Mick Schumacher hospitalized after shocking accident

Sergio Perez clinched his first career pole position at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix as Formula 1 continued amid intense scrutiny on Saturday, the day after an attack on a nearby oil depot.

Perez edged the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr. on his final lap, pushing his own Red Bull teammate Max Verstappen – the world champion – into fourth place.

The focus throughout the day was on why F1 continued racing so close to the bombed-out, smoke-covered depot some 11 kilometers from the track.

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Sainz Jr. agreed with the decision to race but said the matter would not go away once the F1 globetrotters travel to Australia and then Europe.

“We will have to discuss after this race,” said the Spanish driver. “Because what happened in the last 24 hours is definitely a talking point.”

Lewis Hamilton is usually so outspoken about human rights and other important issues. But this time he said little about the collective decision to race – which followed hours of talk Friday night – other than that he can’t wait to get home.

F1 continues amid terror attack in Saudi Arabia

“I’m not here to comment on that. Together, as a group, we all discussed and made a decision as a sport,” Hamilton said. “I don’t feel anything special about it, I can’t wait to get out.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton is the F1 record holder with 103 pole positions and 103 wins, but produced one of his worst qualifying performances in 16th.

There was a serious accident during the second part of qualifying as Mick Schumacher crippled his spinning Haas car and slid backwards into a wall at the nerve-racking Jiddah circuit, raising a red flag.

Schumacher was flown in by helicopter for examinations. Haas team principal Guenther Steiner said he could be kept overnight as a precaution and would not race.

“The best thing is that Mick apparently has no injuries. He’s in the hospital right now being assessed by the doctors, so he’s in good hands,” Steiner said. “Based on these facts and where we are, we have decided not to field his car tomorrow.”

However, most of the talk on Saturday was not about racing.

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