‘It feels amazing’ says Perez, after becoming first Mexican pole-sitter in F1 history
A sensational Saturday in Saudi Arabia saw Sergio Perez claim the record for the most races before taking a pole position – while the Mexican also claimed his country’s first-ever pole position in F1 with a stunning effort beneath the floodlights at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Perez had looked a step behind team mate Max Verstappen and the two Ferrari drivers throughout the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix weekend, finishing no higher than third in any free practice session or qualifying segment.
But a scintillating final lap in Q3 from the Mexican saw him set a benchmark time of 1m 28.200s to take his maiden pole – in his 215th race – by just 0.025s from Charles Leclerc, with Perez unable to hide his delight after qualifying.
“It feels amazing!” said Perez, who along with Verstappen failed to score at the season opener in Bahrain one week ago. “We come from a difficult weekend [in] Bahrain and the team has been pushing so hard back home in Milton Keynes, everyone is really positive and pushing hard so extremely happy for that.”
Asked what had clicked for him behind the wheel of his Red Bull RB18 in Q3, Perez replied: “I think the level of risk and getting into that rhythm and precision was the key.
“If there is a place you want to be on pole it’s this one,” he added, “because you know you nailed the lap and you’ve got the perfect lap altogether.”
“Definitely,” said Perez, when asked if the win was the target. “Get a good start and try to control the race from there. It’s going to be difficult because the Ferraris are going to be quick, Max is going to be there in the mix.
“So we’ve got a long race ahead of us but I am confident that tomorrow we can also come out on top.”