F1 Saudi GP: Perez takes pole after Verstappen suffers car problem

Sergio Perez claimed pole position for Sunday’s Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix to salvage pride for Red Bull after Max Verstappen was forced out of qualifying with a driveshaft failure in Q2.

The 33-year-old Mexican clocked a best lap in one minute 28.265 seconds to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who faces a 10-place grid penalty, by 0.155sec in a closely fought qualifying session.

It is Perez’s second career pole and second in Saudi Arabia, while Verstappen will start from 15th.

“Good job guys,” said Perez. “Hopefully, Max will be able to fight through in the race and we can enjoy a good result. We’ve got a good car and it’s a good circuit for me.”

As a result of Leclerc’s penalty, two-time champion Fernando Alonso will start from the front row of the grid for Aston Martin alongside Perez after winding up third fastest ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell and Carlos Sainz, who was fifth in the second Ferrari.

Lance Stroll was sixth in the second Aston Martin ahead of Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton in the second Mercedes and rookie Oscar Piastri of McLaren.

Pierre Gasly was 10th for Alpine.

“Red Bull are on a different planet,” said Leclerc, who will set off from 12th on the grid.