2023 F1 Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying: Perez Takes Pole For Second Consecutive Year, Verstappen Bows Out In Q2

Ferrari’s Leclerc ended qualifying in P2 though will serve a 10-place penalty on Sunday while Verstappen will start down in P15 after suffering a drive shaft issue.

By Jaiveer Mehra


5 mins read


Published on March 19, 2023

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  • Perez and Alonso start in the front row
  • Leclerc ends Q3 in P2 but will serve 10-place grid penalty
  • Verstappen in P15 after driveshaft failure

The first night race of the season is set to see some dramatic action with both Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen starting in the bottom 10 of the grid. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez meanwhile qualified P1 for the Saudi GP for the second year in a row and will line-up alongside Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso on the front row of the grid. Leclerc ended qualifying sitting in P2 but will be serving a ten-place grid penalty for the feature race as Ferrari was forced to fit his car with a third electronics control unit ahead after a disastrous first race of the season.

2023 F1 Saudi Arabian GP Qualifying

Sergio Perez took his second consecutive P1 in qualifying at the Saudi Arabian GP


Ferrari had already used the allotted cap of two units at the Bahrain GP with the third unit attracting a penalty.

Moving back to the standing, Mercedes’ George Russel will line-up alongside Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in Sunday’s race after finishing in P4 and P5 respectively. Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took P6 and P7 while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton ended Q3 in P8. Newcomer Oscar Piastri stood in P9 while Pierre Gasly stood in P10.


Also Read: Saudi Arabian GP Race Report: Perez Holds Off Teammate Verstappen To Claim Victory

Alonso continued his promising run

Alonso continued his promising run from the first race ending qualifying in P3 and starting the race in P2. (Image source)


The big news however was reigning champion Max Verstappen bowing out in Q2 after suffering a failure with his drivetrain. The Red Bull pair of Verstappen and Perez were clear favourites heading into qualifying with both cars at the top of the charts in Q1. However, a suspected right driveshaft failure in Verstappen’s car saw him suddenly lose power in Q2 and gingerly nurse his car back to the pits. He will start the Saudi GP in P15.

F1 newcomer Logan Sargeant (Williams F1) too was involved in some drama in Q1. The driver saw himself dropped in Q1 at the back of the grid and a series of what could be called unfortunate events. His original fastest lap was deleted after he put a tyre over the white line and into the pink section near the pit entry on the straight while his subsequent attempts to put in a strong time saw him spin out and face mechanical issues in this second and third attempt respectively.

Leclerc ended qualifying in P2

Leclerc ended qualifying in P2 but will drop 10 places for an engine penalty. (Image source)


McLaren driver Lando Norris too had his own issues on track failing to make it out of Q1 and sitting beside Sargeant at the back of the grid. Norris nudged the wall at Turn 27 resulting in damage to the steering and subsequent retirement in Q1 with the problem not fixed in time.

So here is a look at the provisional standings from qualifying:




Sergio PerezRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT


Charles LeclercFerrari


Fernando AlonsoAston Martin Aramco Mercedes


George RussellMercedes


Carlos SainzFerrari


Lance StrollAston Martin Aramco Mercedes


Esteban OconAlpine Renault


Lewis HamiltonMercedes


Oscar PiastriMclaren Mercedes


Pierre GaslyAlpine Renault


Nico HulkenbergHaas Ferrari


Zhou GuanyuAlfa Romeo Ferrari


Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari


Valtteri BottasAlfa Romeo Ferrari


Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing Honda RBPT


Yuki TsunodaAlphatauri Honda RBPT


Alexander AlbonWilliams Mercedes


Nyck De VriesAlphatauri Honda RBPT


Lando NorrisMclaren Mercedes
Not ClassifiedLogan SargeantWilliams Mercedes

*Leclerc is to serve a 10-place grid penalty.


Last Updated on March 19, 2023

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