Hamilton grabs pole for Saudi Grand Prix

Sports Desk, Dec 4 (EFE).- British seven-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) claimed a record-extending 103rd pole Saturday in qualifying for the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia, the penultimate race of the 2021 season.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas was second as Mercedes notched another front-row lockout, while Max Verstappen (Red Bull) had to settle for third.

The Dutchman was on pace to finish ahead of the Mercedes duo until he hit the wall in Q3 on the final turn of his last lap around the brand-new Jeddah Corniche Circuit, which boasts the largest number of curves of any track in F1.

Hamilton currently trails Verstappen by just 8 points in the driver standings and a victory on Sunday in Jeddah could give the reigning champion a narrow edge heading into next weekend’s season finale in Abu Dhabi.

Monaco’s Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) was fourth-fastest in Q3, followed by Verstappen’s teammate, Sergio “Checo” Perez of Mexico, Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Briton Lando Norris (McLaren).

The other half of the AlphaTauri team, Yuki Tsunoda of Japan, took eighth place. Rounding out the top 10 were France’s Esteban Ocon (Alpine) and Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo).

EFE arh/dr

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