Perez takes Jeddah pole as Verstappen suffers mechanical issues

Perez takes Jeddah pole as Verstappen suffers mechanical issues

Max Verstappen’s day was over in Q2 due to a driveshaft trouble, as Sergio Perez beat Charles Leclerc to pole in Jeddah.

Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso will start from the front row in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, after title leader Max Verstappen was forced to withdraw from qualifying in the second round due to a drive shaft failure.

Under the lights of the Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Perez recorded a time of 1:29.244s in Q3. The Red Bull driver’s pace was 0.115 seconds faster than Charles Leclerc’s, who finished second but will start the race in 12th owing to a penalty.

As the session moved into the last five minutes of Q2, Red Bull’s Verstappen made an unexpected exit from qualifying.”  I have a problem,” the Dutchman said over the radio as he was forced to run back to the pits due to an engine issue.

Owing to Verstappen’s absence in the third quarter, three different teams could have finished first, second, and third. Despite Aston Martin and Ferrari being close behind, no one else could keep up with Perez’s pace in the Red Bull.

Carlos Sainz, who had appeared to be struggling the entire session, was followed by George Russell, who made an unexpected move to set the fourth-fastest time in Q1.

McLaren’s Oscar Piastri also made an unexpected comeback in Q1 following a difficult season debut in Bahrain. Lando Norris was unable to replicate the feat on his side of the garage after striking the wall in Q1.

The session was tense the entire time, with the midfield battles in Q1 and Q2 proving to be close the entire time. It originally appeared as though Nico Hulkenberg would advance into Q1 after outqualifying teammate Kevin Magnussen, who qualified P13, but Gasly was the last driver to make it into Q3, eliminating Hulkenberg.

Zhou Guanyu, who outqualified teammate Valtteri Bottas, was positioned between the two Haas drivers. The Q2 dropzone also claimed Bottas, who finished in 14th place, ahead of Verstappen’s damaged Red Bull.

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The AlphaTauri drivers had a bad day as the duo withdrew from the session in Q1. Nyck de Vries admitted that he made a mistake at the penultimate corner that cost him lap time and was beaten by Yuki Tsunoda.

Alexander Alon, who had just finished in the points at the Bahrain Grand Prix, finished in 17th place for Williams, with Logan Sargeant likely being the driver who was the most dissatisfied with his performance.

The American driver posted a lap time that would have comfortably qualified him for the second round of qualifying, but he was flagged for track limits. In the lead-up to the finish line, Sargeant violated the race director’s instructions by squeezing a wheel inside the painted line. On his subsequent attempt, he made a costly error that required him to pull over and express regret for it.

Norris also hit a wall during one of his attempts, costing him a damaged car. He tried to get back to the pits but was unsuccessful, therefore Sargeant and the Brit will sit in the back row in the Sunday evening race.

The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will start at 20:00 local time on Sunday.

2023 F1 SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING RESULTS

POS.DRIVERNAT.TEAMQ1Q2Q3
1Sergio PerezMEXOracle Bull Racing1m29.244s1m28.635s1m28.265s
2Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1m29.376s1m28.903s1m28.420s
3Fernando AlonsoESPAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m29.298s1m28.757s1m28.730s
4George RussellGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m29.592s1m29.132s1m28.857s
5Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1m29.411s1m28.957s1m28.931s
6Lance StrollCANAston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One Team1m29.335s1m28.962s1m28.945s
7Esteban OconFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m29.707s1m29.255s1m29.078s
8Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team1m29.689s1m29.374s1m29.223s
9Oscar PiastriAUSMcLaren F1 Team1m29.706s1m29.378s1m29.243s
10Pierre GaslyFRABWT Alpine F1 Team1m29.890s1m29.411s1m29.357s
11Nico HulkenbergGERMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m29.547s1m29.451s 
12Zhou GuanyuCHNAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m29.654s1m29.461s 
13Kevin MagnussenDENMoneyGram Haas F1 Team1m29.744s1m29.517s 
14Valtteri BottasFINAlfa Romeo F1 Team Stake1m29.929s1m29.668s 
15Max VerstappenNEDOracle Red Bull Racing1m28.761s1m49.953s 
16Yuki TsunodaJPNScuderia AlphaTauri 1m29.939s  
17Alex AlbonTHAWilliams Racing1m29.994s  
18Nyck de VriesNEDScuderia AlphaTauri1m30.244s  
19Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1m30.447s  
20Logan SargeantUSAWilliams Racing2m08.510s

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