Red Bull’s Perez takes pole for Saudi Grand Prix

Sports Desk, Mar 18 (EFE).- Sergio “Checo” Perez (Red Bull) grabbed pole position for the Formula One Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia during Saturday’s qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The Mexican also won pole for last year’s Saudi Grand Prix.

His Dutch teammate, defending F1 champion Max Verstappen, had dominated all three free practice sessions and was the fastest in Q1 before suffering a driveshaft failure that kept him out of Q3.

Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) was second in Q3, less than two-tenths of a second behind Checo, but the Monaco driver will start from 12th on Sunday due to a 10-place grid penalty for changes to the power unit.

The sanction for Leclerc sees the nine drivers who finished behind him move up, starting with Spanish two-time champion Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin) in P2.

At 41, Alonso is the oldest competitor on the F1 circuit.

Occupying the second row will be Briton George Russell (Mercedes) and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), followed by Canada’s Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine).

British seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton is to start from P7, alongside Australian F1 rookie Oscar Piastri (McLaren). France’s Pierre Gasly (Alpine) and German Nico Hülkenberg complete the top 10.

Verstappen, set to begin from 15th on the grid, will have his work cut out as he tries to follow up on his victory in Bahrain in the season’s first race.

The 25-year-old Dutchman is in pursuit of a third consecutive driver’s championship. EFE arh/dr

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