Lewis Hamilton has finally captured pole position for Sunday’s GP in Saudi Arabia. Verstappen seemed well on his way to take pole, but a rare steering error that caused him to hit the wall saw both Hamilton and Bottas (Mercedes) set even better times.
The British reigning and seven-time world champion completed his fastest lap on the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in 1:27.511, 111 thousandths of a second faster than his Finnish teammate Valtteri Bottas. Verstappen has to make peace with a place on the second row, next to Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
The Dutch World Cup leader seemed to be on his way to pole position in Jeddah on his last lap, until he went through a corner too fast in the third sector and parked his Red Bull-Honda against the wall. Verstappen had flirted with a crash several times during that fast lap. Hopefully for the Dutchman his gearbox has not been hit, because replacing it is equivalent to punishment.
The F1 season is approaching its climax with the 22nd and final World Cup round next week, the Abu Dhabi GP. The battle for the world title this year is a true neck-and-neck race between Verstappen and Hamilton. The Dutchman has the best cards on paper with two GPs ahead of him (including the one in Saudi Arabia) and is eight points ahead of the Brit in the World Cup position, who has invariably been faster in recent GPs. However, Verstappen can already conquer the world title on Sunday.
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