As more than 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide prepare for the holy month of Ramadan, the hours of fasting this year will range from 10 to 18 hours depending on the geographical location of the person. The differences in fasting hours are primarily due to variations in the length of the day and night caused by the Earth’s tilt and the position of the sun.
In countries located closer to the equator, the fasting hours tend to be shorter, while those located further away, particularly in northern and southern latitudes, experience longer fasting periods. Depending on the time of year, the fasting period can exceed 20 hours.
In some areas including in Greenland and Alaska, where the sun never sets, Islamic scholars recommend Muslims to follow the fasting hours of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. They have long agreed upon the system since Saudi Arabia is home to the Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam.
The average fasting hours worldwide usually fall between 14 to 15 hours. In Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, Muslims will fast up to 14 hours per day throughout the holy month. The average fasting hours for countries in the Gulf and wider Middle East fall between 13 to 15 hours on average. These include Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Palestine.
Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is set to begin on March 23, and involves refraining from food and drink, and engaging in practices that improve one’s faith, patience, and sense of community.
Ramadan 2023: How does fasting during the holy month affect your mental health?
Max Verstappen's elimination from qualifying left many wondering if he could win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix starting from the 15th position. While he almost did, his Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez won his second consecutive pole and fifth Formula 1 victory with ease. Verstappen's calm rise to second place displayed Red Bull's dominance in the competition.
Despite a brilliant drive, including clever utilization of strong DRS to keep Perez in range, Fernando Alonso was not in a position to fight for first place. Lance Stroll's retirement triggered a needless safety car intervention which allowed Verstappen to work his way through the pack through safe retirement. While Alonso drove a great race, his team's error initially stripped him of his 100th F1 podium.
Lewis Hamilton continues to underperform, despite a different tire strategy, causing speculations about his future in Formula 1. Starting from seventh, Hamilton moved up to sixth but finished fourth after finishing six seconds behind George Russell. While Mercedes has some work to do to deliver a car able to fight Alfson Martin and Red Bulls, it's interesting to see how Hamilton will respond in the next few races.
Verstappen's last-gasp fastest lap kept him at the top of the standings. He almost won the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but Perez kept him at a distance throughout the race.
Fernando Alonso's third-place finish could not mask the errors committed by Aston Martin during the race. Initially stripped of his 100th F1 podium due to an error by Aston Crew, Alonso was later given back his podium due to a change in the decision by the FIA. Russell outraced Hamilton despite running on different tire strategies. While it's shameful for the FIA to have controlled the competition in such a manner, it's interesting to see how Hamilton will respond to the situation.
The safety car was instrumental in Ferrari's Jeddah pain. Leclerc, who started from the 12th position, moved up to eighth, but lost his position to Hamilton at the restart. While Alpine seems to be the fifth quickest team, Ferrari struggles with rejuvenation.
Kevin Magnussen used all of his experience to snatch a valuable point for Haas after an entertaining battle for tenth. Magnussen made a couple of botched attempts but eventually nailed the AlphaTauri at Turn One.
Charles Leclerc may have denied rumours of a straight swap with Mercedes, but doesn’t mean he’s not shopping around after a lacklustre Saudi Arabian Grand Prix left him 38 points off the pace in the title race.
But perhaps more importantly it was a race in which one radio message after another highlighted the Monégasque driver’s growing discontent.
It seems unimaginable to muse that after last year’s gains, Leclerc winning three races after two seasons without a single P1, the driver’s chances of fighting for this year’s World title could be over, and we’ve only had two races.
And it’s all come crashing down in a vicious combination of an unreliable car that is also “quite slow”.
Now you could argue that Red Bull’s phenomenal pace with their RB19 is making the Ferrari look slow, but it’s not just that as Aston Martin were ahead for the second race in a row, and on Sunday the SF-23, said to be a car that embraces straight-line speed, also lost out to Mercedes.
Leclerc’s frustrations with Ferrari grew with each passing lap.
Lining up on the grid down in 12th place as he already had his first engine penalties of the season, Leclerc needing to take a third Control Electronics after two failures in Bahrain, the driver started on the soft tyres. But looking around him and seeing a field of mediums, he questioned his race engineer Xavier Marcos Padros.
Leclerc: “So we are the only car on soft?” Xavi: “Only Norris at the back, P19.”
