Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2022

Perez snatches first career pole at 215th attempt in dramatic Jeddah qualifying

2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying

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Sergio Perez took his first pole position of his Formula 1 career after pipping Charles Leclerc at the end of a disrupted qualifying session in Saudi Arabia.

After an hour delay following a heavy crash for Mick Schumacher, Perez’s final effort of Q3 was enough to secure pole position by just 0.025s from Leclerc. Carlos Sainz Jnr will line up third on the grid ahead of world champion Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton will start from 16th on the grid after he was eliminated in Q1.


The first phase of qualifying began in cool conditions with track temperatures hovering around 16 degrees, but with much calmer winds than during the final practice session.

Both Ferraris of Leclerc and Sainz took to the track early, while the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell chose to attempt their first laps of the sessions on the medium tyres. However, Hamilton made a mistake through the fast left hander of turn four, ruining his first lap after it had only just begun.

The Haas pair of Kevin Magnussen and Schumacher were fastest in the early moments, before Sainz began setting purple sectors on his first attempt. However, he was not able to finish the lap as the session was red flagged due to Nicholas Latifi crashing the Williams into the tyre barrier at the long turn 13 hairpin.

Once Latifi’s car was recovered, the session was resumed with just over 11 minutes of time remaining. Verstappen immediately posted the quickest time of a 1’29.330, but he was soon beaten by both Ferraris with Leclerc and Sainz jumping to the top of the times.

Yuki Tsunoda was told to pit with the team warning him of a fuel issue on his AlphaTauri. The team were unable to get him back out and he was eliminated without setting a lap time.

In the final minutes, Hamilton was sitting on the cusp of elimination in 16th place. Despite reporting that he was unable to improve, Hamilton was able to go faster at the chequered flag, but only up to 15th. His time was immediately beaten by Lance Stroll in the Aston Martin, knocking him back down to 16th place and confirming his elimination from Q1.

Hamilton was joined in the dropzone by Alex Albon’s Williams and Nico Hulkenberg in the second Aston Martin. Latifi ended the session 19th following his accident, with Tsunoda in 20th and last after failing to set a time.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’30.343
17Alexander AlbonWilliams-Mercedes1’30.492
18Nico HulkenbergAston Martin-Mercedes1’30.543
19Nicholas LatifiWilliams-Mercedes1’31.817
20Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauriNo time set

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The second session began with all drivers using the soft tyres once more, except for Russell in the Mercedes who again opted for the medium tyres.

Leclerc went quickest in the early part of the session, with Perez less than half a tenth off from the Ferrari in second. Russell’s first lap on mediums was good enough to go third fastest, until he was shuffled down to seventh place as he was beaten by the likes of Verstappen, Sainz, Alonso and Bottas.

Esteban Ocon was frustrated when he was clearly blocked by Daniel Ricciardo during his hot lap through the fast sequence between turns four and 12. The stewards confirmed they will investigate the incident after qualifying.

With five minutes remaining in the session, qualifying was stopped for a second time after a frightening accident for Schumacher. After running over the kerbs on the exit of turn 10, Schumacher lost the rear of the car and skidded into the wall at high speed, suffering a violent impact that sent the destroyed Haas sliding into the opposite wall.

The session was suspended for a full hour as Schumacher was attended to by the Medical Car team. The Haas driver was extracted from the car under the FIA medical procedure and brought to the medical centre for examination. Thankfully, Haas confirmed that Schumacher was “physically in good condition,” but that their driver would be transported to a local hospital for further precautionary checks.

When the session restarted, Russell ventured back out onto the circuit with soft tyres. But despite the expected pace advantage of the red-walled tyres, he was unable to improve on his best time. Magnussen was able to improve and jump into the top ten, but Lando Norris could not find the time he needed to secure a a place in Q3.

Ricciardo improved but only enough to go 12th, just behind his team mate. Zhou Guanyu failed to find the time he needed to get into the top ten and was eliminated in 13th. The final two drivers to drop out of qualifying were Schumacher and Lance Stroll, who ended the session in 15th and slowest in the Aston Martin.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Lando NorrisMcLaren-Mercedes1’29.651
12Daniel RicciardoMcLaren-Mercedes1’29.773
13Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’29.819
14Mick SchumacherHaas-Ferrari1’29.920
15Lance StrollAston Martin-Mercedes1’31.009

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As it was in Bahrain, the final phase of qualifying would be a shootout between Ferrari and Red Bull for pole position.

