Perez finally takes his first pole, Hamilton is out in Q1 for the first time in over four years and both Hamilton and Verstappen are out-qualified for the first time since 2018. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
PEREZ’S WAIT FOR POLE IS OVER
Sergio Perez became a Formula 1 polesitter at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. His first pole comes exactly 11 years to the day since his first F1 qualifying appearance at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix.
Perez set a new record for the most race appearances before a driver’s first pole position. This was Perez’s 217th race weekend appearance. The previous record was 130 races before pole position for Mark Webber, who recorded his first pole – also with Red Bull – at the 2009 German Grand Prix.
Perez becomes the 103rd polesitter in Formula 1 and the first Mexican driver to set the fastest qualifying time. Mexico is the 23rd nation to have an F1 polesitter. He’s the fifth different driver to take pole with the Red Bull team.
This was only the second occasion during his time at Red Bull that Perez has out-qualified team-mate Max Verstappen on pace. The last time he did so was at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Perez also out-qualified Verstappen at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, but Verstappen did not set a lap time on that day.
Max Verstappen qualified fourth, making this the first qualifying session in which he’s set a lap time but not qualified in the top three since the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
A RARE Q1 EXIT FOR HAMILTON
Lewis Hamilton was unable to reach Q2 at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It was the first time that he was eliminated in Q1 since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix as well as the first time he failed to reach Q3 since the 2018 German Grand Prix.
Hamilton’s Q1 exit ended a 71 race streak of double Q3 appearances for Mercedes.
This was only the ninth Q1 elimination of Hamilton’s career. The last time he was eliminated in Q1 on pure pace alone with no other contributing factors was at the 2009 British Grand Prix.
George Russell ensured Mercedes continued their 10-year streak of reaching Q3 at every race, though he did so by only 0.033 seconds.
With both Russell and Perez out-qualifying their team-mates, this is the first race weekend since the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix at which both Hamilton and Verstappen have been out-qualified by their team-mate.
MERCEDES POWER STRUGGLES
For the first time since the 2013 Italian Grand Prix, no Mercedes-powered cars qualified in the top five at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
This was the first time since the end of the 2019 season that no Mercedes customer teams have reached Q3 at two consecutive races.
Aston Martin have not reached Q3 at any of the past four races. It’s the Silverstone-based team’s longest streak without a Q3 appearance since the last seven races of the 2019 season.
SCHUMACHER ESCAPES HUGE CRASH
Mick Schumacher suffered a huge crash during Q2. The German was taken to hospital for precautionary checks and will not race in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as a result. Schumacher had the ninth fastest lap time at the time of his crash. He reached Q2 for the fourth time in his career.
On the other side of the Haas garage, Kevin Magnussen reached Q3 for the second consecutive race. That made it the first time since the 2019 Russian and Japanese Grands Prix that Haas recorded Q3 appearances at two consecutive races.
ANOTHER DOUBLE TOP 3 FOR FERRARI
Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz qualified in the top three for a second consecutive weekend, making this the first time Ferrari have qualified in the top three at successive races since their streak of three front row lock-outs at the 2019 Italian, Singapore and Russian Grands Prix.
Charles Leclerc was the fastest driver in all three practice sessions. It’s the first time a driver has achieved that feat since Max Verstappen at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix. It’s the first time Leclerc has achieved the feat since the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and the first time Ferrari have been fastest in all three practice sessions since the 2019 Russian Grand Prix.
IN THE TOP 10 AGAIN
Valtteri Bottas continued his Q3 streak, qualifying in the top ten for the 103rd consecutive race weekend. Bottas is the first Alfa Romeo driver to reach Q3 at two consecutive races since Antonio Giovinazzi at the 2021 Dutch and Italian Grands Prix.
Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly and Valtteri Bottas reached Q3 at both the 2021 and 2022 Saudi Arabian Grands Prix. Meanwhile, Nicholas Latifi is the only driver to be eliminated in Q1 in both races at the track.
McLAREN FAIL TO REACH Q3 AGAIN
McLaren failed to reach Q3 for the second race weekend in a row. The 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marked the team’s first double Q2 elimination since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
This was the first time since the end of the 2018 season that McLaren have failed to reach Q3 with either car at two successive races.
Lando Norris was eliminated in Q2 for the second consecutive weekend. It’s the first time that Norris has failed to qualify in the top ten at two races in a row since the 2019 Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. The blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics.
Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.