‘It’s 88 missed podiums!’ Max Verstappen jokes after earning landmark 100th top three finish with victory at Saudi Arabian GP

CNNMax Verstappen recorded his 100th career podium finish in just 187 races with victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday but, ever the perfectionist, the Dutchman first pointed to the grands prix he’s finished outside of the top three.

“It’s 88 missed podiums!” he joked when asked by a reporter about his record in 188 career races, though this was only Verstappen’s 187th. “Of course, very happy with that, but I’m not really a guy looking at the stats, so I’m just happy to hit 100.

“But I want to of course continue, and just focus race by race on achieving the best possible result all the time.”

It was another weekend of plain sailing for Verstappen, who cruised to victory in Jeddah more than 13 seconds ahead of teammate Sergio Pérez, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finishing third.

Verstappen has now comfortably won the first two races of the 2024 season – with Pérez completing a Red Bull one-two in both – and there appears to be no end to his domination in sight.

The 26-year-old has now won nine races in a row, a run stretching back to the Japanese Grand Prix in September and already looks a safe bet to win a fourth straight F1 world championship.

“I think overall of course a fantastic weekend for the whole team but also from my side, I felt really good with the car, and also basically was the same in the race,” Verstappen added.

The tranquillity of Verstappen and Red Bull’s performances on the track so far this season are in contrast to the controversy that has shrouded the team at the start of this season.

On Friday, Red Bull suspended the female employee who accused F1 team principal Christian Horner of inappropriate behavior, according to multiple reports.

Red Bull launched an independent investigation in February after Horner was accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior towards a member of the racing team, who has not been identified.

Red Bull launched an independent investigation in February after Horner was accused of engaging in inappropriate behavior towards a member of the racing team, who has not been identified.

Horner was cleared of wrongdoing last week and later reiterated that he denied the allegations after alleged leaked messages were distributed to members of the F1 community in a Google Drive. CNN has been unable to corroborate their authenticity and Red Bull said it would be “inappropriate” to comment on the matter.


Elsewhere on the grid, there was a wonderful seventh-place finish for Ferrari teenager Oliver Bearman as the 18-year-old made his F1 debut in place of Carlos Sainz, who was last week diagnosed with appendicitis.

When asked how he was feeling after his debut, the British youngster replied: “Destroyed.”

“Physically it was a really difficult race,” he added. “Especially in the end, when I had the two guys on soft behind me, I had to basically push flat out and it was a mentally difficult race as expected, and physically I was struggling too, but great fun out there.

“I think I put in a good showing for myself, which is the main thing right? It’s difficult circumstances, not a lot of laps on track, but I think I maximized everything today. I felt like I was a bit quicker than [Fernando] Alonso and [George] Russell in front, but not enough to catch, the gap was pretty big.

“I think especially my lower back and my neck, it’s hurting. These seats take a bit of fine-tuning, and as this is the first race, we didn’t really have time to focus on that. Not the most comfortable but I’m happy that we finished quickly. It was good motivation to finish the race quicker!”

There was a fourth-place finish for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, with the experienced Fernando Alonso taking fifth for Aston Martin and George Russell in P6 for Mercedes.

Piastri’s teammate Lando Norris finished eighth, while Lewis Hamilton finished ninth. Haas driver Niko Hulkenberg completed the points in 10th place.