18 drivers lined up on the starting grid for the second Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but only 13 were able to make it to the chequered flag. Not good!
Equalling the lowest number of finishers last season in Hungary (remember that chaotic first corner pile-up), it got us thinking – why did so few cars fail to finish the full 50-lap race?
Mick Schumacher wasn’t involved in any of Sunday’s action after suffering a 33G crash in Qualifying, smashing into the concrete wall on the exit of Turn 10. Wisely, his team decided to withdraw him from the race despite the Haas driver saying he felt hit enough to compete.
Considering the amount of damage done to his VF-22, which wouldn’t have been an easy fix, they opted to save their limited spare parts for the Australian Grand Prix in a fortnight’s time.
He wasn’t the only one to miss out, as Yuki Tsunoda’s weekend was ruined by mechanical problems . A suspected water system issue forced him into an early exit from Qualifying, despite looking to have the pace for a potential top 10 start.
Relegated to P19, the Japanese driver didn’t even get to do the formation lap, stopping on his way to the grid with a suspected drivetrain issue. Poor Yuki!
ALONSO, RICCIARDO BOTTAS
They say good things come in threes and evidently so do bad things, as Fernando Alonso, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas all DNF’d within two laps of each other.
Having enjoyed an exciting battle with his teammate earlier in the race and having just passed Kevin Magnussen for seventh, Alonso found himself limping back to the pits.
He reported a sudden loss of power over the radio and was told to “cool the car”, but the Alpine couldn’t quite make it all the way back and pulled up along the pit entry.
Misery does love company as metres behind the two-time champion, Ricciardo’s McLaren had ground to a halt a lap earlier and brought out the Virtual Safety Car.
Neither team has yet to reveal the cause of the retirements and Alonso seemed puzzled by what happened but Ricciardo suspects he may have had a driveshaft issue. Although, as the Aussie put it, he’s no mechanic.
Overshadowed by the two sudden retirements, Alfa Romeo had been on the radio to call Bottas into the pits with a cooling issue. The Finn revealed that his engine temperature kept rising and the team didn’t want to risk losing the engine.
Williams were technically the only team to have a double DNF, even though Alex Albon was classified in P14 for completing 90% of the race.
Nicholas Latifi’s mechanics had faced a race against time to rebuild his car following a massive crash in Q1. Then whilst trailing down in P18, the Canadian smashed his FW44 into the barriers at the final corner on Lap 16, putting it down to the rear end of his “unpredictable” Williams’ letting go.
Three laps remaining and his teammate joined him in retirement, as Albon collided with Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll during a risky move up the inside of Turn 1. The resulting puncture forced him to park his car down in the run-off area and has earned him a three-place grid drop for the next race.
Teams won’t be pleased to be worrying about mechanical failures and crash damage so early in the season considering the $140 million cost cap in play.
Which team do you think is most concerned about reliability after Jeddah? Let us know in the comments below.