One cannot blame him for asking what’s what given Ferrari’s numerous strategy blunders in 2022, blunders that often included putting him on the wrong compound, but in this case it turned out to be a good call with the driver up from 12th to ninth by the end of the opening lap.
But as his soft tyres faded Leclerc was forced to pit earlier than those around him with the likes of Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton then getting a fortuitous Safety Car when Lance Stroll retired two laps after Leclerc’s pit stop.
Xavi: “The only car we will lose to is Max.”
Xavi: “Try to push from Safety Car line One for Lewis Hamilton, he just pitted.” Leclerc: “Xavi, you need to tell me that before!” Xavi: “Copy.” Leclerc: “No, but come on!”
Leclerc lost positions to Verstappen and Hamilton. Falling to seventh and unable to even close the gap to his team-mate Carlos Sainz, Leclerc’s frustrations mounted.
Leclerc: “Being behind like this is really shit. I don’t know what to do.” Leclerc: “I’m not going push anymore.”
It would seem after Sunday’s race perhaps the only thing the 24-year-old will be pushing for is as a swift an exit from Ferrari as he can secure with his dejection evident.
He not only didn’t have the pace to fight the Red Bulls for the race win, but again lost out to the Aston Martin of Fernando Alonso while both Mercedes drivers, despite that team cries of doom and gloom, were also ahead.
Asked what work Ferrari must do to get into the title fight, he replied: “A lot, really a lot. Straight lines they’re quicker, corner they are quicker, so we need everything.” He added: “Overall the pace is just not good enough. Honestly, there wasn’t much more in the car, that was the best we could do.”
Declaring there is “not a miracle solution” out there, Ferrari may yet have to keep one eye on Mercedes and their progress as that has to be Leclerc’s most likely next destination if and when he finally throws in the red towel.
Although Red Bull is the team to beat, it is also very much Verstappen’s team as Sergio Perez continues to find out, meaning Leclerc is unlikely to head that way given he wants a World title above all else. Because of that goal of a World title, the rest of the grid also isn’t in the mix.
Mercedes, and more to the point Hamilton’s seat, is where Leclerc will next want to sit, the door either opened by Hamilton retiring in frustration or by Hamilton winning his eighth and then retiring.
Either way no matter how many times Leclerc tells us “how much I want to win with Ferrari”, unless Ferrari find that miracle solution, the clock is counting down on his days in red.
Fernando Alonso won the 100th podium of his Formula One career at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, but the result was only confirmed hours after the end of the race when officials reversed a 10-second penalty.
The Spaniard was initially handed a five-second penalty for lining up outside his grid slot at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit and, while serving that penalty during a pit stop, stewards ruled that a jack had touched the rear of his car.
That meant the penalty had not been served correctly and Alonso was given a further 10-second sanction, promoting Mercedes driver George Russell to third place at the end of the race.
But after Alonso’s Aston Martin team submitted a letter to review the decision, the FIA, motorsport’s global governing body, ruled that there was “no clear agreement” that a jack touching a car amounted to working on the vehicle.
Alonso’s position on the podium was then restored and his celebrations could truly begin.
“I was on the podium, I did pictures, I took the trophy, I celebrated with champagne and now I have apparently three points less – I don’t have 15, I have 12,” Alonso told Sky Sports after learning that he had been demoted to fourth.
“But I think it’s more an FIA poor show today, more than disappointment from ourselves. You cannot apply a penalty 35 laps after the pit stop.”
On the F1 website, an FIA spokesperson said that a request to review the 10-second penalty was made in the final lap of the race and that the definition of “working on the car” will be clarified ahead of the Australian Grand Prix next month.
CNN has contacted the FIA for comment.
The 41-year-old Alonso, who made his F1 debut in 2001, has enjoyed a strong start to the season with Aston Martin – a surprise package after two races.
Having placed third in Bahrain last week, Alonso backed up his auspicious start with another excellent drive, briefly leading in Saudi Arabia when he overtook pole-sitter Sergio Perez at the first turn.
Perez later regained the lead and his Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen also passed Alonso midway through the race, but the veteran held on to P3 after the stewards review, becoming just the sixth driver in F1 history to secure 100 podium finishes.
“I am happy in the end with the result tonight and our second podium,” said Alonso. “We showed that we can be the second fastest team [behind Red Bull] and we had good pace throughout the race.”
