The Dutchman’s Red Bull suddenly lost drive in the second qualifying session and couldn’t be revived quickly enough in the pits. Verstappen, who set the best time in each of the three training sessions in Jeddah, will start the race from 15th place on Sunday (6 p.m., live on ORF1).
Verstappen confirmed in an ORF interview that there had been a problem with his car’s drive shaft. “It happened at the exit curve ten, which is of course a pity. I also have no idea now why this happened. But we will analyze everything,” said the Dutchman. “I think it was just bad luck.”
Sergio Perez holt Polepositon
At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Red Bull driver Sergio Perez will start the race from pole position.
“It can happen”
In the race, the defending champion wants to attack, but he doesn’t expect to win. “Normally, of course, our car would have to be fast in the race. Maybe not to fight for victory, but hopefully we can score a lot of points,” said the 25-year-old. He took the technical defect lightly: “In the end, of course, that’s also motorsport. That can happen.” “It’s super frustrating,” noted Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
For “Checo” Perez, the joy of first place on the grid clearly outweighed the negative. “You really feel these Formula 1 cars come to life on this track,” said the 33-year-old. “Max has been really strong over the weekend so far, hopefully we can have both cars up front tomorrow.”
Leclerc 12th instead of second on the grid
Ferrari driver Leclerc is penalized ten places behind after a change in the control electronics on the starting grid. In addition to Perez, the Spanish veteran Fernando Alonso will start the race from the front row in the Aston Martin. George Russell in the Mercedes and Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari start from the second row.
“We’re confident,” said Alonso, who was hoping for his first pole since the German GP at the Hockenheimring in 2012. The strength of the car is the speed in the long run – in other words: in the race. “We should be better on Sunday than on Saturday.”
Cautious optimism was also spreading at Mercedes. “I think that we are on par with Ferrari and Aston Martin as far as the long run is concerned. So that’s fine,” said team boss Toto Wolff. “Now we have a much better understanding of what is lacking. What we have already found in the wind tunnel will probably make us a few tenths faster here.”