Can He Hold on for the Win? Perez snatches Jeddah pole as Verstappen suffers Q2 nightmare.

Welcome to our coverage of the qualifying session for the second race of the 2023 Formula One season, held in Saudi Arabia. With Max Verstappen starting as the favorite, all eyes were on him to secure pole position. However, things did not go as planned for the Dutchman, who encountered reliability issues and was knocked out in Q2 without setting a time. It was a dramatic and unpredictable session, with surprises and disappointments for several drivers, leading to an unexpected pole sitter for tomorrow’s race. Let’s dive into the details of what happened in Q1, Q2, and Q3.Q1:


The first segment of qualifying, Q1, is always a nail-biting affair in Formula 1. At a street circuit like the one in Saudi Arabia, where qualifying is all-important, the pressure is even greater. The slowest five cars are eliminated at the end of the 18-minute segment, and with gaps in the midfield incredibly tight, fractions of a second can make all the difference between making it through to Q2 and being knocked out.

In this particular race, Max Verstappen from Red Bull was the favourite to take pole position, having been fastest in all three practice sessions leading up to qualifying. However, there were a few surprises and issues during Q1.

Lando Norris from McLaren had issues with his car and spent much of the session in the pits. It was touch and go as to whether he would make it back out on the track and post a competitive time. Meanwhile, Nyck de Vries from AlphaTauri had a power unit issue earlier and sat out of FP3. He was the only rookie on the grid who had not driven on this circuit before, and the lack of track time was sure to be a disadvantage for him.

Ferrari also had some issues to contend with, with Charles Leclerc receiving a ten-place grid drop due to a third CE fitted to his car. The team had opted to fully change his power unit and his teammate’s car as a precaution, and there were radio messages from practice where Leclerc complained about various things not working quite right. It seemed that all might not be well with Ferrari.

On a positive note, Aston Martin had been performing well and looked to be Red Bull’s closest challengers. Fernando Alonso from Alpine was also making progress and managed to stay out on his original tyres despite a flat spot, setting an impressive fourth-fastest time.

As the clock counted down, the tension increased. The drop zone consisted of Tsunoda, de Vries, Gasly, Alonso, and Sargeant. Logan Sargeant from Williams had a small brush with the wall in FP3, but otherwise, everyone had managed to keep their sessions relatively clean.

In the end, Max Verstappen was the fastest, as expected, and went a full half a second quicker than his teammate. Perez from Red Bull was the only other driver within a second of Verstappen’s time, with Hamilton and Russell from Mercedes, and Stroll from Aston Martin rounding out the top five. 

Those eliminated in Q1 were Tsunoda, de Vries, Gasly, Sargeant, and Norris, who did not manage to get back out on track after issues with his car.

Q1 provided plenty of drama and excitement, with surprises and issues aplenty. It set the stage for what promised to be a thrilling qualifying session, with the top ten fighting it out for pole position in Q3.

Drivers Eliminated in Q1
de Vries


The second round of the 2023 Formula One World Championship came from Saudi Arabia, and all eyes were on Max Verstappen, the favorite to take pole position. However, things didn’t go as planned for the Dutchman, who suffered reliability issues in Q2 and was unable to set a time. This was a huge blow for Verstappen and his Red Bull team, who were looking to bounce back after a disappointing first round in Australia.

But the show must go on, and the battle for pole position continued. Gasly, starting from 14th, managed to secure P10 and knock out Hulkenberg. The Alfa pair and Sainz needed a lap to make it to the top 10, but Sainz was struggling and couldn’t improve on his flying run. With four minutes to go, Bottas was unable to improve, but Hamilton managed to move up to fifth on fresh soft tires.

As the rest of the drivers came out for their second runs, the question on everyone’s mind was who would grab pole position now that Verstappen was out. Alonso was on top with Leclerc, Stroll, and Hulkenberg close behind, but Hulkenberg’s time was deleted, pushing him out of the top 10.

Meanwhile, Verstappen was slowing down and reporting an issue with his car. On board replays showed that things didn’t sound healthy, and he had to put the engine into ‘limp home’ mode. This was a frustrating turn of events for Verstappen and Red Bull, who were hoping to start the race on the front row.

Despite Verstappen’s absence, the battle for pole position was still intense, with Alonso eventually taking the top spot with a lap time of 1m 28.757s on fresh rubber, nearly half a second clear of his teammate. Leclerc managed to split the two Aston Martin drivers, and Mercedes, on used tires, couldn’t compete.

All in all, Q2 proved to be a dramatic session, with unexpected twists and turns. While Verstappen’s absence was a significant blow to the Red Bull team, it also made for an exciting battle for pole position, with Alonso ultimately coming out on top. The stage is now set for an exciting race under the lights in Saudi Arabia.

Drivers who were eliminated in Q2:

Nico HulkenbergAston Martin11th
Guanyu ZhouAlpine12th
Kevin MagnussenGanassi13th
Valtteri BottasMercedes14th
Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda15th


With the first set of runs complete, Sergio Perez delivered an impressive lap time of 1m 28.265s, putting him nearly half a second clear of second place Charles Leclerc. But with fresh tyres on his car, could anyone challenge Perez’s time?

Fernando Alonso and George Russell made strong starts to their final runs, but ultimately couldn’t match Perez’s pace, settling for second and fourth respectively. Lewis Hamilton, who had struggled to match his teammate’s pace throughout qualifying, could only manage eighth on the grid.

The drama continued for Carlos Sainz, who was on track for a fast lap until he was blocked by Russell, costing him valuable time. Lance Stroll also had a chance to challenge Perez’s time, but a mistake in the final sector dropped him down to fifth.

In the end, it was Perez who claimed his second pole position of the season, much to the delight of the Red Bull team. Leclerc finished second on track, but his grid penalty means that Alonso will start alongside Perez on the front row of the grid.

It was a disappointing session for Max Verstappen, who was forced to retire from Q2 due to reliability issues. Verstappen had been considered a favorite for pole position, and his absence from the front of the grid is sure to shake up the championship battle.

So, with the grid set for tomorrow’s race, all eyes will be on the battle for victory in the desert. Can Perez convert his pole position into a race win? Will Alonso take advantage of his front row start to secure a podium finish? Or will Hamilton and Verstappen come charging through the field to fight for victory? Only time will tell, so make sure to tune in tomorrow for all the action!

The Top ten for tomorrows race:

1Sergio PEREZRed Bull Racing1:28.2656
2Charles LECLERCFerrari+0.1554
3Fernando ALONSOAston Martin+0.4655
4George RUSSELLMercedes+0.5926
5Carlos SAINZFerrari+0.6665
6Lance STROLLAston Martin+0.6804
7Esteban OCONAlpine+0.8135
8Lewis HAMILTONMercedes+0.9586
9Oscar PIASTRIMcLaren+0.9785
10Pierre GASLYAlphaTauri+1.0925

Is George Russell’s impressive performance in qualifying a sign of a new contender for Lewis Hamilton’s throne?


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