Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, as Max Verstappen crashes out while on a flying lap through the last stages of the session.

Q1 began with half of the field lined up at the pit lane exit to start their night-time qualifying sessions on the soft compounds, something which generated worry in some drivers who expressed concern for the amount of traffic through the last sector of the track.

Minutes later the entire field was on the track, making it busy for those who were starting their flying laps. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was the first driver to lap a significant time of 1:28.659s, overtaking Lando Norris’ time by 0.4s.

In the last minute of Q1, Verstappen was on a flying lap but had to slow down due to a lot of slow traffic through the last sectors of the track, which meant Sergio Perez took the fastest time of the session ahead of Valtteri Bottas by 0.036s.

At the same time, Bottas reported engine problems and briefly stopped at the pit entry.

Despite his problems, Bottas lined up for Q2 at the start of the session, which started in a rather calm way in terms of traffic, with Verstappen topping the charts halfway through, with Finnish driver behind by 0.277s.

Yellow flags were out a minute later as Carlos Sainz spun through turn 11, slightly touching the barriers with his rear wing, which was damaged from the incident, forcing the Spaniard to pit.

At the time, Lewis Hamilton placed 4th in the standings as he struggled with the grip around the track. However, he set the fastest time of the session in the final minute.

Red Bull’s Perez finished in second place behind Hamilton by 0.2s, with his teammate Verstappen third. A replay afterward showed Bottas and Raikkönen make contact and nearly avoid a big crash.

The final qualifying session saw Verstappen dominate the charts through the final moments, and even with a margin of 0.3s to second-place Bottas, the Dutchman asked his team for a tow from Perez. However, his place was stolen by Hamilton in the last two minutes of the session.

Qualifying ended in huge drama as Max Verstappen crashed with the wall through the final sector of the lap as he was setting the fastest lap of the session. This meant Lewis Hamilton claimed pole position for the Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas behind, and the Dutchman third.

Full provisional results:

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:27.511
2Valtteri BottasMercedes+0.111
3Max VerstappenRed Bull
4Charles LeclercFerrari+0.543
5Sergio PerezRed Bull+0.612
6Pierre GaslyAlphaTauri+0.614
7Lando NorrisMcLaren+0.669
8Yuki TsunodaAlphaTauri+0.931
9Esteban OconAlpine+1.136
10Antonio GiovinazziAlfa Romeo+1.243
11Daniel RicciardoMcLaren
12Kimi RaikkönenAlfa Romeo
13Fernando AlonsoAlpine
14George RusellWilliams
15Carlos SainzFerrari
16Nicholas LatifiWilliams
17Sebastian VettelAston Martin
18Lance StrollAston Martin
19Mick SchumacherHaas
20Nikita MazepinHaas

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