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Max qualifies third in Jeddah after crash on final lap: 'Disappointing'

Published on 04 December 2021 by Mike Motilall

Max Verstappen qualified third fastest for the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. The Dutchman appeared to be on his way to another pole position until he locked up on his final flying lap and hit the wall at the last corner. The rear suspension broke and Verstappen was forced to abandon his car. This enabled title rival Lewis Hamilton to walk away with the pole with Mercedes-team mate Valtteri Bottas next to him on the front row.

After qualifying a disappointed Verstappen said the following: 'It's of course terrible. I don't really understand what happened but I locked up and tried to keep the car on track and finish the lap but I clipped the rear and had to stop.'

Despite being disappointed in qualifying, Max still has high hopes for the race: 'P3 is of course disappointing today knowing what lap I was on. But in general it was a good qualifying. It was a bit hard to switch on the tyres here around this street circuit. I knew the pace was there and it showed on the last lap. The car is quick so let's see what we can do in the race.'

On the extremenly fast Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Verstappen, just like many other drivers, immediately heads out on track when the lights turned green. The whole field makes to the track on the softs and on his first flying lap Max tops the board with a 1:28.659. Verstappen then cruises several laps before bettering his time to a 1:28.285, putting him briefly on pole again. Not much later Perez and Bottas better Max' time.

On his final flying lap in Q1, Verstappen is on his way to the fastest lap time, but he is hinderd by a few cars at the final corner that are moving very slow inorder to start their own flying lap. Max is forced to abort his lap but with a fifth place he still makes it safely through to Q2. Relegated in the first part of qualifying are: Nicholas Latifi (P16), Sebastian Vettel (P17), Lance Stroll (P18) and the Haas-drivers Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin who occupy the last row tomorrow.

At the start of Q2, all the drivers, with the exception of George Russell, head out on track on the medium compound tyres. Max clocks a 1:27.953 on his first flying lap with which he claims P1 once more. Max goes wide at Turn 10 on his second lap and he heads back to the pits. At the same corner, Carlos Sainz spins off track but he manages to miraculously keep his car barely out of the wall

While Max is in the pits, Red Bull Racing-team mate Sergio Perez clocks the fastest lap time and not much later Hamilton takes P1 from him. Max decides to still head back out again in the dying minutes of Q2, but is unable to better his time. With a third fastest time he makes it safely to the third part of qualifying. Drop outs in Q2 are: Daniel Ricciardo (P11), Kimi Raikkonen (P12), Fernando Alonso (P13), George Russell (P14) and Carlos Sainz (P15), who went off track again on his final flying lap at Turn 10 and was subsequently not able to clock a laptime anymore.

Both Mercedes make to the track quite early in Q3, while both Red Bulls are patiently waiting in the garage to head out on track. Hamilton briefly gets himself in trouble on his first flying lap at Turn eight, but on his second run Hamilton tops the board. However, Verstappen betters Hamilton's time with a 1:27.653. Max then heads back to the pits inorder to head back out again for his final run. 

Hamilton snatches the fastest lap time from Max, but Max in turn appears to go even faster on his final flying lap. However, he locks up at the final corner and hits the wall with his right rear wheel. The suspension gets broken and Verstappen is unable to finish his lap. Disillusioned Max gets out of his stranded car and with this both Mercedes are able to claim the front row with Hamilton on pole and team mate Bottas in second place. Verstappen is ultimately third fastest, with Charles Leclerc next to him on the second row. Sergio Perez comes in fifth with Pierre Gasly in P6. Lando Norris, Yuki Tsunoda, Esteban Ocon and Antonio Giovinazzi round out the top ten.

Sunday at 18.30 local Dutch time the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix will get underway.

Contest GP Saudi Arabia: win the 1:43 Malaysia 2016 P1 and P2 scale model!

Results qualifying Saudi-arabia:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:28.4661:27.7121:27.511
2Valtteri BottasBOTMercedes1:28.0571:28.0541:27.622
3Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing Honda1:28.2851:27.9531:27.653
4Charles LeclercLECFerrari1:28.3101:28.4591:28.054
5Sergio PerezPERRed Bull Racing Honda1:28.0211:27.9461:28.123
6Pierre GaslyGASAlphaTauri Honda1:28.4011:28.3141:28.125
7Lando NorrisNORMcLaren Mercedes1:28.3381:28.3441:28.180
8Yuki TsunodaTSUAlphaTauri Honda1:28.5031:28.2221:28.442
9Esteban OconOCOAlpine Renault1:28.7521:28.5741:28.647
10Antonio GiovinazziGIOAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:28.8991:28.6161:28.754
11Daniel RicciardoRICMcLaren Mercedes1:28.2161:28.668
12Kimi RäikkönenRAIAlfa Romeo Racing Ferrari1:28.8561:28.885
13Fernando AlonsoALOAlpine Renault1:28.9441:28.920
14George RussellRUSWilliams Mercedes1:28.9261:29.054
15Carlos SainzSAIFerrari1:28.2371:53.652
16Nicholas LatifiLATWilliams Mercedes1:29.177
17Sebastian VettelVETAston Martin Mercedes1:29.198
18Lance StrollSTRAston Martin Mercedes1:29.368
19Mick SchumacherMSCHaas Ferrari1:29.464
20Nikita MazepinMAZHaas Ferrari1:30.473