Formula 1

Hamilton takes pole position as Verstappen crashes at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

3 Mins read
Credit: DaimlerAG Archive/LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position at the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team locked out the front row. At the penultimate race of the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the two title contenders hotly contested for pole position.

Valtteri Bottas was in second position as he joined his team-mate Hamilton on the first row. Max Verstappen was on course to snatch pole position on his final flying lap but crashed in the final corner to finish in third position.

The qualifying session started under the lights with air temperatures at 28 degrees C and track temperatures at 30 degrees C at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The Pirelli tyre choice at this race is the white-striped hard compound tyres (C2), yellow-striped medium compound tyres (C3), and red-striped soft compound tyres (C4), the middle range of compounds in the Pirelli tyre range.

Q1: Vettel and Stroll knocked out

The two Williams F1 Team drivers,George Russell and Nicholas Latifi, were the first drivers on the track. The drivers went out on the soft compound tyres for their initial runs.

Verstappen went to the top of the time charts with a lap time of 1m28.659s. Hamilton after abandoning his first flying lap went 0.193 seconds faster than Verstappen.

Carlos Sainz with a storming lap went faster than Hamilton to take the top spot. As the track evolved and the lap times got faster, all the drivers went out for another lap.

The session ended with Sergio Pérez at the top of the time charts ahead of Bottas and Ricciardo.

But Bottas was in a spot of bother as his engine misfired and shutdown in the pit lane.

Q1 dropzone: Nicholas Latifi, Sebastian Vettel, Lance Stroll, Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin

Q2: Sainz and Alonso Eliminated

Most of the drivers went out on the medium compound tyres as this is the preferred tyre to start the race.

Verstappen went fastest with a lap time of 1m27.953s ahead of Pérez and Bottas.

Sainz had a spin and damaged his rear-wing and had to pit to repair the damage and rejoined the session to get out of the dropzone. The Spaniard almost crashed again and had to abort his lap.

Hamilton topped the session ahead of Pérez and Verstappen.

Q2 dropzone: Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Räikkönen, Fernando Alonso, George Russell, Carlos Sainz

Q3: Hamilton takes pole position as Verstappen crashes

The last all-important twelve minutes of the top ten shootout started with pole position being contested by the usual suspects – Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen.

The Mercedes drivers along with Leclerc were the first drivers on the track. Hamilton had to abort his first flying lap as he went wide at Turn 10 and it was advantage Verstappen.

Verstappen went fastest with a lap time of 1m27.653s. Hamilton then took provisional pole position with a lap time of 1m27.511s. Bpttas slotted into second position.

Verstappen then started his final flying lap and went purple with a very fast first sector. The Dutchman was on course to snatch pole position but he crashed at the final corner.

Leclerc with a great lap took fourth position. It was an unfortunate end to a gripping qualification session at this superfast track.

Hamilton pulled out a back to the wall pole position to lead a Mercedes 1-2 in this qualification.

Top 10: Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Sergio Pérez, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon, Antonio Giovinazzi

2021 Saudi Arabian GP Qualification Results:

PosNoDriverNat.TeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
144Lewis HamiltonGBRMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:28.4661:27.7121:27.51123
277Valtteri BottasFINMercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team1:28.0571:28.0541:27.62225
333Max VerstappenNEDRed Bull Racing1:28.2851:27.9531:27.65319
416Charles LeclercMONScuderia Ferrari1:28.3101:28.4591:28.05424
511Sergio PerezMEXRed Bull Racing1:28.0211:27.9461:28.12323
610Pierre GaslyFRAScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:28.4011:28.3141:28.12526
74Lando NorrisGBRMcLaren F1 Team1:28.3381:28.3441:28.18021
822Yuki TsunodaJAPScuderia AlphaTauri Honda1:28.5031:28.2221:28.44226
931Esteban OconFRAAlpine F1 Team1:28.7521:28.5741:28.64722
1099Antonio GiovinazziITAAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:28.8991:28.6161:28.75421
113Daniel RicciardoAUSMcLaren F1 Team1:28.2161:28.66817
127Kimi RäikkönenFINAlfa Romeo Racing ORLEN1:28.8561:28.88518
1314Fernando AlonsoESPAlpine F1 Team1:28.9441:28.92017
1463George RussellGBRWilliams Racing1:28.9261:29.05417
1555Carlos SainzESPScuderia Ferrari1:28.2371:53.65216
166Nicholas LatifiCANWilliams Racing1:29.1779
175Sebastian VettelGERAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:29.19810
1818Lance StrollCANAston Martin Cognizant Formula One Team1:29.3689
1947Mick SchumacherGERUralkali Haas F1 Team1:29.4649
209Nikita MazepinRAFUralkali Haas F1 Team1:30.4738
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