Perez claims pole after Verstappen thwarted by power problems
Verstappen had been the clear favourite for pole after dominating the weekend by topping all three practice sessions in Jeddah, but a suspected driveshaft issue in Q2 put him out of qualifying and only 15th on the grid.
Perez took full advantage of his teammate’s absence from Q3 to take pole at the venue he topped qualifying for the first time 12 months ago.
The Mexican was 0.155s faster than Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who will drop 10 places to 12th once his grid penalty for using too many engine components is applied.
Leclerc’s penalty means that Fernando Alonso, who ended up 0.465s adrift of Perez in his Aston Martin, will start on the front row of the grid.
George Russell will line up from third after producing a strong lap to get within six-tenths of Perez’s pole time.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz will start fourth, ahead of Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon.
Lewis Hamilton could only manage a time good enough for eighth as he ended up almost a full second down on Perez and nearly half a second behind teammate Russell.
The seven-time world champion will line up seventh, ahead of McLaren’s Oscar Piastri, who impressed to make Q3 for the first time.
Pierre Gasly and Nico Hulkenberg will complete the top-10 starters for Alpine and Haas respectively.
It was a nightmare qualifying for Lando Norris, who will start 19th after damaging his McLaren when he clipped the wall on his first run in Q1.