Red Bull's Sergio Perez has secured his first Formula 1 pole position, as the veteran set a 1:28.200 on his final flying lap in qualifying in Jeddah – a time good enough to pip Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc by two-hundredths of a second.
Taking part in his 219th Grand Prix weekend after more than a decade in the sport, Perez's achievement was greeted with enthusiasm by the crowd in the grandstands as his rival drivers congratulated him and patted him on the back.
"Well, it took me a couple of races!" Perez laughed as he spoke to media after the session.
Having made up the time to beat Leclerc in the final sector of the lap, Perez said it was a particularly unique effort that he didn't think he could replicate.
"But what a lap! Unbelievable!" he continued.
"I could do 1,000 laps and I don't think I could beat that lap. It was unbelievable."
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Perez hoping to give Ferrari a headache
Given that the Scuderia looked set for a front-row lock-out until the final minutes of the session, Perez capitalised on a low-key performance from teammate Max Verstappen to lead the Red Bull charge.
As a result, he's hoping to be able to give Leclerc and Sainz a hard battle when the lights go out to start the race on Sunday afternoon, as he indicated the team concentrated their set-up preparation on longer runs.
"We weren't really expecting to match the Ferraris in qualifying," he admitted.
"We were focusing mainly on the race, so hopefully we can do it again tomorrow!"
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