Perez takes first career pole on 215th try in Jeddah drama RaceFans

Sergio Perez claimed his first pole position of his Formula 1 career after beating Charles Leclerc after a disrupted qualifying session in Saudi Arabia.

After an hour behind following a heavy fall from Mick Schumacher, Perez’s final effort in Q3 was enough to secure pole position just 0.025s behind Leclerc. Carlos Sainz Jnr will line up third on the grid ahead of world champion Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton will start from 16th on the grid after being knocked out in Q1.

Q1

The first phase of qualifying started in cool conditions with track temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, but with much calmer winds than in the last practice session.

The Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz took to the track early, while the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell opted to attempt their opening laps of the sessions on the medium tyres. However, Hamilton made a mistake on the fast left turn of corner four, ruining his first lap when he had just started.

The Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Schumacher were the quickest in the opening moments, before Sainz started creating purple sectors on his first attempt. However, he was unable to complete the lap as the session was red flagged due to Nicholas Latifi crashing the Williams into the tire barrier at the long hairpin Turn 13.

Once Latifi’s car was recovered, the session resumed with just over 11 minutes of time remaining. Verstappen immediately set the best time of 1:29.330, but was quickly beaten by both Ferraris with Leclerc and Sainz jumping to the top of the times.

Yuki Tsunoda was ordered to pit with the team warning him of a fuel problem on his AlphaTauri. The team failed to get him out and he was eliminated without making a lap time.

In the dying minutes, Hamilton was close to being knocked out in 16th place. Despite signaling that he was unable to improve, Hamilton was able to go faster at the checkered flag, but only as far as 15th place. His time was immediately beaten by Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin, pushing him back to 16th and confirming his elimination from Q1.

Hamilton was joined in the drop zone by Alex Albon’s Williams and Nico Hulkenberg in the second Aston Martin. Latifi finished the session 19th following his crash, with Tsunoda 20th and last after failing to set a time.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16 Lewis Hamilton mercedes 1’30.343
17 Alexander Albon Williams-Mercedes 1’30.492
18 Nico Hulkenberg Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’30.543
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams-Mercedes 1’31.817
20 Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri No set time

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Q2

The second session started with all the drivers again using the soft tyres, apart from Russell in the Mercedes who again switched to the medium tyres.

Leclerc went fastest at the start of the session, with Perez less than half a tenth behind the second-placed Ferrari. Russell’s first lap on the mediums was good enough to make third quickest, until he was relegated to seventh as he was beaten by the likes of Verstappen, Sainz, Alonso and Bottas.

Esteban Ocon was frustrated when he was clearly blocked by Daniel Ricciardo on his hot lap in the fast sequence between turns four and 12. Stewards confirmed they would investigate the incident after qualifying.

Five minutes from the end of the session, qualifying was stopped for a second time after a terrible accident for Schumacher. After going over the curbs on the exit of Turn 10, Schumacher lost the rear of the car and skidded into the wall at high speed, sustaining a hard impact that sent the wrecked Haas sliding into the opposite wall.

The session was suspended for an entire hour as Schumacher was assisted by the Medical Car team. The Haas driver was extracted from the car as part of the FIA ​​medical procedure and brought to the medical center for examination. Fortunately, Haas confirmed that Schumacher was “physically in good condition”, but that their driver would be taken to a local hospital for further precautionary checks.

When the session restarted, Russell ventured onto the circuit on soft tyres. But despite the expected pace advantage of the redwall tyres, he was unable to improve on his best time. Magnussen was able to improve and move into the top ten, but Lando Norris couldn’t find the time he needed to secure a place in Q3.

Ricciardo improved but just enough to move up to 12th, just behind his teammate. Zhou Guanyu couldn’t find the time he needed to break into the top ten and was knocked out in 13th. The last two drivers to drop out of qualifying were Schumacher and Lance Stroll, who finished the session 15th and the slowest of Aston Martin.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Lando Norris McLaren-Mercedes 1’29.651
12 Daniel Ricardo McLaren-Mercedes 1’29.773
13 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’29.819
14 Mick Schumacher Haas-Ferrari 1’29.920
15 Spear Stroll Aston Martin-Mercedes 1’31.009

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Q3

As it was in Bahrain, the final stage of qualifying would be a shootout between Ferrari and Red Bull for pole position.

Ferrari was the first of the favorites to set a fast first lap, with Leclerc clocking a 1:28.446. That was beaten by teammate Sainz, by just under half a tenth to give him the advantage between the pair going into the second innings.

Red Bull followed, with Perez taking third place on his first attempt, a tenth and a half off Sainz’s provisional pole. Verstappen endured a lousy lap on his opening effort, finishing sixth behind the two Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, who then moved into seventh after Russell was fifth quickest for Mercedes, then eighth after Bottas placed his Alfa Romeo in sixth.

It all came down to the final runs to decide if Sainz would get a first pole position. Sainz couldn’t improve on his previous time, leaving the door open for Leclerc. A good lap from Leclerc saw him take provisional pole as the checkered flag waved, but Perez was quickest of all in the mid-sector, putting Ferrari’s pole under threat.

Perez finished his lap to take pole position with a 1:28.000, just 0.025s ahead of the Ferraris. Only Verstappen had a realistic chance of denying his teammate his first career Formula 1 pole on his 215th attempt, but he couldn’t find enough time and was forced to settle for fourth, behind his teammate and the two Ferraris.

Ocon secured fifth on the grid for Alpine, with Russell sitting behind him in sixth, ahead of Alonso in seventh. Bottas took eighth for Alfa Romeo, with Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen completing the top ten grid positions.

Top 10 in Q3

1 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1’28.200
2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1’28.225
3 Carlos Sainz Jnr Ferrari 1’28.402
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’28.461
5 Esteban Ocon Alpine-Renault 1’29.068
6 george russell mercedes 1’29.104
7 Fernando Alonso Alpine-Renault 1’29.147
8 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo-Ferrari 1’29.183
9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri-Red Bull 1’29.254
ten Kevin Magnussen Haas-Ferrari 1’29.588

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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022

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