Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc magnanimously gave his congratulations to Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after the Mexican put in a tremendous lap to take pole position for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Carlos Sainz set the quickest time of the first run in the final qualifying session, but Leclerc went quicker late on and looked for all the world as though he was on to claim his eleventh career pole.
But Perez put in a once in a lifetime tour of the 6.1 kilometre Jeddah Corniche Circuit to claim his first ever pole position after 218 previous attempts in Formula 1.
Leclerc revealed that there was little else he could have done during his final lap of the session.
“The lap felt good honestly,” he said after qualifying.
“I am very happy with the lap. All qualifying was all about just keeping it on the track and not doing any mistakes which would have been very costly and then in Q3 in the second lap I just went for it and I more or less put it together, there’s a little bit here and there.”
He recognised Perez’s excellent performance, and praised the former Sauber, McLaren and Racing Point driver on his maiden pole.
“But yeah I definitely did not expect Checo to come with that lap time so congratulations to him and I’m pretty sure he did an incredible job today,” he added.
Ferrari’s pace in the first and third sectors has looked mightily impressive thus far this weekend, so the Monegasque is fully aware that it is all to play for in the race.
“It’s another day tomorrow and hopefully we will have a good start,” he stated.
Ferrari obtained their first one-two finish in 35 races last weekend in Bahrain and, starting second and third through Leclerc and team-mate Carlos Sainz, there will be confidence in the Ferrari camp that they can record another victory on Sunday.