The result leaves Alonso third in the driver standings on 30 points behind Verstappen and Perez. The season resumes at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on April 2.
CNN’s Sammy Mngqosini contributed to reporting.
Although he was second quickest in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc admits that doesn’t give him much encouragement for the race as Red Bull are “quite far ahead”.
Leclerc clocked the second fastest time in Saturday evening’s qualifying at the Jeddah circuit, the Ferrari driver’s 1:28.420 some 0.15s slower than Sergio Perez’s pole position time.
But given that the main Red Bull protagonist, Max Verstappen, wasn’t involved in the pole position shoot-out after his driveshaft failed in Q2, Leclerc concedes the gap to Red Bull is still huge. Verstappen had set the pace in Q1, half a second up on Perez with Leclerc six-tenths down in that session.
Asked if his P2 time in the final qualifying segment gave him encouragement, the Monégasque driver admitted: “Not that much. In the lap, I’m really, really happy. It was really on the limit. On the other hand, I feel like Red Bull are quite far ahead. And that is our goal, to beat them. So there’s still a lot of work to do. Having said that, I think it’s a bit better than what we expected for this qualifying session. We expected to be a bit further back. But there’s a lot of work to do.”
He can’t even say exactly what is wrong with his SF-23, it’s just slow. “If you ask me to pinpoint one thing,” he said. “it’s very difficult. It’s just that we were quite slow. And yeah, just overall grip to be honest.”
He’ll line up 12th on the Jeddah grid due to engine penalties having already taken a third Control Electronics for the season.
But while he is hoping that, unlike in Bahrain, his race pace is better than his qualifying performance, he admits it won’t be easy to overtake at the street circuit. “I think our race pace is stronger this weekend. So this is a good thing,” he said. “Then, I don’t know how easy it is going to be to overtake on this track because the midfield seems to be all extremely close in terms of race pace. And if you have a DRS train, then it makes things very difficult. But I’ll give my best, try to come back to the front as quickly as possible. And we’ll see what happens.”
Something's gone wrong.
Charles Leclerc was left to rue another challenging Grand Prix weekend for Ferrari in Saudi Arabia, stating that the team have plenty of work to do if they are to get themselves in the front-running mix this season.
Leclerc qualified second fastest at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit but dropped to 12th on the grid with an engine penalty, setting up an action-packed start to his race as he recovered to seventh position.
However, that would be his limit as he crossed the line just behind team mate Carlos Sainz – the two Ferraris more than half a minute away from the race-winning Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race, Leclerc said: “Once I got within a second and a half to Carlos, it was very difficult to get closer than that. The pace difference wasn’t big enough. I did a small mistake when I was within DRS, and then when I lost it, that was it.
“I just stayed there. It’s like this. Honestly, I don’t think there was much more anyway in the car today. We just need to work to find some pace.”
Asked how much work is needed at Ferrari, Leclerc said, “A lot, really a lot.” As for what areas they need to improve in, he referred to pace-setters Red Bull, adding: “Straight line they are quicker, and corners they are quicker, so a bit of everything.”
The result means Leclerc sits eighth in the drivers’ standings after the first two races of the season with just six points to his name – having retired from the Bahrain opener due to a power unit issue.
Meanwhile, Ferrari sit fourth in the constructors’ battle, 61 points away from leaders Red Bull, with Aston Martin and Mercedes also slotting ahead of them.Credit: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.there-wasnt-much-more-in-the-car-leclerc-calls-on-ferrari-to-improve-a-lot.2nFZlLICRc2HxQ1wPmeZfX.html
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was yet another dominant performance from Red Bull Racing, but it was the team’s other driver, the less-talked-about Sergio Perez, who led the comfortable one-two finish. Yes, he had some assistance from teammate Max Verstappen’s broken drive shaft in qualifying, but there was no doubting the quality of his drive to fend off the fast-recovering Dutchman at the end of the race. Perez dominated the grand prix on his own terms. Now he just has to keep up the pace for another, say, 21 rounds and we might get a thrilling title conclusion.
Fernando Alonso was almost as happy as Perez despite being demoted from third to fourth. Aston Martin’s progress is being validated as legitimate — and maybe even as underrated — with every lap, and Jeddah was another big statement for the former F1 minnow. McLaren’s continued its descent with another disappointing evening, though at least both cars made it to the flag this week, while Ferrari ended the day arguably most underwhelming team of all, finishing a mystifyingly uncompetitive fourth-best car ahead of what looks like a longer and longer season for the Italians.
