Sergio Perez Starts on Pole For Saudi GP, Hamilton Out in Q1, Schumacher Crashes Heavily in Q2
Formula One

Sergio Perez overturned the pundit’s notebook to claim pole position for the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The favorite to start on pole was Charles Leclerc with Max Verstappen a close second followed by Carlos Sainz. But it was Perez who, for once, produced a lap out of nowhere to leapfrog both Ferraris. And, on this rare day, Perez also out-qualified world Chumpion teammate Max Verstappen. Verstappen has had the beating of Perez since Red Bull signed the Mexican. Perhaps the new generation of cars is suiting Perez’s gritty driving style. He seems to be closer to Verstappen’s pace this year than compared to the previous year.

In another rare event, Lewis Hamilton exited qualifying in Q1 and will start Sunday’s race from 16th. He later explained he had opted for a different setup strategy to that favored by his teammate. This change of direction upset the balance of his Mercedes and left him scratching his head shoulders, knees and toes. All at the same time.

Sergio Perez all smiles after claiming pole position for the 2022 Saudi Arabian GP

My prediction is that Hamilton will fare better early on in the race on a heavy fuel load. Nevertheless, George Russell deputized for Mercedes in Q3 and ended the session with 6th in the bag. Albeit over a second off the pace. He will be the meat in an Apline sandwich with Estaban Ocon ahead of him and Fernando Alonso behind.

Valtteri Bottas put in a good showing for Alfa Romeo with 8th. Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen rounded off the top 10 starters for Sunday’s race. McLaren regained some momentum with 11th and 12th for Norris and Ricciardo but must face the reality of being over 1.4 seconds off the pace.

Qualifying was red-flagged in Q2 as Mick Schumacher crashed heavily at speeds of up to 160mph. With minimal run-off areas and only concrete walls to protect him and the others from missile attacks, Schumacher learned the limits of pushing the limits in the hardest way possible.

Mick Schumacher, Saudi GP 2022 Q12 Crash

The Jeddah street circuit is a high-speed accident waiting to happen. Mick was apparently fine, but as a precaution, he was airlifted to the hospital where he will remain overnight for medical safety checks.

So, can Sergio Perez take his qualifying form into the race? Often he doesn’t, but he surprised everyone by securing pole position and he could repeat that form in the race. But as we always say, Sunday is when the points are awarded and lost.

Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022 – Qualifying

1 Sergio Perez Red Bull 1:28.200

2 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.025s

3 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 0.202s

4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 0.261s

5 Esteban Ocon Alpine 0.868s

6 George Russell Mercedes 0.904s

7 Fernando Alonso Alpine 0.947s

8 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo Racing 0.983s

9 Pierre Gasly AlphaTauri 1.054s

10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1.388s

11 Lando Norris McLaren 1:29.651

12 Daniel Ricciardo McLaren 1:29.773

13 Guanyu Zhou Alfa Romeo Racing 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

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