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Lewis Hamilton qualified as quickest for the 103rd time in his F1 career and scored pole position for tomorrow's first ever Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The Mercedes driver will start from P1 for 5th time this season. It was the 135th pole for the Mercedes F1 team.
The sun had set at the Red Sea for the first qualifying session for the first Saudi Arabian F1 GP ever. The Jeddah street circuit was light up by hundreds of floodlights. George Russell was ahead of the pack and put in the first lap time with the Williams. The Mercedes team had to switch the power unit in the back of Valtteri Bottas' car and was finished right on time for Q1.
After the first stint Lewis Hamilton was quickest with a 1:28.466 min. Hamilton had to drive two laps for it, because he made an error and had some traffic on his first run. With 5 minutes to go the driver in the drop zone were: George Russell (Williams), Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin), NIkita Mazepin (Haas) and Nicholas Latifi (Williams).
At the end of the session Bottas told his team his engine was misfiring and drove back to the pits. Only Russell improved enough to make it to Q2 for Williams.
All cars except the Williams of George Russell was fitted with the medium tyres to try and get into Q3. The tyre compound you drive the quickest lap time on in Q2 is the tyre you have to start the race on tomorrow. After the first run Verstappen was fastest with a 1:27.953 min which was the quickest lap time so far this weekend.
With 5 minutes to go the driver who had to improve to get into Q3 were: Russell, Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Carlos Sainz (Ferrari). Sainz lost it in turn 11 and almost crashed the ferrari in the barrier. The Spanish driver managed to keep the Ferrari out of the barrier, but did hit the barrier with the tip of the rear wing of the SF21.
Giovinazzi and Ocon improved enough to get into the final session for Q3 and pushed out Mclaren driver Daniel Ricciardo and Alfa Romeo driver Kimi Raikkonen.
In the last session for pole Hamilton was the first to try on the first stint. His teammate Bottas was quicker in the first section. The finnish driver pushed out a 1:28.143 min which was fastest up till then. Hamilton recovered and pushed out a 1:28.035 out of the W12. Verstappen had not put in a quick lap until then but went faster and got purple on all sectors to go fastest with a 1:27.653 min. Bottas was second, Hamilton 3rd and Perez was 4th. Best of the rest was Lando Norris on P5 with the McLaren.
On the second and last stint Verstappen pushed out two purple sectors and was over 2 tents quicker than Hamilton, but went wide in the last turn and hit the wall which ended his lap.
Qualifying Times 2021 Saudi Arabian GP
|3||33||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1:28.285||1:27.953||1:27.653||19|
|5||11||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1:28.021||1:27.946||1:28.123||23|
|10||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||1:28.899||1:28.616||1:28.754||21|
|12||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Alfa Romeo||1:28.856||1:28.885||18|
|15||55||Carlos Sainz Jr.||Ferrari||1:28.237||16|
|17||5||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||1:29.198||10|
|18||18||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||1:29.368||9|
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