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Perez scores stunning pole in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP qualifying; Hamilton out in Q1

Perez scores stunning pole in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP qualifying; Hamilton out in Q1

Perez scores stunning pole in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP qualifying; Hamilton out in Q1

Perez scores stunning pole in dramatic Saudi Arabian GP qualifying; Hamilton out in Q1

Sergio Perez has scored a stunning pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in a session disrupted by two red flags.

On the 215th time of asking, Perez took the first pole position of his F1 career to deny Ferrari a front-row lockout in Jeddah.

As well as being the first Mexican in F1 history to top a qualifying session, he also takes the record for the most races before scoring a first pole, Mark Webber the previous record holder after a wait of 130 races.

It had been Verstappen leading the Red Bull challenge on Ferrari for the majority of the session but the Dutchman will start fourth after falling 0.261secs off his team-mates one minute 28.200s.

It was a qualifying session, though, run against a backdrop of nervousness given just 24 hours earlier a terrorist strike had resulted in a missile hitting a nearby oil depot, leading to discussions over whether the race weekend would continue.

Despite concerns from the drivers, a number of whom were not keen to continue, four-and-a-half-hours of talks ultimately led to a consensus the show would go on.

Qualifying was disrupted by two red flags, Nicholas Latifi causing the first instance before Mick Schumacher caused a far longer stoppage with a heavy shunt in Q2.

The German was described as "conscious" at the scene but was later taken to the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital for precautionary checks.

Hamilton was the big-name exit in Q1 with the Mercedes driver unable to match the pace of team-mate George Russell, qualifying only 16th.

The seven-time champion joined Latifi, Alex Albon, Nico Hulkenberg and Yuki Tsunoda in failing to reach Q2, the latter failing to set a time after a fuel system problem.

After Schumacher's Q2 crash, Lance Stroll, Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo and Guanyu Zhou also made their exit from qualifying.

In the closing stages of Q3, Leclerc initially took provisional pole away from his Ferrari team-mate before Perez relegated the pair.

Russell will start sixth with Valtteri Bottas also extending his streak of Q3 appearances to qualify eighth.

Complete Saudi Arabian GP qualifying results

1. Sergio Perez [Red Bull] 1:28.200

2. Charles Leclerc [Ferrari] +0.025

3. Carlos Sainz [Ferrari] +0.202

4. Max Verstappen [Red Bull] +0.261

5. Esteban Ocon [Alpine] +0.868

6. George Russell [Mercedes] +0.904

7. Fernando Alonso [Alpine] +0.947

8. Valtteri Bottas [Alfa Romeo] +0.983

9. Pierre Gasly [AlphaTauri] +1.054

10. Kevin Magnussen [Haas] +1.388

11. Lando Norris [McLaren] 1:29.651

12. Daniel Ricciardo [McLaren] 1:29.773

13. Guanyu Zhou [Alfa Romeo] 1:29.819

14. Mick Schumacher [Haas] 1:29.920

15. Lance Stroll [Aston Martin] 1:31.009

16. Lewis Hamilton [Mercedes] 1:30.343

17. Alex Albon [Williams] 1:30.492

18. Nico Hulkenberg [Aston Martin] 1:30.543

19. Nicholas Latifi [Williams] 1:31.817

20. Yuki Tsunoda [AlphaTauri] No time set

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