Sergio Pérez on pole ahead of Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton to start 16th after failed qualifying

At the end of the suspense, Sergio Pérez (Red Bull) set the fastest time in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Saturday March 26, and will start from pole position on Sunday (7:00 p.m.). The Mexican driver beat Ferrari’s doublet, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, at the finish. Defending champion Max Verstappen, Pérez’s teammate, will start in 4th position.

These qualifications were also marked by two racing incidents. On the one hand, the huge poor performance of Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time world champion was eliminated in the first session (Q1), and will therefore start in sixteenth position during the GP. Mick Schumacher (Haas) then suffered a spectacular crash, but ultimately harmless. His accident still delayed the end of qualifying by an hour.

It is the first time in his F1 career that Pérez, 32, has taken pole after a qualifying session. The Mexican, decisive in the coronation of Max Verstappen last year, showed that he was much more than a luxury teammate for the Dutchman at Red Bull. He overtook, on the wire, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, close to seizing the first two places. The two Ferrari drivers, authors of a resounding double last Sunday in Bahrain, will again start from an enviable position.

Quite the opposite of an outdated Lewis Hamilton, eliminated in Q1. A huge impact for the Briton, who had not experienced such a misfortune since… 83 Grand Prix. And again, he was off the track even before the first time validated on the line, during qualifying for the Brazilian GP, ​​in 2017. Surprisingly calm after his blunder, Hamilton broke into a laconic : “I’m sorry, guys”picked up by the radio of his stable.

He will start in an unenvious sixteenth place, which should, barring immense coincidences, compromise his chances of victory in Jeddah. On the other hand, the situation is better for the two French Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri), respectively 5th and 9th.

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