Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez will start Sunday’s Saudi Arabia Grand Prix at the Jeddah circuit. The Mexican set a fastest time of 1:28.265s and is joined on the front row by the Aston Martin Aramaco Cognizant F1 Team’s Fernando Alonso who says he is targeting victory in Sunday’s race.
“All in all we have to be very happy with starting on the first row of the grid tomorrow. It is a very different circuit compared to Bahrain and to see us fighting in Q3 again is a positive sign. The track did evolve during the session, but maybe not as much as we anticipated, especially from Q2 to Q3. Our strength in this package has been on the long runs, so hopefully we can optimise this as much as possible tomorrow. It is very tight between a number of teams so tomorrow will be an interesting battle for sure. But with both cars starting inside the top five positions, our main goal is to come away from this race with as many points as possible.”
Charles Leclerc had qualified in second place but will start the race from P12 following a ten-place grid penalty. George Russell starts the race from third place for the Mercedes AMG PETRONAS F1 Team starts the race from third place and speaking after the action in which he set a 1:28.857she said:
We have exceeded the potential and our own expectations to be ahead of an Aston Martin and a Ferrari. It is a solid job; we put in a lot of work overnight. The team back at Brackley were working hard in the simulator and we did a lot of work trackside this morning to try and get more out of the package. We know we are not in the fight for pole just yet, but you have to maximise what you’ve got, and we certainly did that today. We have a fight on our hands tomorrow, most likely with the Aston Martins and the Ferraris. We will be pushing hard to get on the podium and seeing what we can do. This Team has higher standards and expectations for themselves than just finishing in the top three, but we will be giving everything we’ve got to be standing there on Sunday.
Carlos Sainz ironically benefits from his team-mate’s misfortune and starts the race from fourth place just ahead of Lance Stroll who spoke following the action he commented saying:
“The team delivered a really strong qualifying performance today and we have put ourselves in a great position to fight for a good haul of points in the race tomorrow. We were not sure whether the pace we saw in Bahrain would translate to such a different circuit here in Jeddah, but the car felt good and we were able to keep pushing the limits throughout qualifying. My final lap was going well, and I went purple in the first sector, but I made a small mistake at Turn 22 and lost two or three tenths. Still, starting fifth is a good result; we have a competitive race car, and there is all to play for tomorrow.”
Esteban Ocon starts the race from sixth place for the Alpine F1 Team while seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton starts the race from seventh place and speaking following the action he commented saying:
I struggled a little bit today, but we just need to keep trying. No matter what changes we’ve been making, we’ve been struggling to extract the speed, and I just don’t feel properly connected to the car at the moment. That is something we will work on to improve the confidence in the next races. George did a great job today though and he wasn’t that far off some of the cars at the front, so we just need to keep pushing. It wasn’t the greatest of days but there are improvements for the Team. Tomorrow is a new day, and we will keep working at it.
It was a great session for McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who starts the race from P8 following the fastest time of 1m29.243s speaking following the action, the Australian commented saying:
“P8 on the grid! It was nice to get into Q3. I’m super happy to be in the top ten and it was a good experience to do all three quali sessions. Now we’ll work hard to make the most of this position and bring home a positive result in the race tomorrow.”
Pierre Gasly starts the race from ninth, just ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who rounded out the top ten for the MoneyGram Haas F1 Team with a time of 01:29.451s. Zhou Guanyu starts the race on the 11th spot on the grid with a time of 01:29.461s. Speaking following the action he said:
“I am quite happy with our performance today, and overall, satisfied about the step up in qualifying I made from Bahrain. There were no mistakes, and I was able to maximise everything I had. Unfortunately, we fell a bit short of Q3, and it is obviously frustrating to miss out on our target for just half a tenth. Nevertheless, I think we made a step forward as a team from where we were at the start of the weekend. The aim, like in every race, is to get in the mix for the top ten and bring home points – I think we can achieve that tomorrow.”
Charles Leclerc starts the race from 12th just ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Valtteri Bottas who commented following the action saying:
“The team did a good job, making improvements step by step throughout the weekend, and I think qualifying was the most positive session I have had so far: overall, pretty smooth. We were close to making it into Q3, and the car felt good, which gives me confidence ahead of the race. On the whole, our weekend had been a bit challenging until now, with some pace lacking in qualifying conditions: today was an improvement, and if we can have good race pace, we can be hopeful to put up a good fight tomorrow. Points are always the target and I am confident it’s a realistic one.”
Defending champion Max Verstappen will have his work cut out for him from P15 following a mechanical issue with his drive shaft. Speaking following the action, the Dutch driver said:
“The driveshaft broke out of turn 10 on the right rear so that was it for qualifying. It happened really out of the blue, we hadn’t had any issues before that. It was annoying because the car was good up until then, I was comfortable in every session and every time I was on the track, I was quick, so for sure we could have fought for pole. Instead, we now have a bit more work ahead of us tomorrow but it is what it is, it is a long Championship and we will stay positive. I think a win is tricky from that position but I will try to score as many points as possible. It will be hard to get to the front, but we won’t give up. Anything is possible at this track, we have seen some crazy things here, but we have to be realistic. It will be tough but we have good pace so, for sure, we will move forward.”
Yuki Tsunoda starts the race in 16th place. Speaking following the action, he commented saying:
“We ended up P16, one-hundredth of a second from P15. It is definitely a shame, but I’m happy with the lap I put together and how we progressed throughout qualifying. As for the car itself, we have to find some more grip and performance to consistently get into Q2 and Q3. Overall, I think we could benefit from what we learnt over the last couple of days, so the team did a good job there. Tomorrow is a new day and I hope the race pace will be good. My main target will be to focus on myself, give one hundred per cent, and score some points!”
Alex Albon starts the race from P17 for the Williams team, and speaking following the action he commented saying:
We struggled with the rear tyres in qualifying, so we’ll have a look and understand why. We’ve been quick all weekend so it’s just frustrating. Looking to tomorrow, we have a decent car in the race so I think we can do a good job. Today is obviously disappointing but hopefully we can turn something around for tomorrow.
Nyck De Vries will start the race from P18 and Lando Norris. Logan Sargeant rounds out the grid for Williams. Speaking following the action, the American said:
I put in a very fast lap but it was deleted as I crossed the pitlane entry by a margin. There was no performance gain so it’s frustrating, but I still had two more laps to deliver and I didn’t, so my apologies go to the team as they deserved more today. We need to take the positives from today, put this behind us and bounce back. The car is quick, we have a lot of straight-line speed and fortunately it can be a crazy race here in Jeddah and there can be a lot of positions to pick up. Although I’ve given myself a lot more work than I needed to, I’m quite optimistic about tomorrow and I’ll make it up to the team.