Verstappen gets another pole ahead of Leclerc at Saudi Arabia

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Saudi Arabia, Jeddah Street Circuitsa

Qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix did not provide many surprises as Max Verstappen was fastest once again. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc will join him on the front row of tomorrow's starting grid, making it the 6th consecutive time they lock out the front row among them.

Qualifying started with a flurry of action as many drivers were eager to get a lap in early in the session. The Alpines were out first as they queued at the end of the pitlane, soon followed by Bottas while his team mate Zhou remained stuck in the garage as his mechanics continued to work on his car following the damage incurred in a crash in FP3.

Initially it was Alonso and Piastri who exchanged the top of the timing sheet but Verstappen improved on that as soon as he set a time. The Mercedes duo meanwhile opted to do their first runs on the medium compound tyres. Stroll was also among the front runners but then saw his best time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Towards the end of the session everybody made a second run, including Verstappen though most front runners opted to do that second run on previously used softs whereas Mercedes obviously used fresh ones.

Zhou made it out on track too but he was just too late to start his flying lap, therefore returning to the pits without a timed lap set. He got ousted along with the Alpine duo, Sargeant and Bottas. Alexander Albon was the slowest to make it through, 0.936s away from Verstappen and just 0.07s ahead of Bottas.

9 cars then queued up to immediately start Q2 with Russell, Hamilton, Norris and Piastri out first. Magnussen was up next and the only other car able to complete his flying lap before the session was stopped. Hulkenberg reported a loss of power early on in his flying lap and had to park his car. This left both Ferraris with no option but to abort their flying laps while Sergio Perez returned to the pits before completing his out-lap.

The session was restarted with 11 minutes left on the clock. This time it was Bearmann who took to the track first. The rookie replacing for Sainz couldn't make use of the clear track as a braking mistake triggered him to abort his lap to try another time.

Perez was the first one to set a time after the stoppage. He went fastest but was then toppled by Verstappen by more than 4 tenths. Alonso soon jumped in between the two Red Bulls, just 0.044s slower than the World Champion. Leclerc did a similar feat half a minute later by going third fastest, a tenth behind Verstappen, pushing Perez down to fourth. Stroll ended up 5th ahead of Russell who had the fastest time of those who recorded a laptime before the break by Hulkenberg.

Little more than three minutes before the session's end both McLarens completed another run and ended up 4th and 5th This sent Hamilton in the danger zone while Bearmann kissed the wall on his second effort and ended up 11th.

As Bearmann tried one last time, Hamilton improved to 8th. Albon also recorded an improvement but it was only good for 12th. Tsunoda then improved again to 8th with Hamilton narrowly making it into Q3 by just 0.036 seconds.

Bearmann ended up 11th, followed by Albon, Magnussen, Ricciardo and of course Hulkenberg as the German couldn't complete a timed lap due to technical problems.

Hamilton went out to go first in Q3 but as he has not been feeling comfortable with his Mercedes this weekend yet, Russell appeared faster through the lap and indeed went on to be half a second ahead of his team mate. The McLarens were slower than Russell but pushed Hamilton down.

Alonso then toppled everyone so far but when the Red Bulls crossed the line it was Verstappen topping the timing sheet, 0.335s ahead of Perez and 0.516s faster than Alonso. Leclerc was the last to complete his flying lap and was 8 tenths slower than Verstappen, good only for 4th.

For the second laps Hamilton was again out first but it was again all but impressive. Leclerc jumped up into second when he crossed the line. Alonso had another solid lap with improvements in all sectors but it wasn't enough to gain a position, settling into 4th behind Perez and ahead of the McLarens who are set to start on the third row.

Mercedes will complete the 4th row on the grid ahead of Tsunoda and Stroll.


11Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:28.1711:28.0331:27.47218
216Charles LeclercFerrari1:28.3181:28.1121:27.79123
311Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda Rbpt1:28.6381:28.4671:27.80719
414Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:28.7061:28.1221:27.84617
581Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes1:28.7551:28.3431:28.08922
64Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes1:28.8051:28.4791:28.13222
763George RussellMercedes1:28.7491:28.4481:28.31622
844Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:28.9941:28.6061:28.46024
922Yuki TsunodaRb Honda Rbpt1:28.9881:28.5641:28.54718
1018Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes1:28.2501:28.5781:28.57219
1138Oliver BearmanFerrari1:28.9841:28.64218
1223Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes1:29.1071:28.98016
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:29.0691:29.02017
143Daniel RicciardoRb Honda Rbpt1:29.0651:29.02512
1527Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari1:29.055DNF10
1677Valtteri BottasKick Sauber Ferrari1:29.1799
1731Esteban OconAlpine Renault1:29.47510
1810Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault1:29.4799
192Logan SargeantWilliams Mercedes1:29.5269
NC24Zhou GuanyuKick Sauber FerrariDNF2