Sergio Perez was delighted with his first Formula 1 pole as he set the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
The Mexican became the first driver from his country to record a pole with the same lap, and his late, late effort put him ahead of both the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc (second) and Carlos Sainz (third) who had appeared set for a lockout.
Instead it is the Red Bull’s race to lose from the lights tomorrow, though the close back-and-forth between the Austrian and Italian teams suggests it could be tough for anyone to secure a win.
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"What a lap," Perez said after the race. "I can do a 1,000 laps and I don't think I can beat that lap, it was unbelievable.
"We were not really expecting too much from qualifying, we were focusing mainly on the race, so hopefully we get them tomorrow."
Sainz, who said he had struggled compared to his Monegasque teammate last week, again had mixed feelings with his performance.
"The lap for P3 was pretty good. It was on a used tyre because the used tyre for some reason this weekend is giving me a better feeling," he explained..
"It's going to be exciting - all four cars mixed up. So we will play around with each other with strategy and passes, which should make for an exciting race."
Leclerc acknowledged Perez’s efforts, while being content with his efforts.
"The lap felt good, honestly. I am very happy with the lap. All qualifying was all about just keeping it on track and not doing any mistakes which would have been costly,” the current season-leader said.
"Then in Q3 in the second lap, I just went for it. I more or less put everything together, there was a bit here and there.
"I definitely did not expect Checo [Perez] to come with that lap time, congratulations to him. I'm sure he did an incredible job today."
George Russell secured the best result of the day for Mercedes, earning the German team a start from P6, but there will be concerns that Lewis Hamilton struggled for much of the first session before being cut.
The seven-time champion will start from P16, assuming Mick Schumacher is ready and able to start after his heavy collision in Q2.
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