Ferrari were the first of the frontrunners to set an initial hot lap, with Leclerc setting a 1’28.446. That was beaten by team mate Sainz, by just under half a tenth to give him the advantage between the pair heading into the second runs.

Red Bull followed, with Perez going into third place on his first attempt, a tenth-and-a-half away from Sainz’s provisional pole time. Verstappen endured a scruffy lap on his first effort, going sixth behind the two Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, which then became seventh after Russell went fifth fastest for Mercedes and then eighth after Bottas put his Alfa Romeo into sixth.

It all came down to the final runs to decide whether Sainz would secure a maiden pole position. Sainz could not improve over his previous time, leaving the door open for Leclerc. A strong lap from Leclerc saw him take provisional pole as the chequered flag flew, but Perez went fastest of all in the middle sector, putting Ferrari’s pole under threat.

Perez finished off his lap to take pole position with a 1’28.000, just 0.025s ahead of the Ferraris. Only Verstappen was left with a realistic chance to deny his team mate his first career pole in Formula 1 at his 215th attempt, but he could not find enough time and was forced to settle for fourth, behind his team mate and the two Ferraris.

Ocon secured fifth on the grid for Alpine, with Russell sitting behind him in sixth, ahead of Alonso in seventh. Bottas took eighth place for Alfa Romeo, with Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen rounding out the top ten positions on the grid.

Top ten in Q3

1Sergio PerezRed Bull1’28.200
2Charles LeclercFerrari1’28.225
3Carlos Sainz JnrFerrari1’28.402
4Max VerstappenRed Bull1’28.461
5Esteban OconAlpine-Renault1’29.068
6George RussellMercedes1’29.104
7Fernando AlonsoAlpine-Renault1’29.147
8Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo-Ferrari1’29.183
9Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri-Red Bull1’29.254
10Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’29.588

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2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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35 comments on “Perez snatches first career pole at 215th attempt in dramatic Jeddah qualifying”

  1. This Track calls for brave or foolhadry drivers. Those with wiser heads electing to save their powder for another day. That might have been all the difference today.

    Hamilton’s sixth sense warning him not push, shortly before that Schumacher crash.

    1. Sure. In real life Hamilton has a screwed up setup, Verstappen had issues with brand new tyres just like Sainz.

      1. it is purely car since even perez can get a pole in that rocket ship. if you were to put mazepin in it, he couldnt mess up :)

        people who gets pole and get good results are due to purely car… no talent needed as perez demonstrated today /s

        1. Exactly put, just like no talent needed to win all that world championships in the Mercedes rocket during their dominance

        2. Naughty Neutral
          26th March 2022, 21:58

          So… You’re saying LH got 6 of the 7 WDCs purely thx to the car?

          1. All the WDCs, all the race wins, all the poles, all the achievements. The car, and also the usual bending of the rules in its favor

    2. No he was just slow.

  2. Super well done t0 Perez sooooo happy for him. Most deserved. And to set up car for the race and get pole. wow!!!

  3. Alpine is a little bit better here, but in race I expect them at least 1.5s off the pace.
    Alonso is old and slow, no race pace, no qualifying pace. Alpine should put Piastri in that car.

    1. Huh? He’s four hundredths of George Russell. Old maybe, but definitely not slow.

  4. Russell almost a second off Perez. Mercedes have produced a mid-field car. The car is visibly so tricky to drive, last weekend Russell was nowhere and this weekend it is Hamilton struggling.

    Still high chances of Safety cars and Red flags so chance for everyone to get lucky tomorrow.

    1. @amg44

      Mercedes have produced a mid-field car.

      Indeed just now it looks very midfieldy. A bit like Ferrari after their engine was neutered.

      1. no they have sandboxes under the cover :) they are just downplaying their car as always…

        1. Tell them the season started already.

          1. He is definitely sarcastic. Yes, I’m surprised this mercedes struggles to comprehensively beat other cars than ferrari and red bull.

