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Sergio Perez

Perez takes Saudi pole after shock Verstappen qualifying elimination

Following a shock qualifying exit for Saudi Arabian GP favourite Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez swept up the pieces for Red Bull by beating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc to top spot in Jeddah.

Perez Saudi
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Sergio Perez secured back-to-back Saudi Arabian GP Formula 1 Pole Positions by defeating Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso.

The Mexican's lap time of 1:28.265 was over one tenth of a second faster than the Ferrari driver, who is carrying a ten-place grid penalty for the race.

As a result, Fernando Alonso will be promoted from third on the grid to second and will start as the main man to attack the wounded Red Bull team.

The firm favourite for the Saudi Arabian Pole Position was Max Verstappen, but the Dutchman - who had enjoyed a flawless weekend in practice - was eliminated in the second part of qualifying.

His RB19 developed a problem prior to setting a proper flying lap in Q2, with the car encountering a drop in power, possibly due to power unit, gearbox or driveshaft issues.

Verstappen was unable to complete qualifying, and is set to start the race in Jeddah from P15.

George Russell took fourth for Mercedes, remarkably ahead of the second Ferrari of Carlos Sainz, with Lance Stroll qualifying in sixth.

Esteban Ocon lead a strong day for Alpine with a P7 result, ahead of Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, McLaren's Oscar Piastri and teammate Pierre Gasly.

Ferrari-powered cars join Verstappen on Q2 sidelines

Along with Verstappen's P15 qualifying result in Q2, the remaining four knockout places were filled by Haas and Alfa Romeo drivers.

Haas' Nico Hulkenberg was 0.04s away from achieving back-to-back Q3 appearances for his new team, with Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu taking P12 ahead of Kevin Magnussen (Haas) and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo).

Disappointment for Norris and Williams

Yuki Tsunoda was the first of two AlphaTauri cars to be eliminated at the first hurdle. The Japanese driver lost out on a Q2 appearance by 0.01 of a second, finishing P16 behind Bottas in Q1.

Alex Albon had been hopeful of a strong Williams performance at the high-speed Jeddah track, but the Thai driver was less than one tenth of a second adrift of the Q2 cut, ahead of the second AlphaTauri of Nyck de Vries, who had a torrid time after missing FP3 with a power unit change.

Lando Norris' hopes of a more successful weekend were dealt an early blow when the Briton tagged the wall on the inside of Turn 27, the final corner.

The McLaren driver sustained damage to his left-front suspension, which could not be repaired in time to improve on his first flying lap.

Logan Sargeant endured a bizarre Q1 session. The American had originally set a lap time faster than teammate Albon in the opening exchanges, but his lap time was deleted, apparently after he crossed a white line when driving down the start-finish straight.

The Williams driver then spun on his second attempt, accidentally impeding his teammate in the process, before his final lap was ended by hopping over the kerbs and damaging the car.

Result Qualification - Saudi Arabian

# Driver Team Time Tyre
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F1 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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