Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia, and for the first time in the category’s history, Jeddah will host a Formula 1 race. Mercedes blamed a mistake made by its competitors in achieving second place, while Valtteri Bottas started in second place.
The Mercedes driver was fortunate to have finished 103rd in his career. Max Verstappen was very fast on his last lap in Q3 and was already in pole position when he hit the wall in the last corner. As a result, the Red Bull driver had to settle for third on the grid.
Ferrari would start fourth with Charles Leclerc, while Carlos Sainz ended up winning in the second quarter and disqualified from the third. The Spaniard will start in 15th place.
Pierre Gasly confirmed the good character and his Alpha Toure moment in Saudi Arabia and will start in sixth place. The Frenchman shares the third row with Sergio Perez, with the Mexican starting fifth.
Lando Norris, of McLaren, and Yuki Tsunoda, of AlphaTauri, form the fourth row of the grid, respectively at P7 and P8.
Esteban Ocon, of the Alps, and Antonio Giovinazzi, of Alfa Romeo, completed the top ten in ninth and tenth positions.
George Russell was the first to set a time in the first quarter, but was quickly overtaken by teammate Nicholas Latifi.
Having led Antonio Giovinazzi and Esteban Ocon momentarily, Lando Norris took charge of the P1.
Max Verstappen scored 1:28.659s to lead the session. All the riders on the track were wearing the soft vehicles.
Lewis Hamilton missed the first round and aborted his role. On the second attempt, the Mercedes driver clocked 1:28,466 to take the lead in Q1.
Norris climbed to second, but Bottas overtook the McLaren driver by 60 parts over Hamilton.
Carlos Sainz clocked 1:28.330 seconds and beat Hamilton in 0.136 seconds to lead the first quarter with eight minutes left.
Among those excluded are Aston Martin duo Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll and Latifi and Haas duo Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin.
Verstappen secured P1 with 1:28,285 seconds, just 45 milliseconds faster than Sainz, but Bottas clocked 1:28,057 – his best time of the weekend – to take the lead five minutes before the end of the first quarter.
Perez made it to P1 by scoring 1:28.021 seconds, with the eighth lap of his soft tyre. At the moment, only 0.9 seconds separate the first-quarter leader from Giovinazzi, who is in 13th place.
Verstappen was fast approaching and seemed ready to reclaim P1, but Bottas had an engine problem and it hampered Dutch traffic.
Latifi, Vettel, Stroll, Schumacher and Mazepin were eliminated in the first quarter.
Perez scored his first in Q2, but Verstappen was fastest on the weekend with 1:27,953 seconds, first in 1:27s – using medium tyres.
Hamilton passed and was 0.7secs behind Verstappen in third. Leclerc put the title candidates on P2. Over the radio, the Mercedes driver complained about the instability.
Sainz rotated and touched the wall with the back of his Ferrari. Verstappen also missed the guards and almost hit them. The Spaniard returned to the pit but was unable to make a quick lap in the second quarter after another foul in the same corner.
Hamilton moved up to second, 0.115sec behind Verstappen.
Five minutes before the end of the second quarter, Perez led with a time of 1:27.946 seconds. Just seven milliseconds separated leader Perez from second-placed Verstappen.
Before resetting the clock, Hamilton took the lead in the second quarter with a time of 1:27.712. He is more than twenty ahead of rival Verstappen, who finished third.
It was the highlight of Giovinazzi. The Italian driver finished Q2 in 10th place and put Alfa Romeo into the competition for the Q3 pole.
Among those eliminated are Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Russell and Sainz.
Verstappen clocked 1:27.653 seconds to lead Q3. Hamilton was 0.382sec behind, while Bottas was second, 0.321sec behind the Red Bull driver.
Hamilton led with a time of 1:27.511 seconds. Verstappen still had time to open another fast lap. The Dutchman made the first and second place among the drivers, but missed the last corner and hit the wall, handing the first column to Hamilton.
Check starting grid for Saudi F1 GP:
1) Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1’27.511
2) Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 1’27.622
3) Max Verstappen (Red Bull / Honda) 1’27,653
4) Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) 1’28.054
5) Sergio Perez (Red Bull / Honda) 1’28.123
6) Pierre Gasly (Alfa Toure / Honda) 1’28.125
7) Lando Norris (McLaren/Mercedes) 1’28.180
8) Yuki Tsutaka (AlphaTauri/Honda) 1’28.442
9) Esteban Ocon (Alpine/Renault) 1’28.647
10) A. Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo / Ferrari) 1’28.754
11) Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren/Mercedes) 1’28.668
12) Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo/Ferrari) 1’28.885
13) Fernando Alonso (Alpine/Renault) 1’28.920
14) George Russell (Williams/Mercedes) 1’29.054
15) Carlos Sainz Jr (Ferrari) 1’53,652
16) Nicholas Latifi (Williams/Mercedes) 1’29.177
17) Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin/Mercedes) 1’29.198
18) Lance Stroll (Aston Martin/Mercedes) 1’29.368
19) Mick Schumacher (Haas/Ferrari) 1’29.464
20) Nikita Mazepin (Haas/Ferrari) 1’30.473
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