Perez on pole as mechanical issue hits Verstappen

Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso will start on the front row of a mixed-up grid in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA - MARCH 18: Sergio Perez of Mexico driving the (11) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB19 on track during qualifying ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on March 18, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool // SI202303180512 // Usage for editorial use only //

Sergio Perez will start the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix from pole position, with a mixed up grid set for tomorrow’s race.

Charles Leclerc finished second in qualifying, but a grid penalty means he’ll drop down the order, leaving Fernando Alonso to line up alongside Perez on the front row.

Reigning champion Max Verstappen will start towards the rear of the field after suffering a mechanical issue in Q2.

Mercedes’s George Russell will line up in third, with Carlos Sainz starting fourth having been unable to match his teammate’s pace.

Lando Norris’s hopes were dashed early on when he glanced the wall, damaging the steering on his McLaren, but his teammate Oscar Piastri made it through to Q3.

It was a difficult Q1 for Logan Sargeant as he has his first lap time deleted for a track limits infringement, before spinning, and later damaged his car on a kerb while pushing at the end of the session, leaving him at the back of the grid.

Provisional qualifying result:

1 Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

2. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)*

3. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)

4. George Russell (Mercedes)

5. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)

6. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)

7. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

8. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)

9. Oscar Piastri (McLaren)

10. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)

11. Nico Hulkenberg (Haas)

12. Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo)

13. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)

14. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo)

15. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)

16. Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)

17. Alex Albon (Williams)

18. Nyck DeVries (AlphaTauri)

19. Lando Norris (McLaren)

20. Logan Sargeant (Williams)

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