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Sergio Perez will start from pole during the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. (F1 photo)

Perez On Pole In Saudi Arabia

Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Perez claimed the pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix during Saturday’s qualifying session at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Perez set a fast lap of 1 minute, 28.265 seconds around the 3.836-mile track.

“I certainly enjoy the track here in Jeddah. The car came alive at high speeds and I was able to push right to the limit to secure pole position. That said, it has been tricky today. You can lose two tenths through the early section of corners if you’re not careful, especially with the low downforce that we’re running, so I’m very happy to come away with pole,” Perez said.

Ferarri’s Charles Leclerc qualified second with a 1 minute, 28.420-second lap time. Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso, Mercedes’ George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz completed the top five.

“We have exceeded the potential and our own expectations to be ahead of an Aston Martin and a Ferrari. It is a solid job; we put in a lot of work overnight,” Russell said. “We know we are not in the fight for pole just yet, but you have to maximize what you’ve got, and we certainly did that today. We have a fight on our hands tomorrow, most likely with the Aston Martins and the Ferraris.”

Reigning world champion Max Verstappen was the favorite going into qualifying after dominating practice, but the Red Bull Racing driver was forced to exit during the second qualifying session due to technical issues.

Verstappen is the defending winner of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. He qualified 15th.