If Red Bull Racing is going to dominate the season — and let’s not pretend things aren’t heading in that direction — then Perez needs to take the fight to Verstappen if we’re to have any hope of a title battle. Fortunately the Mexican looks like he’s doing exactly that — at least at the moment. After getting back past Alonso at the start and perfectly managing the safety car restart, he had only a duel with his teammate to deal with to make it to the flag. The Dutchman recovered from 15th to second with half the race still to run and with a 5.8-second deficit to the lead. He took the flag 5.3 seconds adrift, a negligible improvement after 25 laps of racing.
The reigning champ was clearly pushing hard in the closing stage of the race — much to the displeasure of his team, mind you, which was effectively asking him to hold second by giving him a target lap time to stay above. Eventually Verstappen’s insistence on getting under that lap time came to Perez’s attention, and he was given permission to push harder to maintain his advantage. He wasn’t quiet about it — he asked rhetorically whether there was any point risking mechanical problems when a one-two was assured — but he comfortably picked up the pace and kept Verstappen around five seconds behind him. The Dutchman had to concede defeat, and instead he focused on picking up the bonus point for fastest lap to maintain the championship lead.
Yes, Perez was assisted by Verstappen’s grid penalty, but the final stint after the safety car was a straight fight, and he won it convincingly. It’s not a total surprise to see him in good form. In Bahrain his pace was comparable to Verstappen’s once he got into second place, and he’s been more positive about his comfort in this car than he was last year. He’s also developed a reputation as a street-circuit specialist, with all but one of his five wins coming on public roads — not a bad reputation considering how many street tracks comprise the calendar. The only question now is whether he can continue the fight.
Fernando Alonso will have the dubious honour of celebrating his 100th Formula 1 podium twice, having been stripped of third place after the rostrum celebrations for a penalty infringement. Alonso was slapped with a five-second penalty for starting the race outside his grid box. He served it at his first pit stop, but his rear jack operator engaged the jack as soon as the car came into the pits rather than waiting until the time penalty had been completed, which is against the rules. The FIA took a dim view of it, and after the flag Alonso had 10 seconds added to his race time, dropping him to fourth behind George Russell. But it was interesting to consider how both Alonso and Russell reflected on the swapped positions.
Aston Martin’s story this season isn’t how many podiums Alonso will collect — and he seems likely to collect quite a few. It’s how fast the team can make this car during the season and for next year, and by that metric, Saudi Arabia was another enormous success, with the green team clearly the second-quickest car. And with the pace he showed in Saudi Arabia, Alonso will more than make up for the three points lost to Mercedes in the coming races. But that penalty did rankle Alonso for another reason — the sheer amount of time it took for it to be handed down.
The late investigation came after questions were raised about race control’s decision to deploy the safety car to recover Lance Stroll’s stopped Aston Martin early in the race. Stroll suffered a suspected energy recovery system failure and was told to retire on track. He rolled his AMR23 into a gap the fence deep in some run-off to minimise disruption. The marshals barely had to wheel it behind the barrier. Bafflingly, the full safety car was called regardless despite the incident requiring a virtual safety car at most. Erring on the side of caution is always the better option, particularly at a circuit as fast and risky as Jeddah, but it was another case of processes in need of refinement. Better communication with the marshal post surely could have avoided the need to neutralise the race.
The optimism of Oscar Piastri’s excellent Q3 appearance was extremely short-lived, with the Australian’s race almost immediately undone by a broken front wing in a surprisingly light moment of contact with Pierre Gasly. Worse still, the snapped-off endplate bounced into teammate Lando Norris, damaging his car too. Both had to pit for new noses, putting them out of points contention. They finished 15th and 17th, Piastri ahead of Norris. But even without the early stops it would have been difficult to see the papaya cars in the top 10 judging by their race pace. The back of the pack was fair reflection of the MCL60’s raw pace.
Ferrari needed to prove this weekend that it had the fundamental pace to be a challenger this season. It left Jeddah with the wind fully out of its sails. Without doubt it was the fourth quickest car this weekend
Mercedes driver George Russell was left feeling satisfied with the performance he delivered across the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, though he admitted that Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin “deserved” the podium he briefly inherited on Sunday evening – before a stewards’ review overturned the decision.
