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Perez ends 11-year wait on pole and makes Mexican history

Sergio Perez waited 11 years for his first Formula 1 pole position and when it finally arrived, in the spotlight in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, it was an absolute crack.

The 32-year-old Mexican achieved the trick of his life to take first place for Red Bull in what will be his 215th Grand Prix start.

He also came on the 11th anniversary of his first qualifying session for Sauber on March 26, 2011, at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

No one else has ever waited so long for a pole, ‘Checo’ taking the record from Australian Mark Webber whose first, also with Red Bull, came 131st time to ask at the Nuerburgring in 2009.

“It took me a few races but what a ride,” said Perez, whose teammate and reigning world champion Max Verstappen qualified fourth.

“I can do 1,000 laps and I don’t think I can beat that lap. It was amazing.”

Team boss Christian Horner was equally thrilled for a popular driver who also became the first Mexican to claim pole position in Formula 1.

“I’m so, so happy for Checo,” he told Sky Sports television.

“He’s working harder than ever and that lap was powerful. We could see it coming, and Ferraris have created such a competitive market. For Checo to go and do it, it’s only the second time I think he’s is overqualified, Max.

“And to do a lap like that, here on the toughest and most dangerous circuit we’re going to, an incredible performance from him.

“Whatever he ate for lunch, breakfast and dinner last night, we’re going to feed him the same, give him the same tomorrow. A phenomenal performance from him.”

Perez had been third fastest but lapped the lightning-fast street circuit with the best time of one minute 28.200 seconds after Ferrari championship leader Charles Leclerc set a 1:28.225.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz qualified third in 1:28.402.

“I think there is no other circuit like this. If I can get pole here, I can get pole anywhere in the world,” said Perez, who joked in saying he took a few shots of tequila during the long stop after Mick Schumacher crashed. Haas.

“It’s definitely the most demanding place to get the perfect lap, you know, the level of risk, the level of precision you need to have around that place is just huge,” said the Mexican.


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