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Hamilton on pole after Verstappen crashes in sector three in Q3

Hamilton on pole after Verstappen crashes in sector three in Q3

04-12-2021 18:00 Last update: 18:31
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Lewis Hamilton has qualified on pole position for the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah. Overtaking is expected to be incredibly difficult on the high-speed street circuit, and it could therefore be extremely crucial in his bid for the World Championship. Max Verstappen on for pole position, but crashed in the final sector and therefore his lap was ruined. 

Hamilton records just his fifth pole position of the season and his 103rd of his career. With the Jeddah circuit making its debut in Formula 1 this weekend, the Brit has now recorded the feat at 32 different circuits around the world.

Mercedes will start from first and second, Verstappen will start from third as long as his gearbox isn't damaged from the crash. 

In the first run of Q3, Hamilton had a moment on the track and lost control due to understeer. He avoided the walls but had to change his run schedule as a result. On his second attempt, he set a strong time but it was three-tenths short of Verstappen. The seven-time World Champion was fuelled for the whole session as the tyres didn't degrade. Verstappen set purple times in sector one and sector two, but crashed in sector three and ended his push for pole. 

Remarkably, the session was completed with only minor scrapes and touches with the walls. A few incidents were expected given the nature of the track layout. Traffic became an issue in Q1. Antonio Giovinazzi continued a really positive weekend and reached Q3 in his Alfa Romeo. In the battle for third in the constructors, Sainz and Ricciardo dropped out in Q2. As in Qatar, the AlphaTauri cars looked very strong. 

Q1 

Mercedes didn't have the ideal preparation for the qualifying session. Hamilton spent time in the stewards' office for an incident under double yellow flags in FP3, but the Brit was cleared of any wrongdoing. Bottas had a fuel leak in FP3 and his car was in bits in the build-up to the session as Mercedes changed his power unit. The Finnish driver made it out almost as the green flag dropped. 

After the first set of runs, Aston Martin and Williams filled the knock out places, with Nikita Mazepin sandwiched between the two teams. The track ramped up drastically and the soft tyres hung on for several laps meaning nobody was safe. Mick Schumacher and Alfa Romeo were closest to the drop zone. 

Verstappen was on a flying lap but had to pull up because of the traffic in the third sector. Schumacher couldn't hang on to a place in Q2 as George Russell escaped from the drop zone. Fernando Alonso was safe by just two-tenths. Aston Martin's poor weekend continued in Jeddah as both cars failed to make Q2 for the first time in 2021. 

OUT - P16 Latifi, P17 Vettel, P18 Stroll, P19 Schuamacher, P20 Mazepin 

Q2

At the end of Q1, Bottas reported some misfiring over the team radio. He crawled into the pits but had to stop at the top of the pitlane to get pushed by his mechanics but the Finnish driver sat in the queue waiting for the green light to start the next session. All drivers emerged from the pits with the medium tyres on, apart from Russell who was fitted with the soft compound. Red Bull Racing seemed to be better than Mercedes on the medium compound. 

Carlos Sainz had a big spin and he thought he got away without any damage. Except the Ferrari driver did touch the wall with his rear wing and had to pit for damage. Both Alpine drivers, Antonio Giovinazzi and Russell joined Sainz in the drop zone at the halfway point. 

Ferrari fixed the problem, but Sainz made a mistake on his flying lap. He stayed in the drop zone and was joined by McLaren rival Daniel Ricciardo. Raikkonen finished his penultimate qualifying session in Q2 as his teammate escaped at the end. At the top, Hamilton recorded the P1 time but did four more laps than his rival Verstappen on his race starting tyres. 

OUT - P15 Sainz, P14 Russell, P13 Alonso, P12 Raikkonen, P11 Ricciardo 

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