Sergio Perez came through to score his first F1 pole in Saudi Arabian GP from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.


The first part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP qualifying saw the Mercedes duo use the medium tyres for their first run. The Haas duo of Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher led the way when the red flag was waved for an incident for Williams’ Nicholas Latifi.

The Canadian lost control at Turn 13 and had a double impact onto the barriers. The re-start saw everyone head out as soon to set a lap time, with Mercedes switching to the soft tyre. AlphaTauri, meanwhile, asked Yuki Tsunoda to pit due to an issue.

The Japanese driver took a new engine and other power unit elements during the FP3 session, with the team suspecting the trouble to be fuel related. The Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz set the pace with a 1m28.855s lap with Red Bull splitting them.

Max Verstappen was second from the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, with the Dutchman only 0.073s behind the Spaniard. The big story from the first part in qualifying was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton not making it into Q2 after a 1m30.343s lap.

His best lap put him in 15th but Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll went faster still to push him in 16th from Williams’ Alexander Albon (1m30.492s), Aston Martin’s Nico Hulkenberg (1m30.543s), Williams’ Latifi (1m31.817s), as Tsunoda set no time. Hamilton was a bit far off from teammate George Russell, who set a 1m29.680s lap.


The second part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP qualifying saw Ferrari stick with the used soft tyres to Red Bull’s new set. Leclerc still remained ahead of the Red Bull pair with Sergio Perez ahead of Verstappen and the Top 3 separated by 0.062s.

Mercedes stuck with medium tyres for Russell. There was also a impeding moment for Alpine’s Esteban Ocon when McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo blocked him. The Australian is already under investigation for unsafe release along with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.

As teams prepared for their second run, there was another red flag for Haas’ Mick Schumacher, who had a heavy crash at Turn 12 with his car into pieces. The German was conscious and was taken into the ambulance to the medical center.

The replays showed Schumacher going over the kerb and losing the car, going onto the wall which smashed the car into pieces. The German was airlifted to the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital for precautionary checks.

The session re-started after an hour’s wait, with Sainz setting the pace with a 1m28.686s lap from teammate Leclerc, while Perez was third from Verstappen. Mercedes just made it in with George Russell in 10th but he couldn’t improve on his soft tyre run.

The McLaren pair were knocked out with Lando Norris (1m29.651s) in 11th from Ricciardo (1m29.773s), with Alfa Romeo’s Guanyu Zhou (1m29.819s) missing out on a Top 10 in 13th. Haas’ Schumacher (1m29.920s) was still 14th with Stroll (1m31.009s) in 15th.


The final part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP saw Ferrari’s Sainz go for a fast lap on a used set of soft tyres and he did so with a 1m28.402s with Leclerc only 0.044s behind. Red Bull’s Perez slotted in third despite kerb moment, with Verstappen only eighth initially.

The final run changed the order with Leclerc going quicker with a 1m28.225s lap to take provisional pole but Perez came through to top the final session in Saudi Arabian GP, securing his first-ever pole position in F1 with a 1m28.200s lap.

It was a good 0.025s quicker, with Ferrari’s Sainz (1m28.402s) in third from the other Red Bull’s Verstappen (1m28.461s) who was only fourth. Alpine’s Ocon (1m29.068s) did a solid job in fifth as he managed to beat Mercedes’ Russell (1m29.104s).

The other Alpine of Fernando Alonso (1m29.17s) was seventh, with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas (1m29.183s) eighth from AlphaTauri’s Gasly (1m29.254s) and Haas’ Magnussen (1m29.588s) in the Top 10. Replays showed wall moment for both Gasly and Russell, while Ocon had a mighty save at Turn 12.

UPDATE: There was no further action on the unsafe release involving Magnussen, Albon and Ricciardo, with the FIA sharing reports for the former two.

“The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 20 (Kevin Magnussen), the driver of Car 23 (Alexander Albon), the driver of Car 3 (Daniel Ricciardo) and team representatives, and examined video, team radio evidence and found that the release from the garage did require Car 23 to take evasive action. However, all three drivers and their team representatives were unanimous in their view that the situation was benign and did not create an unsafe situation/release.

“Car 20 stated that their garage had a pillar that made it particularly difficult to exit fast and therefore there was a lag between the instruction to exit and the move out of the garage. Although Car 23 turned to the left to avoid Car 20, both cars were moving slowly and were at no point in danger. Nor were any team personnel placed in a position of danger.

“In the circumstances, we considered that the release itself was untidy and could potentially have resulted in an unsafe condition it did not in fact do so. As a result, we decided to take no further action. We nevertheless impressed upon the team that it was crucial that the safety of the drivers and the team personnel in the pit lane be considered when releasing cars from the garage and to therefore be extra vigilant when doing so – not least if a garage was impaired as alleged by the team,” stated the FIA report regarding Magnussen.

With regards to Albon, it added: Although Car 3 was required to slow down to avoid collision with Car 23, both cars were moving slowly and were at no point in danger. Nor were any team personnel placed in a position of danger.”

In another incident, Ricciardo has been handed a 3-place grid drop with McLaren being fined by 10,000 euros for impeding Ocon. “The Stewards heard from the driver of Car 3 (Daniel Ricciardo), the driver of Car 31 (Esteban Ocon) and team representatives, and examined video, team radio evidence and found that Car 3 impeded Car 31,” it stated.

“The driver admitted that he did not know that Car 31 was coming on a fast lap as he was not told of that by his team. By the time he saw Car 31 approaching, it was too late. The team representative admitted that they had made an error in not warning their driver about Car 31 approaching. The driver of Car 31 stated that his lap had to be aborted as a result of him being unnecessarily impeded by Car 3.

“Having said that, he stated that his overall performance during the session was not adversely impacted by the aborted lap. It was clear that Car 31 was unnecessarily impeded by Car 3. The fact that Car 31 was ultimately able to record a faster lap is irrelevant to the fact that the infringement occurred, such that a timed lap had to be aborted. It was also clear that the team failed in its duty to keep the driver of Car 3 properly informed of approaching cars. This is particularly so given the tight nature of this circuit. In the circumstances, we impose a penalty of a drop of 3 grip positions to the driver of Car 3 and  a fine of Euro 10,000 to the team.”

The FIA, meanwhile, allowed Tsunoda to start the Saudi Arabian GP qualifying despite not setting a lap time. Also, Haas has withdrawn Schumacher from the grand prix, where they will run only Magnussen who starts in the Top 10.