Sergio Perez starts the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on pole position, the first of his career.
Perez pulled out “the lap of my life” on the final run in Q3 to best teammate Max Verstappen and both Ferraris.
“I can do a thousand laps and I don’t think I can beat that lap,” he said.
He starts alongside championship leader Charles Leclerc on the front row. Carlos Sainz starts third while Verstappen is fourth.
Celebrations are slightly muted than what everyone would like them to be.
Mick Schumacher crashed hard during Q2, smacking his Haas against the concrete barrier before being airlifted to hospital. Early checks suggest there are no apparent injuries.
Still, the session was paused for nearly an hour as recovery crews fixed barrier damage.
But the drama began even before the accident. Lewis Hamilton failed to advance out of Q1, qualifying 16th.
It’s the first time Hamilton was eliminated in Q1 since Brazil, 2017.
That day, Hamilton crashed without setting a competitive lap time. Today, he was just slow.
“There’s something wrong,” he said. “I don’t know what it is and I can’t comment. I had no rear end.”
Whatever the issue is, it hasn’t spread to the other side of the pit garage. George Russell made it to the final qualifying segment and starts the Grand Prix from sixth.
Hamilton suggested he might consider starting the race from the pitlane. This will allow the Mercedes team to tweak the car between now and then.
Both Alpine cars start in the top ten, with Esteban Ocon the lead Pink Panther in fifth.
Valtteri Bottas continues a strong run of form at his new Alfa Romeo outfit, qualifying P8.
He starts ahead of Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen, who is expected to be the lone Haas for the race.
|3||Carlos Sainz Jr.||1m28.402s|