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F1 in Saudi Arabia: Verstappen broke the axle shaft and Checo Pérez took pole


Red Bull was the dominator of an exciting classification after the problem in the car of the reigning double champion during Q2.




took pole position in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, after his

Red Bull teammate and

current two-time champion,

Max Verstappen

, suffered a broken axle shaft, which prevented him from continuing in the competition when Q2 was taking place.

Thus, the Dutchman will start the second Formula 1 race 15th, this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. (Star+).

With a time of


, the Mexican secured pole position in his first outing in Q3.

Charles Leclerc, who will penalize ten positions on the starting grid, was second at 155 thousandths of a second on his last lap, while Fernando Alonso was third at almost half a second, although he will share the front row with the man from Guadalajara, who repeated the first place in the last year.

Checo Pérez, the owner of the pole, like last year.

Photo REUTERS/Luca Bruno

The news of the day, however, was not the poleman but the abandonment of Verstappen, which occurred when he had six minutes left in Q2.

The Dutchman was on a flying lap when the gearbox stuck in third gear.

"I'm going to try to get to the pits

," the two-time champion announced and complied.

Looking at their RB-19, the engineers did not hesitate: there was no solution.

For this reason,

the absolute dominator of the training sessions got out of the car


"It was the first time I heard that noise. It happened coming out of turn 10. It's very annoying. We were having a good weekend, every session was going well. It will be a bit more difficult to get to the front. Anything is possible at this


, "But let's be a little more realistic. But we have a good rhythm, so we'll definitely keep going," explained the man who will start on Sunday in 15th place.

An exciting classification from start to finish

Red Bull

let the first minutes of


pass for their rivals to warm up their engines.

Ferrari, then, was the first top team to go out to spin but the first attempt by Leclerc and Sainz was not good, as they fell behind Nico Hulkenberg's Haas, the best of the first drivers to test themselves on the Jeddah track.

When Checo Pérez and Verstappen came out, there was no doubt that they would be the fastest


The Mexican climbed to first place with a time of 1:29.261, which his teammate and reigning two-time champion

dropped half a second

to sign a time of 1:28.761 and keep in the garage until Q2.

The Haas took advantage of the weak performance of Ferrari and the absence of

Aston Martin

to temporarily locate themselves in third and fourth places until Leclerc and Sainz displaced them, then remaining 615 thousandths and 968, respectively, behind Verstappen.

Moments later, the Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton moved between the Maranello men.

Fernando Alonso did not have a good first lap:

he spun at the exit of turn number 2


But it was only the first attempt, because he would finish Q1 as third, 537 thousandths from the lead, and followed by his teammate Lance Stroll, 574 behind Verstappen and displacing Leclerc and Sainz by 41 and 76 thousandths, respectively.

He did not have a good time in his first experience in the street circuit of Saudi Arabia Nyck de Vries

, the only rookie who had not driven there, since Oscar Piastri and Logan Sargeant had Formula 2 experience. The Dutchman, finally, was 18th ° and could not advance to Q2, nor could his Alpha Tauri teammate, Yuki Tsunoda (16th), nor the Williams of Alex Albon (17th) and Sargeant (20th) -who had a great time with the who could have qualified- and Lando Norris (19th, McLaren).

The unexpected would come, of course, in Q2 with

that failure in Verstappen's Red Bull that left him out of the classification

too early.

Without him on the track, Pérez set the best time seconds before the time expired, stopping the clock in


, barely 122 thousandths faster than the one Alonso had achieved in his first lap.


without being able to turn, the two-time F1 champion was in 15th place 

and was eliminated along with the Alfa Romeo of Valtteri Bottas (14th) and Zhou Guanyu (12th) and the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg (11th) and Kevin Magnussen (13th).

The big news was


Piastri's ninth place after a bad start to the World Cup two weeks ago in Bahrain.

Without Verstappen, Q3

began with Alonso on the attack and a time of 1m28s925, which his compatriot Sainz could not lower but Leclerc could with the other Ferrari by 168 thousandths


Of course, the return of Pérez was missing, who in his first attempt -and despite the traffic- stopped the clock in

1:28.265, almost half a second better than the Monegasque


Until then, four brands occupied the top positions: Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes (Russell, 3rd) and Aston Martin.

But the expectation in the Jeddah street map was maintained until the last second of qualifying.

Although no one improved that record of the man from Guadalajara,

Leclerc showed Ferrari's recovery by being 115 thousandths behind


Of course, Alonso will be in the front row, since the Monegasque will start 12th due to his switchboard change.

The second row, meanwhile, will have a Ferrari, as Sainz will move up to fourth place and start alongside Russell's Mercedes, whom he ran into dangerously while doing his preparation lap at the end of Q3.

 Behind them will be Stroll, Ocon, Hamilton, Piastri and Gasly, who will have Hulkenberg's company despite the fact that Haas was 11th in the standings.

The rivals from the start of last season, Leclerc and Verstappen, will appear in the back pack, giving the Saudi Arabian GP an unexpected spicy spice.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-18

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