Sergio Perez takes F1 Saudi Arabian GP pole in qualifying after disaster for Max Verstappen, with Charles Leclerc in second from Fernando Alonso.
The first part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP qualifying saw an early spin for AlphaTauri’s Nyck de Vries for his first run since Friday having missed FP3 due to power unit change. Williams’ Logan Sargeant set a solid lap but his lap was deleted due to track limits.
The American also had a half spin at Turn 22 which further hurt his chances. There was a spin for Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso on his out lap too but had enough for his second lap as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen led the way with a 1m28.761s lap.
He headed Sergio Perez and Alonso, who put in a better lap later on. At the back end, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda missed out in Q2 by 0.010s to be 16th with a 1m29.939s lap with Williams’ Alexander Albon in 17th after a 1m29.994s lap.
AlphaTauri’s de Vries (1m20.244s) was 18th ahead of McLaren’s Lando Norris (1m30.447s,) who didn’t turn out for a second run after clouting the wall at Turn 21 exit which damaged his left suspension. Sargeant had another moment as he didn’t set a lap time.
The start of second part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP qualifying got off to a dramatic start after Red Bull’s Verstappen radioed about a problem on his first flying lap. He couldn’t accelerate as he was asked to limp back in the pits where he eventually retired.
While he got in, Aston Martin’s Alonso led the way with a 1m28.757s lap from Red Bull’s Perez and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the Top 3. Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg had his lap deleted for track limits, leaving him with just one lap to get into Q3.
At the end, Perez got ahead of Alonso after his late lap of 1m28.635s with Leclerc in third. Haas’ Hulkenberg missed out on a Q3 by 0.040s after his lap of 1m29.451s. He headed Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu (1m29.461s) who was just 0.010s behind.
The other Haas of Kevin Magnussen was 13th with a 1m29.517s lap, while Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas (1m29.668s) was 14th from Verstappen. There was a moment for Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz early on which left him for a late one lap push to fourth.
The final part in F1 Saudi Arabian GP qualifying saw Red Bull’s Perez (1m28.265s) set the pace with a 0.492s gap to Ferrari’s Leclerc and Mercedes’ George Russell after first run. Aston Martin’s Alonso was fourth from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton.
Both Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Oscar Piastri kept it late for their first run saw them be fifth and 10th respectively. Perez didn’t even go for a second push lap to get his second F1 pole in Saudi Arabian GP – the same venue he had his first.
It was a fightback from Ferrari’s Leclerc who improved to second with a 1m28.420s lap in his last attempt. He will drop to out of the Top 10 but 11th as Alonso rounded the Top 3 with a 1m28.730s lap. Russell did well in fourth after his 1m28.857s lap.
Sainz (1m28.857s) was fifth after preparation of his final lap was hindered by Russell, with Stroll (1m28.931s) slotting in sixth from Alpine’s Esteban Ocon (1m29.078s), Hamilton (1m29.223s), Piastri (1m29.243s) and Alpine’s Pierre Gasly (1m29.357s) where the Australian managed to beat the Frenchman.
Who expected this order in qualifying? 🙃#SaudiArabianGP #F1 pic.twitter.com/giPmt1pMkn
— Formula 1 (@F1) March 18, 2023