Sergio Perez toppled the two Ferraris at the death to secure the first pole position of his 11-year Formula 1 career. 

The Mexican had to wait for 215 grands prix to secure top spot in qualifying but he did it in spectacular fashion.

Perez was overjoyed after qualifying in Jeddah, claiming he couldn’t repeat his pole lap even if he had 1000 attempts.

“It took me a couple of races, no?” Perez said. “But what a lap. I can do a thousand laps and I don’t think I can beat that lap, it was unbelievable.”

Perez will have Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz behind him on the grid, with Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen in close company in fourth.

Advantage Red Bull?

It looked certain to be a Ferrari front-row lockout in Jeddah when Leclerc stormed to the top of the timesheets with a 1m28.225s.

While the challenge from Red Bull was expected to come from Verstappen, out of nowhere Perez took to the top to claim his maiden pole position.

Even afterwards, Perez was surprised to have beaten the two Ferraris given Red Bull was putting its focus towards race day.

“We weren’t really expecting to match the Ferraris in qualifying, we were focussing mainly on the race,” Perez said on Saturday. “So hopefully we’ll get them tomorrow.”

Perez has traditionally been stronger on race day with his tyre management one of his key strengths alongside his superior race-craft.

Red Bull is in a great position to take its first victory of the season with Perez on pole position, and with Verstappen in fourth, it can be aggressive strategically with the reigning world champion to get him into the mix.

Another string to Red Bull’s bow in 2022 is its superior straight-line speed performance.

While Ferrari holds the advantage in the corners, Red Bull’s speed on the straights should make it an exciting duel at the front of the field between F1’s two top teams.

Red Bull will also have to be wary of the fuel pump issue which resulted in a double DNF at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix last time out.

Will Hamilton recover from P16?

Lewis Hamilton endured his worst qualifying result since the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix when he crashed out in Q1 at Interlagos.

You’d have to go back to the 2009 British Grand Prix to find the last time Hamilton was knocked out of qualifying on pure speed (wet weather/reliability aside). 

It seemed that Hamilton simply wasn’t on top of the Mercedes W13 with confidence so important around a high-speed circuit such as Jeddah.

George Russell fared much better but only qualified sixth, behind the Alpine of Esteban Ocon.

It’s rare to see Hamilton struggle so much for outright pace - Monaco last year was the only similar case in recent years.

With Hamilton down in P16, how likely is a recovery from the seven-time champion?

On the basis of the two days of running in Jeddah, Mercedes is in a midfield fight with Alpine, Alfa Romeo, AlphaTauri and Haas.

With the field so close and Mercedes’ advantage minimal over the midfield pack, a top 10 finish would be a good recovery given Russell was someway off the leading quartet.

Potential for more chaos in Jeddah

The ‘fastest street circuit in the world’ will no doubt throw up more chaos on Sunday.

We’ve already had a taste of that in Formula 2 with much of the sprint race taken up by Safety Car stoppages and incidents.

F1 qualifying was interrupted by over 50 minutes after Mick Schumacher crashed heavily on the exit at Turn 10.

The lengthy stoppage was due to a repair in the barriers and the oil spilt on the track from the stricken Haas. 

With these 2022 cars even trickier to drive, particularly with a fuel tank of fuel, we could be set for similar incidents and thus lengthy delays.

The inaugural race in 2021 had two red flags and continuous drama at the front as Hamilton and Verstappen duelled it out for the win.

Here’s hoping for a safe race but a great fight throughout the field.’s Prediction

Like in Bahrain, the battle at the front looks to be between Ferrari and Red Bull after locking out the top two rows on the grid. 

Ferrari didn’t complete any race running during second practice after both of its drivers had brushes with the barriers.

With Perez already admitting that Red Bull has put its focus on the race, the Milton Keynes outfit would be my favourite going into the grand prix.

However, this is Jeddah and anything can happen in terms of drama.

Red Bull’s reliability issues could resurface or it could be an incident-filled grand prix.

If it’s a mundane race then my money is on Verstappen and Perez to secure a 1-2 for Red Bull.

But given that Jeddah is likely to throw up another dramatic race, we’ve gone for a more outlandish prediction with Sainz taking his maiden F1 victory.

The Spaniard's best qualifying effort came on a used set of tyres, failing to improve on his new set at the end of Q3.

With pace in hand and his ability to score big results over the years in chaotic races, F1 could be set for a new winner on Sunday.

Ocon will also get redemption for missing out on the podium last year on the final lap with third.

Third: Esteban Ocon (Alpine)

Second: Sergio Perez (Red Bull)

Winner: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)