SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX NOTEBOOK: Lewis Hamilton arrives FOUR hours early to watch F1 Academy race… while Max Verstappen games with other Twitch streamers after 3am on morning of dominant win

Max Verstappen continued Red Bull’s run of domination with victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Dutchman led a Red Bull 1-2 from Sergio Perez and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc – whose rookie team-mate Oliver Bearman, 18, finished a brilliant seventh on his Formula One debut.

Carlos Sainz missed the race for Ferrari due to undergoing emergency surgery for appendicitis.

There were some big names in attendance across the weekend, while drivers had some very different ways of preparing for the second race of the season.

Mail Sport’s Aadam Patel runs you through what you might have missed.

Max Verstappen secured a dominant victory in Saturday's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen secured a dominant victory in Saturday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Anthony Joshua, Jose Mourinho, Karim Benzema, Lord Coe and Gianluigi Buffon were just a few of the famous sporting names on the grid pre-race.

Interestingly, Mourinho was in Jeddah as a guest of the local organisers, who also invited him to Joshua’s fight on Friday night in Riyadh. Mourinho, 60, recently said he rejected a huge offer from Saudi Arabia while he was managing Roma but it would come as little surprise if his next role in management is in the Middle East.

As for Joshua, he hardly looked like someone who was involved in a heavyweight bout the night before after his second-round knockout of Francis Ngannou.

Anthony Joshua was among the big names in attendance for Saturday's race in Jeddah

Anthony Joshua was among the big names in attendance for Saturday’s race in Jeddah

Jose Mourinho enjoys a conversation with Gianluigi Buffon in the paddock prior to the race

Jose Mourinho enjoys a conversation with Gianluigi Buffon in the paddock prior to the race

A word for Lewis Hamilton who may not have won a Grand Prix since 2021, but ensured that he was the only F1 driver at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit over four hours before the race to watch France’s Doriane Pin win the F1 Academy race.

Pin, 20, drives for Prema Racing, who are supported by Mercedes. Pin then spent the evening in the Mercedes garage watching the Grand Prix.

The F1 Academy is an all-female racing series and takes place across seven rounds in 2024, with the next leg taking place in Miami in May.

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Doriane Pin for her win in the F1 Academy race

Lewis Hamilton congratulates Doriane Pin for her win in the F1 Academy race

Pin won the F1 Academy race and then watched the Formula One Grand Prix from the Mercedes garage

Pin won the F1 Academy race and then watched the Formula One Grand Prix from the Mercedes garage

IF you want to know how a three-time World Champion prepares for race day then take a leaf out of Max Verstappen’s book.

The 26-year-old was gaming with other live streamers on Twitch shortly after 3am local time in Saudi Arabia in the early hours of Saturday morning.

With the race in Jeddah not starting until 8pm, he still had enough time to sleep. Perhaps he just wanted more competition after breezing through qualifying in what looks like another year where the Dutchman will reign supreme.

His 1:27.472 lap in qualifying had the fastest average lap speed (157.886 mph) at any circuit other than Monza since Nigel Mansell took pole at the 1990 British Grand Prix. And with victory here, he made it nine race wins in a row.

Max Verstappen was on Twitch in the early hours of Saturday morning - hours before leading a dominant 1-2 victory for Red Bull

Max Verstappen was on Twitch in the early hours of Saturday morning – hours before leading a dominant 1-2 victory for Red Bull

Flying with appendicitis can be life-threatening so it was good to see Carlos Sainz back in the paddock after successfully undergoing surgery in Jeddah.

The Ferrari driver posted a picture of him lying in bed, with his father – legendary rally driver Carlos Sainz Snr – on the phone with his right hand on his head.

Next to the photo was one of Sainz Snr after he had surgery for appendicitis, with his father doing the same pose as he did after his son’s operation. The Spaniard captioned the photos: ‘Sainz 2-0 appendicitis.’

Carlos Sainz posted a picture of him and his legendary father after undergoing surgery

Carlos Sainz posted a picture of him and his legendary father after undergoing surgery

As soon as Carlos Sainz was ruled out of the Saudi Arabian GP, the organisers worked swiftly to remove his pictures and branding in the pitlane and in the Ferrari garage with new signage showing Oliver Bearman and his name in Arabic calligraphy sorted within hours.

Knowing the way that the Saudis have splashed the cash on sport in recent years, it would not have been a surprise had the same efforts been made around the 6.2KM circuit but thankfully, common sense prevailed and the Sainz signage at other areas around the Jeddah Corniche Circuit were left untouched.

Saudi GP organisers made quick work on replacing Sainz's branding from the pitlane, as Oliver Bearman (pictured) stepped up in his place

Saudi GP organisers made quick work on replacing Sainz’s branding from the pitlane, as Oliver Bearman (pictured) stepped up in his place

While Oliver Bearman was fulfilling every boyhood dream by driving for Ferrari, his younger brother Thomas was karting at the RMC Winter Cup in Campillos in Spain and is also known to be an exciting talent. Their father, David Bearman looked a bag of nerves during qualifying and throughout the race in Jeddah but his smile afterwards didn’t half tell the story as his eldest boy made history.

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