Saudi F1 Grand Prix live: Latest updates from Jeddah as Verstappen starts 15th

Welcome to our live coverage for the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix from the Jeddah Corniche Circuit. After romping home to victory in the opening round, Max Verstappen will have a more difficult task to take victory in the second race of the new season, after suffering a mechanical issue in qualifying. 

Verstappen, who had led every session up to that point and was miles ahead in Q1, had a driveshaft failure in the second part of qualifying yesterday without a lap on the board. That means he will start 15th in today’s race. In fairness, it is probably just as well as the dominance he was showing meant a repeat of his easy Bahrain win a fortnight ago looked very likely. As an example: the gap between Verstappen and second-placed Sergio Perez in Q1 was larger than the gap between Perez and 12th place Esteban Ocon…

In the final reckoning it was Perez who found the time in Q3 to take his second career pole position – his last came at this track a year ago, although he could not convert that to victory. Charles Leclerc put in a fairly encouraging lap for Ferrari, just a tenth and a half off Perez’s time. The worry is that the gap might have been closer to a second had Verstappen made it into Q3. However, Leclerc takes a 10-place grid drop for an unscheduled power unit change so will start 12th.