AS IT HAPPENED: Red Bull’s Sergio Perez qualifies on pole for Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
JEDDAH: Sergio Perez claimed his first ever Formula One pole at the 215th attempt when the Mexican upstaged Red Bull teammate and world champion Max Verstappen in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Saturday.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc joins Perez on the front row with Verstappen on the second row after qualifying in fourth behind the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz.
Saturday’s qualifying was marred by a horror crash suffered by Mick Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton’s shock elimination in the opening Q1 session for the first time since 2017.
See how the qualifying action unfolded below (all times GMT)…
19:10 – RESULT! Sergio Perez manages to outpace Charles Leclerc and end up on pole position, an unexpected turn of events as the two Ferraris set the fastest times throughout the weekend so far.
Leclerc will start in second, his teammate Carlos Sainz in third and world champion Max Verstappen manages to climb back up to fourth.
19:00 – Valtteri Bottas and Fernando Alonso push Max Verstappen down to eighth after the two set slightly better times than the Red Bull driver.
After Bottas’ hot lap, he has found his way to sixth place where he was last weekend in Bahrain.
18:55 – Q3 is wrapping up, Carlos Sainz leads followed by Charles Leclerc. Sainz who is on used tires has managed to outpace his teammate in the first and middle sectors to beat him by 0.044 seconds.
Max Verstappen sets a time of 1 minute and 29.239 seconds to end up in sixth place for Sunday’s race. George Russell complains about no grip on his tires but manages to set a decent time granting him a place above the Dutchman in fifth.
18:40 – Q2 will get underway again at 21:40 local time…
18:25 – Lewis Hamilton told reporters that he was not happy with the balance of his car and struggled for rear grip, however he was okay with the car during practice sessions earlier in the day but overall said Mercedes went with the wrong set-up.
18:10 – Daniel Ricciardo may end up with a penalty after replays show he pulled out to one side to avoid another car, and in doing so did impede the Frenchman who was on a hot lap.
And Alpha Tauri mechanics have reported issues with Yuki Tsunoda’s cooling system in his car, thus his no-show in qualifying.
17:50 – Doctors are on the scene of Mick Schumacher’s crash, and the young German is talking to the medical staff, which is always a good sign.
Elsewhere in Q2, an incident on Turn 7 involving Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo was noted by the stewards. Ricciardo is under investigation for possibly impeding Ocon.
Perez on new tires sits second and went purple in the final two sectors, he’s followed by his teammate and 2021 world champion Max Verstappen, while Leclerc’s co-driver Sainz is in fourth.
17:45 – RED FLAG! Another stoppage as Mick Schumacher suffers a big collision, he lost the back end of his Haas car on the exit of Turn 10 and ended up smashing into the wall at Turn 12.
17:35 – With F1 fans all over the world reeling from that poor position for Lewis Hamilton, we go again for Q2 after we lost the British world champion, with Yuki Tsunoda not registering a time on Saturday, as well as Alex Albon, Nico Hulkenberg and Nicholas Latifi who crashed out.
17:25 – SHOCK! Lewis Hamilton is knocked out of Q1 for the first time since the Mexico Grand Prix in 2017.
Carlos Sainz led the session in the Ferrari with a time of 1 minute and 28.855 seconds, followed by Red Bull’s reigning world champion Max Verstappen.
Last week’s winner Charles Leclerc posted the third fastest time, followed by George Russel in the second Mercedes and in fourth Valteri Botas, who switched over to Alfa Romeo this year.
While Russell’s co-driver and seven-time world champion Hamilton will start in P16 in Sunday’s race.
17:15 – We’re back up and running, and Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc are leading the way in this first session, where we will lose the five slowest drivers ahead of Q2.
17:10 – RED FLAG! The first session is brought to a stop after Latifi in the Williams crashes.
17:00 – We are underway in the first qualifying session!
16:30 – Charles Leclerc was imperious once again in the final practice of the weekend, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen three-hundredths of a second off the Ferrari pace-setter. Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was almost a second off the pace, with teammate George Russell 1.2 seconds behind the front-runners.
15:15 – Since 2018, King Abdullah University of Science and Techology in Jeddah and McLaren Racing have partnered to develop research and development projects with a long-term focus to improve on track performance, and importantly, develop and promote the team’s sustainability and diversity through STEM, or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Read more about their partnership here.
14:45 – While George Russell has said he and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, seven-time F1 world champion, are in “perfect harmony”, neither driver was harmonious with their cars in Friday practice sessions.
The British duo were well off the pace in first practice and still had work to do to keep up with Ferrari and Red Bull in the second session of the day.