Sergio Perez scores Saudi pole as Verstappen suffers failure
Red Bull’s Sergio Perez took his second career pole position in Saudi Arabia as championship leader Max Verstappen suffered a suspected transmission failure in Q2, leaving the Dutchman 15th for Sunday’s race.
Perez, who took his only other pole in Jeddah last year, beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc by just over a tenth of a second but the Mexican will be joined on the front row by Spaniard Fernando Alonso.
Perez, 33, said: “It was tricky, that Q3,” adding that it was “a shame” for teammate Verstappen, who had looked certain for pole throughout practice.
Leclerc has exceeded his allowance of control electronics in his power unit, resulting in a 10-place grid drop which leaves the 25-year-old 12th for Sunday’s race.
Alonso, who has consistently been one of Red Bull’s closest challengers
Verstappen had led the way comfortably in Q1, before being sidelined midway through Q2, having earlier abandoned a lap following a slide in the first sector.
Red Bull Team Principal said the Red Bull has “good straight-line speed, a good race car”, and didn’t rule out Verstappen winning the race from a lowly start position, which the Dutchman has managed before at Spa last year.