: Lewis Hamilton expressed relief the rest of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix passed without serious incident, following Friday’s missile attack near the circuit.

In brief

Hamilton: “I just want to go home”

Following a stressful and worrying Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where drivers stayed late into the night at the circuit on Friday night debating whether the event should go ahead, Hamilton said he was pleased to move on after finishing a disappointing 10th on Sunday.

“I’m so happy the weekend is done,” said the Mercedes driver. “I’m also just so happy that everyone’s safe, and just looking forward to getting out.”

Hamilton refused to be drawn on whether the race should go ahead next year, saying that for now: “I just want to go home.”

AlphaTauri reliability issues “very difficult” after successful test

After managing to finish eighth at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, despite being in extreme pain, Pierre Gasly said AlphaTauri’s recent reliability problems were a surprise to the team after relatively smooth testing.

“It’s been, reliability-wise, a very difficult two first weekends,” said Gasly. “The testing went so well, we were super-confident. We lost some points in Bahrain on my side and then now, today, Yuki [Tsunoda] didn’t qualify and he didn’t even take the start.

“So as a team, obviously it’s quite painful to see that. But I’m confident within the team to find a solution. We’ve been very reliable last year and the past few years, but it’s been quite tough for these first two weekends.”

Daruvala surprised by podium after anticipating safety cars

Formula 2 ran its first ever session around Jeddah Corniche Circuit without any safety car or red flag periods during Sunday’s feature race. As most prior sessions had been heavily disrupted by periods of stoppage or neutralised racing, third-place driver Jehan Daruvala said he was surprised to have been able to take to the podium from starting 14th without any.

“No, honestly I didn’t think so,” Daruvala said when asked if he’d believed the podium was possible without disruptions. “There were a lot of quick cars in front, so I thought I can just try to move forward as fast I can.

“We thought there were going to be a lot of crashes and safety cars, so [the plan was] to survive to the end,” Daruvala continued. “There was literally none so it makes it even more satisfying that in a race without any incidents and safety cars, I still managed to come from 14th to third so definitely a lot of positives to take and we can build on from here.”

Formula 2 drivers penalised for two unsafe releases, gaining an advantage off-track

Liam Lawson and Clement Novalak have been penalised after the feature race for unsafe releases, being issued fines to be paid by their respective teams. Carlin racked up a £833 (€1000) bill for failing to correctly attach all of Lawson’s wheels before he left the pit box, being forced to stop at the end of the pit lane and retire from the race. MP Motorsport received a fine of £416 (€500) for releasing Novalak into the path of Frederik Vesti as cars went out to the grid before the race.

Ralph Boschung was given a post-race five-second time penalty and one penalty point on his license for cutting the corner at turn two and gaining a lasting advantage, though he kept his 15th-place finish.

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:

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Motor racing links of interest:

DeFrancesco learns from Texas error but vows to stay aggressive, use haters ‘as fuel’ (NBC Sports)

DeFrancesco: 'I worked my ass off to make this happen, from a physical side, from a mental standpoint, anything that could get me better. That’s all I’m focused on right now.'

The reason for AGP crowd cap (Auto Action)

However, the event may not break the record attendance figure of 401,000 as it is capping the crowd this year, but why? Westacott has said that is down to a shortage of labour, and in a bid to make it the best experience for everyone at the venue, they don’t want to spread the staff too thinly, hence the capping of crowd numbers.

'Others know that we're really quick' asserts Doohan after a frustrating weekend in Jeddah (Formula 2)

The Alpine junior is technically the only driver to have qualified in the top three in both of the first two rounds, but he’s yet to have a podium to show for his efforts, having been taken out of contention by a collision with Théo Pourchaire in the Sakhir Feature Race. Disqualification from Jeddah qualifying then put him on the back foot for both races this weekend.

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