Perez will start ahead of the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz after the one-hour qualifying session, which is split into three segments with five cars each being knocked out in Q1 and Q2 before the top-10 shootout of Q3.
The shock result of the day was seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton failing to get out of Q1 for Mercedes and he will start 16th, while Red Bull’s world champion Max Verstappen could only manage fourth.
Saudi Grand Prix qualifying results: Perez on pole from Leclerc
What happened in Saudi Grand Prix Q1?
Q1 was halted after just eight minutes when Nicholas Latifi crashed heavily at Turn 13 when he lost control of the rear of his Williams.
Verstappen headed the times soon after the resumption, producing a lap of 1m29.389s, but that was quickly topped by Leclerc 1m29.039s and then Sainz on 1m28.855s. Verstappen then split the Ferraris with a 1m28.928s on a second push lap.
Focus quickly turned to Hamilton’s struggle to get through to Q2 as he languished in P17, 1.68s off the pace as the chequered flag flew. He briefly went P15 with his last-ditch effort of 1m30.343s, but Lance Stroll – with new tyres on his Aston Martin – knocked him out by 0.087s.
Falling at the first hurdle along with Hamilton were Alex Albon (Williams), Nico Hulkenberg (again subbing for Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin), Latifi (Williams) and Yuki Tsunoda, who didn’t complete a lap when his AlphaTauri suffered a fuel related issue on his out lap.
Saudi Grand Prix Q1 results: Sainz fastest from Verstappen
What happened in Saudi Grand Prix Q2?
Leclerc set the early bar at 1m28.883s, 0.041s faster than Perez, who in turn was 0.021s quicker than Verstappen.
With five minutes to go, Mick Schumacher spun his Haas after bouncing off the kerb at the exit of the 150mph Turn 10, smashing into the wall on the left at Turn 11 and sliding down the track past Turn 12, causing the second red flag of the day.
Medics took their time with the extraction process before he was taken to the medical centre, while the car recovery process was hampered when the rear end snapped off the chassis and covered the track with oil. Schumacher was then flown to hospital for checks but escaped serious injury.
After a delay of almost an hour, the session resumed with Sainz going P1 with 1m28.686s, 0.094s faster than Leclerc.
Knocked out at this point were the McLarens of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo, Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo), Schumacher and Stroll.
Saudi Grand Prix Grand Prix Q2 results: Sainz fastest from Leclerc
What happened in Saudi Grand Prix Q3?
On the first runs, Sainz set the bar at 1m28.402s, 0.044s faster than Leclerc. Perez was third, ahead of the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso, and a tardy lap from Verstappen, who complained of “zero grip from this tyre”.
As the final runs began, George Russell (Mercedes) and Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) jumped up to fifth and sixth respectively.
Leclerc then briefly grabbed P1 with 1m28.225s, but Perez wrested pole away with 1m28.200s ahead of the Ferraris.
Verstappen could only manage fourth, 0.261s off the pace, ahead of Ocon, Russell, Alonso, Bottas, Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) and Kevin Magnussen (Haas).
Saudi Grand Prix Q3 results: Perez takes pole
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