Saudi Arabian GP qualifying LIVE: Hamilton challenges VerstappenMarch 18, 2023
Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying LIVE: Max Verstappen chases a second pole position in a row at the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix this weekend, while Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have a lot of work to do
Follow Sportsmail‘s live blog for qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen chases a second pole position in a row.
The Ferrari man really needs to get a move on and set a decent time. He currently sits in P11, just outside the top 10.
He’s OUT his car and that’s the afternoon done for the Dutchman. That’s made things exciting!
Verstappen manages to get his car back to the pit lane as mechanics try to fix the Red Bull.
The Red Bulls engine is making some worrying noises. Can Verstappen sort it out while he desperately keeps his car out the way? Is it a transmission fault?
The Spaniard tops the board in the early stages of Q2 with a time of 1.28.757. Leclerc splits the Aston Martins with a final purple sector time.
We are straight back into it as Q2 gets underway…
The drivers out in Q1 are:
16. Yuki Tsunoda (Alpha Tauri)
17. Alex Albon (Williams)
18. Nyck de Vries (Alpha Tauri)
19. Lando Norris (McLaren)
20. Logan Sargeant (Williams)
Norris is stuck in the pit lane and it doesn’t appear the Briton is going to get back on track before the end of Q1.
Alonso makes up for his early spin in Q1 and clocks a 1.29.404 to go fourth.
Sargeant spins and somehow manages to avoid planting it in the wall. It’s very lucky for the Williams driver.
Despite his 10-place grid penalty tomorrow, Leclerc gets up to third with 5 minutes left of Q1. Russell and Hamilton are in fourth and fifth.
16. Logan Sargeant (Williams)
17. Pierre Gasly (Alpine)
18. Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
19. Fernando Alonso (Aston Martin)
20. Lance Stroll (Aston Martin)
The McLaren makes his way back to the pits after seemingly touching the wall. Alonso also has a spin in his Aston Martin. There are a lot of mistakes out there so far! Where is the grip?
Verstappen wastes no time setting the pace on softs. The Dutchman is already in the 1.28s! He’s closely followed by his Red Bull team-mate Perez.
Nyck de Vries has a little moment at the start of qualifying as his Alpha Tauri locks-up. It’s already getting a bit congested out there…
The heavy hitters remain in the pit lane for the opening stages of Q1 as Albon is first to give it some throttle around the ultra fast track in his Williams.
The cars emerge from the pit lane and out onto the track and we are underway.
The drivers are all getting into their cars and we are just a few minutes away from getting this qualifying session started.
Who will come out on top today?
Just 15 minutes to go until Q1 gets underway…
He told Sky Sports: ‘This is going to be so dangerous out there now in Qualifying, because it’s the first time that so many cars will go in sync. And you have one shot with that one lap in the end at some point – at which point do you lift?
‘You see the guy, or maybe you don’t, at some point you have to lift or your weekend is done – how far do you commit to not lifting and taking risks? It’s such a difficult decision and it’s going to be high-risk out there.’
Heikki Kovalainen insisted former team-mate Hamilton IS committed to Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton has been backed to see out his F1 career with Mercedes by a former teammate.
Hamilton, 38, has won seven world titles to date, and an eighth would take him ahead of Michael Schumacher to stand alone as the most successful driver in the sport’s history.
But Mercedes have struggled to compete with the dominance of Red Bull and Max Verstappen in recent campaigns, leading to rumours that Hamilton would quit for Ferrari or another team.
Mercedes – Lewis Hamilton, George Russell
Ferrari – Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz
Alpine – Esteban Ocon, Pierre Gasly
McLaren – Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri
Alfa Romeo – Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu
Aston Martin – Fernando Alonso, Lance Stroll
Haas – Kevin Magnussen, Nico Hulkenberg
AlphaTauri – Nyck De Vries, Yuki Tsunoda
Williams – Alexander Albon, Logan Sargeant
Lando Norris slammed ‘dangerous’ Verstappen in practice
Lando Norris could be heard venting his frustration at Max Verstappen during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Free Practice 3 on Saturday.
Whilst completing a flying lap the McLaren star found himself held up by Verstappen, who had not been informed of his rival’s location.
The 23-year-old managed to successfully decelerate and avoid and a collision between the pair but his frustration was evident as he continued to slalom around the circuit’s blind corners.
Max Verstappen dominated both practice sessions, but can he top qualifying?
Max Verstappen shrugged off a stomach bug to lead both practice sessions for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Friday as Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso prevented a Red Bull one-two on the timesheets.
Double Formula One champion Verstappen picked up where he left off in winning the Bahrain season-opener, lapping the Jeddah Corniche circuit with a best time of one minute 29.603 seconds on the fastest soft tyres in the evening session.
Welcome to our live coverage of today’s second qualifying session of the 2023 F1 season.
Who will get pole position in Saudi Arabia this year?
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