Perez records his second pole position, Verstappen makes a shock Q2 exit, Piastri reaches Q3 for the first time and Norris records a rare Q1 elimination. Here are the facts and statistics from qualifying at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix!
PEREZ ON POLE AT 2023 SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX
Sergio Perez took pole position at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, recording the second pole position of his career. Perez became the 72nd driver to take multiple pole positions in Formula 1.
Perez secured pole position for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix by 0.155 seconds, which is the largest pole margin to date at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Red Bull became the first team to take multiple pole positions at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, while Perez became the first driver to do so.
Having taken his only other pole at Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Perez becomes only the ninth driver to record successive career pole positions at a single circuit. The other drivers to have done so are Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, Nigel Mansell, Jean Alesi, Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
IN THE TOP 10
The top two qualified in the same order at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as they did in 2022, with Sergio Perez taking pole position and Charles Leclerc setting the second fastest time. However, Leclerc will be demoted ten positions on the grid due to a power unit penalty.
Fernando Alonso qualified in third place and moves up to second on the grid as a result of Charles Leclerc’s grid penalty. The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marks the 39th front row start of his car and his first since the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.
Alonso becomes the first Aston Martin driver to start from the front row of the grid since Roy Salvadori at the 1959 British Grand Prix, which was held at the Aintree circuit.
The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is the first race at which the Silverstone-based team has appeared on the front row since Lance Stroll took pole position at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
George Russell qualified in fourth place, marking his best qualifying result to date at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz qualified in fifth place. Max Verstappen’s Q2 exit means that Sainz now holds the longest active streak of consecutive Q3 appearances. He has reached Q3 at all 25 races since the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Of the drivers who’ve appeared in all three race weekends at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc, George Russell and Esteban Ocon are the only ones who’ve out-qualified their team-mate on every appearance. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz is the only driver to be out-qualified by his team-mate all three times.
Lance Stroll qualified in sixth place, marking the first time he has reached Q3 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marked the first time Stroll qualified in the top six since taking pole position at the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.
Stroll and Alonso’s top ten qualifications marked the first time that Aston Martin reached Q3 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marks the first time that both of the Silverstone-based team’s drivers have progressed to Q3 at consecutive races since they did so under their Racing Point guise at all five races between the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix and the Tuscan Grand Prix in 2020.
Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon and Pierre Gasly both reached Q3 at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The duo maintained their 100% Q3 appearance at the track – as did Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.
Gasly reached the final part of qualifying for the first time since the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix. This was the first time Gasly has been out-qualified by his team-mate at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Oscar Piastri reached Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career. This was the first time Lando Norris was out-qualified by a team-mate since the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.
VERSTAPPEN OUT IN Q2
After setting the fastest lap time in all three practice sessions, the shock exit in qualifying at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was that of Max Verstappen, who could qualify no higher than 15th following a driveshaft failure during Q2.
Verstappen’s Q2 exit ended a 30-race streak of consecutive Q3 appearances, which began at the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix. His last Q2 exit came at the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix.
Verstappen’s Q2 elimination marked the first time that Red Bull have failed to reach Q3 at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. It means that no team has appeared in Q3 with both cars in all three races held at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
For the second consecutive race, both Alfa Romeo drivers were eliminated in Q2. This is the first time the team has recorded consecutive Q2 exits with both cars since the 2021 Mexico City and Sao Paulo Grands Prix.
The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is the first Jeddah race weekend in which neither Alfa Romeo driver has progressed to Q3.
OUT IN Q1
For only the second time in his Formula 1 career, Lando Norris was eliminated in Q1. This was his first Q1 exit since the 2019 German Grand Prix.
Norris qualified in 19th place – the worst qualifying position of his career. His previous worst was 16th place at the 2019 German Grand Prix.
This is only the fifth time in his career that Norris has failed to reach Q3 at two consecutive races.
The 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix marks the first time since the 2019 Australian Grand Prix that McLaren have recorded Q1 exits at consecutive races.
AlphaTauri recorded their first double Q1 exit since the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Yuki Tsunoda 16th and Nyck de Vries 18th. This was the seventh consecutive race at which the team failed to reach Q3 with either car. It is the team’s longest Q3-less streak since their seven race streak of Q1 and Q2 exits between the 2017 Malaysian Grand Prix and the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
Like Alfa Romeo, this was the first Saudi Arabian Grand Prix race weekend in which neither AlphaTauri driver has progressed to Q3.
With both Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant out in Q1, Williams became the team to have recorded the most Q1 exits at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. They have now amassed five Q1 eliminations at Jeddah Corniche Circuit.