Russell built on his strong qualifying performance at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit to convert P3 on the grid into a fourth-place finish, behind only the Red Bulls and Alonso’s Aston Martin.
Russell then briefly inherited P3 after Alonso was handed a 10-second penalty, going on to conduct post-podium press conference duties in Alonso's place only for the decision to later be overturned by the stewards, dropping Russell back to fourth.
Prior to that, a busy race for Russell included a scrap with team mate and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton as their tyre strategies converged, but the younger Briton came out on top to lead Mercedes’ charge.
Reflecting on his evening at the wheel, Russell said: “It was a bit chaotic at times on the radio, just trying to understand what was happening with these five-second penalties or not.
“[But] it was fun. I was pushing flat-out at the end trying to get within five seconds of Fernando just in case, but I think he just had it covered.
“P4 for me, it’s been probably one of my strongest weekends in F1. [I’m] just pleased with the result, because I think we exceeded the potential of the car this weekend.”
Russell admitted that the result was somewhat of a surprise for Mercedes as they out-paced Ferrari in race-trim and kept within touching distance of Alonso to the chequered flag.
“To be honest, [it was] not really [expected]. We knew I would be close, but we thought we were just on the back foot compared to Aston, compared to Ferrari,” he continued.
“But clearly, we have made some small steps compared to Bahrain. We know we have a long way to go, but we’re in an interesting phase as a team at the moment.
“We are making some changes at the moment to try and close that gap to Red Bull and hopefully it won’t be too long before we make a step forward.”
EXPLAINED: Why did Fernando Alonso get a penalty – and lose his 100th F1 podium – in Jeddah?
Carlos Sainz finished sixth at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, falling behind Sergio Perez by 36 seconds to earn one spot ahead of fellow Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc. Unfortunately, Leclerc began 10 places behind the starting grid, earning a 10-place penalty for a change of control electronics during the Bahrain season opener, in which he had retired. Meanwhile, Sainz had bagged fourth place two weeks before this race. However, the team faced extreme degradation in Bahrain, which could not be explained merely by the circuit's abrasiveness.
Sainz divulged after the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix that the team still had a while to go before it could hold its own against Red Bull, the current pace-setter. During the final stint of the race, the team struggled with its hard tyres, trailing Mercedes and Aston Martin. "We lack a bit of race pace," exclaimed Sainz.
Ferrari anticipated that it would end up being the second fastest team (behind Red Bull) due to the SF-23's low-drag aero concept and top speed advantage. However, the team's performance was criticized as disappointing by Sainz, who was "surprised" by the results.
Despite Ferrari's rapid start to the season in Bahrain, the early struggles were not limited to the circuit. Carlos Sainz admitted that the team was "eating up the tyres alive." Hence, Sainz recognized that the team had a weakness in the race and would require massive upgrades beyond some simple set-up tweaks to fight Red Bull and Max Verstappen. While the team could produce decent lap times with clean air, their performance was abysmal in dirty air following.
Despite the current squeeze, Sainz remained optimistic and stated that the team already knew its weaknesses, which was a positive sign. Nevertheless, the team was unable to produce any magic and would have to wait for the arrival of the developments before the pace could improve. The team's pushing flat-out to bring them as soon as possible, for sure.
Despite the early struggles, Ferrari is putting up a valiant fight this season. However, the team knows that it has to do something about its weaknesses to get back to its former glory. With the necessary upgrades, there's no telling what heights the team will climb; for now, though, it's a waiting game.
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In his debut race at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Oscar Piastri had a strong and impressive performance. After starting eighth, Piastri had a minor touch with the Alpine of Pierre Gasly, which damaged his front wing and required a pit stop on the first lap.
Despite the setback on the first lap, Piastri kept his cool and nursed his tyres well to keep a manageable gap with his teammate. "To do 49 laps on that set of tyres was good," he told Sky Sports F1.
Despite the challenges he faced, Piastri remained focused and determined throughout the race. "It's the ultimate challenge for a rookie to come in and be up against Lando, especially when the car is so difficult and bad to drive," he said.
Overall, Piastri had a really solid weekend and proved that he is a talented driver. "A really solid weekend," he summarized.
Piastri now looks forward to his quest for his first F1 championship points, which will be focused on his hometown of Melbourne. Round 3 will be held at the Albert Park on April 2.