Perez takes pole position for Saudi Arabian GP 2023

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Perez takes pole position for Saudi Arabian GP 2023

Sergio Perez claimed pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix during an action-packed qualifying session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit after team mate and championship leader Max Verstappen dropped out in Q2 due to technical problems.

Verstappen was the firm favourite for pole position after leading the way in FP1, FP2, FP3 and the opening Q1 phase of qualifying, but a driveshaft issue that struck in Q2 means he will start Sunday’s race from 15th on the grid.

Perez picked up the pieces in Verstappen’s absence, posting a 1m 28.265 in the decisive Q3 phase to claim a second successive pole in the Kingdom, 0.155s ahead of Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc, who will lose 10 places due to an engine penalty.

Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin therefore jump up to the front row as their strong start to the season continues, followed by the lead Mercedes of George Russell, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and team mate Lance Stroll.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

A much stronger qualifying performance from Alpine saw them place seventh and 10th with Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly respectively, with Lewis Hamilton taking eighth in his Mercedes, and rookie Oscar Piastri impressing en route to P9 in his McLaren.

Haas and Alfa Romeo were unable to make it over the second qualifying hurdle, with Nico Hulkenberg ending up 11th from Zhou Guanyu, Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas, as Verstappen completed the list of drivers to drop out in Q2 amid his costly issues.

AlphaTauri lost both of their cars in Q1, with Yuki Tsunoda and Nyck de Vries taking P16 and P18 respectively – the latter ruing a mistake at the final corner of his final lap after missing FP3 due to a power unit change.

Alex Albon was the lead Williams in 17th, splitting up the two AlphaTauris, while Lando Norris was the biggest name to drop out in Q1 after hitting the Turn 27 wall and picking up steering damage that could not be fixed.

It was a messy second F1 qualifying session for Logan Sargeant, who lost his first lap for exceeding track limits, spun out during his second effort and finally encountered a technical problem on his final attempt – leaving him at the back of the grid without a time.

FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX 2023 – QUALIFYING

POS NO DRIVER CAR Q1 Q2 Q3 LAPS
1 11 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:29.244 1:28.635 1:28.265 18
2 16 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:29.376 1:28.903 1:28.420 19
3 14 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:29.298 1:28.757 1:28.730 18
4 63 George Russell MERCEDES 1:29.592 1:29.132 1:28.857 21
5 55 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:29.411 1:28.957 1:28.931 24
6 18 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:29.335 1:28.962 1:28.945 20
7 31 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:29.707 1:29.255 1:29.078 24
8 44 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:29.689 1:29.374 1:29.223 21
9 81 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:29.706 1:29.378 1:29.243 23
10 10 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 1:29.890 1:29.411 1:29.357 23
11 27 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 1:29.547 1:29.451 18
12 24 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:29.654 1:29.461 18
13 20 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:29.744 1:29.634 17
14 77 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:29.929 1:29.668 18
15 1 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:28.761 1:49.953 6
16 22 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:29.939 10
17 23 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:29.994 9
18 21 Nyck De Vries ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:30.244 10
19 4 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:30.447 4
NC 2 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 2:08.510 8

Q1 107% time – 1:34.974

Note – Leclerc penalised 10 grid places for the Grand Prix for use of additional power unit elements.

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