Hamilton seventh as Verstappen faces uphill battle at Saudi Arabian GP

Hamilton opens up on plans to remain in F1 ahead of new season

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Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for a productive race at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as he looks to pick up a generous haul of points despite starting from seventh place on the grid. The 38-year-old failed to pull up any trees in Saturday’s qualifying session but is still in a much better position than Red Bull rival Max Verstappen, who will line up in 15th position after suffering a mechanical failure in Q2 at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

The Dutchman was widely tipped as the overwhelming favourite for pole in Saudi Arabia after dominating in all three practice sessions but was unable to set a lap time in Q2 thanks to a driveshaft problem, which prematurely ended his hopes of challenging for a front-row start. It was also a tricky afternoon for Hamilton, who later admitted that he is finding life tough at Mercedes this year despite giving everything for the team in recent weeks.

“I just don’t feel connected to this car and I can’t get it,” said Hamilton. “I don’t really know what I am going to do about that. It is miserable. It is tough, I am giving it absolutely everything.

“I am here as late as I can be every day and I am preparing the best you can and I get in the car and I just can’t connect with it. I don’t really know what to say about it. It is good that George had a good run today so that is great. He will hopefully be able to score some good points for the team and I will try and recover tomorrow, it is a new day. I will give it everything.”

Follow Express Sport‘s live updates below.

Qualifying recap

Sergio Perez managed to claim pole position for today’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen suffered a mechanical failure to damage his hopes of challenging for victory in qualifying in Jeddah.

The Dutchman was the heavy favourite to clock the fastest time on Saturday but was unable to set a meaningful lap in Q2, which means that he will start from 15th position when the five red lights go out on Sunday.

Verstappen’s absence sparked a multi-car scrap for pole in Q3, with Perez eventually coming out on top thanks to a near-flawless lap at the start of the session.

He will be followed off the line on Sunday by Fernando Alonso, who initially qualified in third but moves up a position thanks to Charles Leclerc’s 10-place grid penalty.

Catch up on the full story from qualifying HERE.

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to Express Sport‘s live coverage of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with Sergio Perez starting on pole at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the second time in as many years.

The Mexican driver was given a clear run at pole in Q3 in the absence of Max Verstappen, who is facing an uphill battle to maintain his 100 per cent winning record in 2023 from down in 15th on the grid after suffering a mechanical failure in Q2.

Fernando Alonso will be Perez’s biggest rival over the course of today’s 50-lap contest as a result, while George Russell will also be hoping to get involved in the battle at the front after securing a third-placed start in qualifying.

However, it could be another difficult evening for Lewis Hamilton after struggling to get to grips with his machinery against the clock yesterday.

We’re just an hour away from lights out in Jeddah and will be on hand to keep you updated with the on-track action as it unfolds…

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