Saudi Arabian GP 2023

MARCH 18, 2023

Qualifying Report - Perez grabs pole, Verstappen falls out

Sergio Perez, Saudi Arabian GP 2023
© Red Bull

By Mark Karp

Sergio Perez secured pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix driving his Red Bull-Honda with a time of1m28.265s, while Max Verstappen, the favorite all weekend, fell out with a driveshaft issue during Q2. Verstappen had shown impressive speed in all three practice sessions and seemed to have the pole position locked up.

With Verstappen out, Perez took the opportunity to claim the pole position in Saudi Arabia for his second straight year. Charles Leclerc finished second with a 1m28.420s, two-tenths of a second behind, but will face a 10-place grid penalty due to using his third ECU of the season.

Fernando Alonso finished third at 1m28.730s, followed by George Russell in fourth (1m28.857s) and Carlos Sainz in fifth (1m28.931s), but all three will be moving up one place on the grid as they will benefit from Leclerc's penalty.

Lance Stroll finished sixth with a 1m28.945s, with Esteban Ocon seventh, Lewis Hamilton eighth, Oscar Piastri ninth, and Pierre Gasly completing the top ten.

Lando Norris was out after Q1 in 19th place after tapping the inside wall at the final turn and breaking his steering arm. Logan Sargeant ran a lap that would have boosted him into Q2, but it was disallowed for going out of bounds. In his second run the American spun and could not repeat the earlier lap.