Sergio Perez admits there are always concerns over reliability despite qualifying on pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen failed to set a lap time in Q2 due to a driveshaft failure and will line-up 15th on the grid, with Perez making the most of his teammate’s misfortune to secure the second pole position of his career. Repeating his result from last year in Jeddah, Perez says the nature of the street circuit means he’s still not banking on a victory from pole.
“There’s always reliability concerns, especially around this place,” Perez said. “It is so easy to make damage to the cars and at the end of the day, there will always be reliability concerns. But hopefully not tomorrow.
“It’s a shame, you know. Max has been really strong the whole weekend. So hopefully tomorrow we can have both cars up there, as you never know with these cars, reliability issues can hit you at any time.”
Verstappen had looked dominant up to the point of his issue and is still targeting the podium on Sunday, but Perez isn’t concerned about his teammate catching him if he can keep Fernando Alonso at bay.
“I am not going to approach the race tomorrow thinking about Max. First of all, I have to make sure I’m able to keep the lid on the initial laps. And if I’m able to do that, to keep this lion (Alonso) behind, it will be good, because I think I can focus on my race.”
Perez was able to beat Charles Leclerc — who has a grid penalty — to pole by a little over 0.15s after his first Q3 run proved good enough, and he says there’s an added thrill to qualifying on the high-speed street layout.
“When you have a good car that you can push around this place, you really feel the F1 cars coming alive. And getting a clean, good lap, you know when you nail it. That Q3 run one was quite a good jump. I had a good jump from all my previous laps, and that meant that I was able to get the pole, because my second lap, I didn’t manage to get it.
“I just had a front lock going into Turn 1. That has been really tricky. Turn 1 and Turn 2, always starting the lap into 1 and 2, it was so easy just to lose two tenths (of a second) straightaway there, especially with the low downforce that we’re running. And just nailing that combination of corners will require a lot of temperature on our tires as well, so just in general, just getting that lap, nailing that lap, was really nice.”