Verstappen secures first career pole for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Verstappen secures first career pole for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Max Verstappen secured his first career pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dominated every qualifying session marking his first-ever pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah securing a clear lead of 0.319 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc, Sergio Perez, and Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari’s Oliver Bearmann will be starting from P11 in tomorrow’s race after he narrowly lost out to Lewis Hamilton in his maiden F1 qualifying session serving as a replacement for the ill Carlos Sainz.

There was a lot of activity early in the qualifying session as many drivers wanted to turn in a lap. The Alpines were first to leave the pits, followed by Valtteri Bottas while his teammate Zhou Guanyu was left stranded in the garage as his mechanics continued to work on his car due to damage sustained in an FP3 incident.

Verstappen improved on Alonso and Piastri’s exchange at the top spot of the timing sheet as soon as he registered a time. In the meantime, the Mercedes pair opted to run on the medium compound tyres for their preliminary runs.

Lance Stroll was one of the leaders as well, but his best time was eventually dropped for exceeding track limits. Everyone including Verstappen did a second run towards the conclusion of the session; however, Mercedes certainly used new softs, while the majority of the front runners chose to use previously used softs.

Zhou also managed to head out to the track, but he was forced to return to the pits without setting a timed lap since he started his flying lap too late. He was eliminated along with Sargeant, Bottas, and the Alpine pair.

The last to qualify for the next round was Alexander Albon, who finished 0.936 seconds behind Verstappen and only 0.07 seconds ahead of Bottas.

Later, nine cars lined up ready to start the second round right away with Russell, Hamilton, Norris, and Piastri going out first. Magnussen’s Haas was the only other car to finish its flying lap before the session was interupted.

Early in his flying lap, Hulkenberg claimed that his car lost power and he had to stop. As a result, both Ferraris were forced to put an end to their flying laps while Sergio Perez had to go back to the pits before finishing his out-lap.

Eleven minutes were remaining when the session resumed and Bearmann was the first to hit the track. However, the rookie who replaced Sainz was unable to take advantage of the clear track and had to abandon his lap for a second attempt due to a braking error.

Following the stoppage, Perez was the first driver to set a time. But Verstappen overtook him by over four-tenths of a second after he set the fastest time. Alonso, who was only 0.044 seconds slower than the World Champion, soon surged between the two Red Bulls.

Half a minute later, Leclerc executed a similar effort by finishing third fastest, only a tenth behind Verstappen forcing Perez to finish fourth. Stroll finished fifth ahead of Russell who had the fastest time among those who recorded a laptime prior to Hulkenberg’s interruption.

With little over three minutes remaining in the session, both McLarens had one more run, placing fourth and fifth. Meanwhile Bearmann brushed the wall on his second attempt and finished eleventh, putting Hamilton in the danger zone.

Hamilton moved up to eighth as Bearmann made one final attempt. Albon saw some improvement as well, but it was only enough for 12th. Tsunoda subsequently improved further to take eighth place as Hamilton just missed qualifying for Q3 by 0.036 seconds.

Bearmann finished in eleventh place, followed by Albon, Magnussen, Ricciardo, and of course Hulkenberg due to mechanical issues.

In the third qualifying round, Hamilton started out with the fastest lap, but Russell outran him by half a second as he hasn’t been feeling comfortable in his Mercedes over the weekend. The McLarens forced Hamilton to back off despite being slower than Russell.

Alonso then overtook everyone up to that point, but Verstappen was first on the timing sheet as his Red Bull crossed the finish line, 0.335 seconds ahead of Perez and 0.516 seconds quicker than Alonso. Leclerc finished his flying lap last, finishing only in fourth place, eight-tenths slower than Verstappen.

Hamilton was out front for the second lap as well, although this time it was hardly noteworthy. After the Brit crossed the finish line, Leclerc leaped up into second while Alonso put in another strong lap, improving in every area, but it wasn’t good enough to propel up the classification.

The Aston Martin finished in fourth place, behind Perez and ahead of the McLarens, who will start from the third row. Mercedes will complete the 4th row on the grid ahead of Tsunoda and Stroll.

2024 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Results

11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:28.1711:28.0331:27.47218
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:28.3181:28.1121:27.79123
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:28.6381:28.4671:27.80719
414Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:28.7061:28.1221:27.84617
581Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:28.7551:28.3431:28.08922
64Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:28.8051:28.4791:28.13222
763George RussellMercedes1:28.7491:28.4481:28.31622
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:28.9941:28.6061:28.46024
922Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:28.9881:28.5641:28.54718
1018Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:28.2501:28.5781:28.57219
1138Oliver BearmanFerrari1:28.9841:28.64218
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:29.1071:28.98016
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:29.0691:29.02017
143Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:29.0651:29.02512
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:29.055DNF10
1677Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:29.1799
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:29.47510
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:29.4799
192Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:29.5269
NC24Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber FerrariDNF2

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