Perez ‘couldn’t repeat Jeddah pole lap with 1,000 tries’

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Sergio Perez says the lap which earned him the first pole position of his 11-year career was one of the best he has ever driven.

The Red Bull driver snatched pole away from Charles Leclerc in the dying moments of qualifying at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

He has started 214 races previously without ever taking a pole position, and only achieved his first front row start last year.

“It took me a couple of races, no?” joked Perez. “But what a lap. I can do a thousand laps and I don’t think I can beat that lap, it was unbelievable.”

Perez was third behind the Ferraris when the final runs began, and beat Leclerc to pole by just two hundredths of a second.

“We weren’t really expecting to match the Ferraris in qualifying, we were focussing mainly on the race,” he said. “So hopefully we’ll get them tomorrow.”

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said he was “so pleased for Checo” after his “incredible” pole position.

“He’s working harder than ever,” Horner told Sky. “That lap was mighty. You could see him coming, the Ferraris put down such a competitive marker.

“For Checo to go and do that, only the second time I think he’s out-qualified Max, to put in a lap here, the hardest, most dangerous circuit that we go to, an unbelievable performance form him.”

Perez was out-qualified by Verstappen 20 times in 21 qualifying head-to-heads last year. However Horner believes the RB18, which is built to radically altered technical regulations, suits him better.

“I think the car this year is more suited to his style,” said Horner. “It’s not quite as quirky as last year’s car and he’s done a good job with it.”

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
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    16 comments on “Perez ‘couldn’t repeat Jeddah pole lap with 1,000 tries’”

    1. Leclerc’s final lap was fantastic, Perez beating it was a truly amazing sight. I’m finding it difficult to imagine now how Perez leads from the front of the grid with zero reference to go on!

      1. @david-br

        I thought Perez look slow through the final corner compared to Leclerc. His straightline speed saved him bigtime there. My boi Sergio proving me wrong and showing what happens when you have a car that both drivers can drive.

      2. Leclerc’s lap was not one of his best as he lost time in the last sector. May be he and team did not except a miracle from Perez and take it easy on the 3rd sector.

        1. No driver ever takes it easy in Q3 in any sector

          1. I think you have been watching waterpolo before jump to f1.

    2. Any chance this pole is a sacrificial one?
      I mean, Horner says they are focusing on the race pace. Even if the car suits Perez better, Verstappen performance was very off. RedBull principals didnt look very elated by Checo’s pole.
      I wonder whether they sacrifice Perez race, setting up the his car to the quali, to give Verstappen an additional strategy option, because, unless there is someone in front of the Ferraris, RB would simply be slower.

      1. @Gusmaia Possible.

    3. never say something like that checo, don’t give marko ideas.

    4. It’ll be interesting to see how Max handles the situation if Sergio can be consistently challenging him. Early days obviously but certainly looking promising for Perez. 2018 would be the last time he was properly challenged by a teammate but they weren’t consistently fighting for poles and wins. Similar situation at Mercedes!

      1. We can hope that Max and Sergio will feed off each other, in a positive way, as the season progresses.
        They seem to get along, the team likes Checo and as Horner points out, he is working hard at it.
        The expectation is that the two of them will both do great stuff and get along as Team-Mates should. Max will probably excel at the more conventional tracks, but Checo seems to like the fast stuff.
        Gonna be great to watch.

    5. Epic lap Checo Congratulations!, Legend!

    6. Mr Scallywag
      27th March 2022, 4:58

      Big thanks to Checo for the curve ball. In the olden days I think this result uncertainty was more normal. It’s ironically a refreshing change, this trip down memory lane.

    7. Never thought checo could get a single pole with max as his teammate.

      1. That’s not impossible if you think about it, ricciardo beat verstappen to a couple of poles in 2018, once when verstappen crashed before quali in monaco and once by a few thousandths in mexico.

      2. I just never thought perez would get a single pole since he isn’t generally a good qualifier.

    8. Perez 2022 WDC, I’m calling it!!!

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