Sergio Perez took a surprise pole position ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after his dominant teammate faced technical problems. Despite leading all practice sessions and the opening round of qualifying, a driveshaft issue in the second round relegates Max Verstappen to a fifteenth-place grid position.
It means Perez earns his second pole in as many years in Saudi Arabia, with a time .155 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc. Leclerc however will have to drop ten positions to twelfth due to an engine penalty.
That will put Fernando Alonso driving an Aston Martin on the front row as he continues a strong start to his season, looking for a repeat to his podium finish in Bahrain.
George Russell strongly outdid his Mercedes teammate, recording the fourth-best time to Hamilton’s eighth in the final round. He described his car’s handling as “miserable” and said he can’t “connect” with his car.
The surprises continue throughout the top ten, as Oscar Piastri will start in the points for the first time in his young career. That’s well above his McLaren teammate of Lando Norris, though, who was forced to drop out of qualifying in the first round after breaking the left steering arm after hitting the wall at the final turn.
Piastri will have to contend with the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, and Estaban Ocon in an Alpine if he wants to advance up the top ten though. Pierre Gasly rounds up those positions.
Qualifying also leaves the two Haas drivers just outside of the points but with a stronger performance than the team has shown in past years.
The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix will air on Sunday at 1pm ET.
|1||11||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||1:29.244||1:28.635||1:28.265||18|
|3||14||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||1:29.298||1:28.757||1:28.730||18|
|6||18||ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES||1:29.335||1:28.962||1:28.945||20|
|12||24||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||1:29.654||1:29.461||18|
|14||77||ALFA ROMEO FERRARI||1:29.929||1:29.668||18|
|15||1||RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT||1:28.761||1:49.953||6|
|16||22||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||1:29.939||10|
|18||21||ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT||1:30.244||10|