    2. Maybe they need to improve a bit, to reach actual midfield.

    3. I think this track is really bad for them, I think they’ll be solidly third fastest most weekends (assuming they can’t achieve parity)

  5. What a lap by Pérez, especially in the final sector! Finally he put everything together and snatched pole from the Ferraris.
    Leclerc will be kicking himself for this missed opportunity. He made a small error at the start of S2 on his final lap and didn’t have a particularly good final sector as well. Pole was definitely possible today for Ferrari.
    As for Verstappen, just like in Bahrain he had a messy Q3, not being able to extract the best from the tyres when it counted. P4 isn’t ideal for Max, as he has two Ferraris in front of him.
    Great laps by both Alpines, Russell, Bottas and Gasly as well. The midfield is so closely matched, especially at an engine circuit like Jeddah, that every little mistake can cost you 3 or 4 places on the grid.
    I’m glad Mick Schumacher hasn’t suffered any major injuries from his crash, as the shunt looked really nasty. Hopefully he is O.K. and will be back soon. Fingers crossed!
    A tough day in the office for Lewis Hamilton. He seemed to have very little confidence in the car, especially through S1, because he was 0.75 down on Russell in Q1, on the same tyres. That’s anything but normal for a guy of Lewis’ caliber. He is in for a tough GP tomorrow, also because his car doesn’t have great top speed.

    1. Regarding Lewis and the race, I agree with you @srga91. The official F1 site talks about Lewis’s charge at the race, even mentioning the Sprint race in Brazil, but he has nowhere near the speed and engine advantage he had in Brazil. And I always think about Bottas struggles when fighting in the midfield, because to me Mercedes were so used to be up front in the clear air and just fighting (mostly) one other car (Verstappen) that they suffered a bit when driving a lot behind other cars in dirty air. This year is a bit different, the dirty air, but also Mercedes has a much closer pace to the midfield. Hamilton will make a difference, but without the pace advantage he was used, it will be much tougher. Also if he lacks confidence in the car as you correctly put it, he will have second thoughts about “throwing” his car for some daring overtakes. No doubt it will be interesting to watch, but I doubt it will be anything like Brazil’s Sprint race. My bet is that it will be actually a disappointing charge with 50% chances he will be involved in a crash or incident that will make him lose additional time.

  6. So happy for Checo!

  7. Leclerc lap looked great. Even Greater for Checo to beat it!

  8. Wow Checo!! 🔥🔥🔥

  9. So little comments? I am waiting for Hamilton apologists… But they too are slow today.

    Unlike mr Saturday, who dragged that Mercedes very high on the timing sheet.

    Quite a few drivers struggled, Max, Lewis both did a seemingly great lap but were nowhere near their teammates.

    1. Lewis both did a seemingly great lap but were nowhere near their teammates

      @jureo Sounds like you’re doing the apology bit yourself?! You’re right, Hamilton was handling the car fine, the problem was being down on top speed and acceleration out of the corners. A great driver in an average car with a poor set-up maybe (which would be partly down to himself, obviously).

      1. Yup, I am just pointing out the facts.. Lap was good, laptime was bad.

        Unless he was underdriving the car… But we are talking #1 pole holder of all time. Chances are car and setup were bad.

        Also this this is not the kind of track Lewis can make a big diference.

  10. Happy for perez, 25 thousandths, so close, there was another pole chance he had last year I believe, was on pole till q3 was about to end, then lost it, so finally, after over 200 races I didn’t think he was ever gonna get a pole.

    1. Yeah he nearly got pole at the second race of 2021 in Imola. He made a tiny mistake at the last corner and missed out by 0.035.. This time he takes pole by 0.025. Such fine margins. I’m glad he finally got pole position as he has been within a couple of tenths of pole a few times last year, but it was the Lewis and Max show.

  11. Pleased for Ferrari again. Mid field changed dramatically. Consistency will win the championship this year.

  12. Congrats!!! Checo that crazy driving style of yours finally paid off. In a track where you need big ones. Unbelievable hope you win tomorrow.

  13. Happy for Perez, as well as Alpines, Bottas and Magnussen. Alfa and Haas have really taken big steps this season.

  14. petebaldwin (@)
    27th March 2022, 10:19

    Well done Perez. I’ll hold my hands up and say I was really giving up on him and was starting to think Gasly should be given a shot in the Red Bull but that’s the perfect response. More of the same going forward Checo! I don’t expect him to be beating Max regularly but he’s got to reduce the average gap.

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