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Sergio Pérez takes his first pole position at the Saudi Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton suffers a rare early start

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Red Bull’s Sergio Perez finally took the first pole position of his 215-race Formula 1 career in a dramatic night of qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Mexican ‘Checo’ produced an excellent final lap around the Jeddah Corniche circuit to overtake Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari, which was seeking a second consecutive pole position after its flawless victory in Bahrain on the opening weekend and setting the fastest times in all three practices. sessions here.

Leclerc’s teammate Carlos Sainz qualified third, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen only able to secure fourth in the other Red Bull as he struggled with grip on his tyres.

Lewis Hamilton will start Sunday’s race in 16th on the grid after being eliminated in Q1 for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2017, with his Mercedes team-mate George Russell managing to split the Stephen’s Alps. Ocon and Fernando Alonso in sixth place. .

Sergio Pérez achieved the first pole position of his 215-race Formula 1 career in Saudi Arabia (Getty Images)

The top 10 was completed by Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen, while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo will start 15th after receiving a three-place grid penalty for hindering Ocon.

Qualifying was delayed for nearly an hour with five minutes remaining in Q2 after a horrific high-speed crash involving Mick Schumacher, whose Haas snapped in two after he lost control exiting Turn 11 and crashed into the concrete barriers.

Schumacher’s car, traveling at around 170 mph, skidded across the track as debris flew everywhere.

The German remained in the cockpit after the horrific impact but was conscious and speaking to medics before being stretchered into an ambulance which transported him to the on-site medical center.

Initial assessments revealed no injuries, but Schumacher was airlifted to King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital for precautionary examinations.

Mick Schumacher's Haas snapped in half after a horrific crash during the second quarter (Getty Images)

Mick Schumacher’s Haas snapped in half after a horrific crash during the second quarter (Getty Images)

He will not race on Sunday, Haas will only race Magnussen, who again impressed by qualifying in 10th place.

Schumacher has since been released from the hospital, tweeting from his hotel: “Hi everyone, just wanted to say I’m fine. Thanks for the kind messages. The car felt great @haasf1team we will come back stronger.”

Schumacher’s terrifying crash was the second time qualifying had to be red-flagged, with Q1 halted early after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi lost the rear of his car under braking and hit the barriers at the corner. 3.

Canadian Latifi was checked and cleared at the nearby medical center.

The Saudi Grand Prix will go ahead as planned this weekend after extensive talks to allay widespread driver concerns following Friday’s attack on a nearby oil storage facility.

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