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Saudi Arabian Grand Prix qualifying results: Perez snatches maiden pole from Leclerc

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R

ed Bull’s Sergio Perez finally claimed the maiden pole position of his 215-race Formula 1 career on a dramatic night of qualifying at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Mexican ‘Checo’ produced a superb final lap at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit to pip the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, who had looked on course for a second straight pole after his flawless victory in Bahrain on opening weekend and clocking the fastest times in all three practice sessions here.

Leclerc’s team-mate Carlos Sainz qualified third, with reigning world champion Max Verstappen only able to secure fourth spot in the other Red Bull as he struggled with the grip on his tyres.

Lewis Hamilton will begin Sunday’s race way down in 16th on the grid after being eliminated in Q1 for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix in 2017, with Mercedes team-mate George Russell managing to split the Alpines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso in sixth.

Sergio Perez claimed the first pole position of his 215-race Formula 1 career in Saudi Arabia

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The top 10 was rounded off by Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen, while McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo will begin 15th after being handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Ocon.

Qualifying was delayed for almost an hour with five minutes left in Q2 after a terrifying high-speed crash involving Mick Schumacher, whose Haas was split in two after he lost control coming out of Turn 11 and slammed hard into the concrete barriers.

Schumacher’s car, travelling at around 170mph, slid down the track as debris flew everywhere.

The German remained in the cockpit after the sickening impact but was conscious and talking to doctors before being taken on a stretcher to a waiting ambulance, which transported him to the on-site medical centre.

Initial assessments revealed no injuries, but Schumacher was flown by helicopter to the King Fahad Armed Forces Hospital for precautionary scans.

Mick Schumacher’s Haas split in half after a horror crash during Q2

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He will not race on Sunday, with Haas only running Magnussen, who impressed again as he qualified in 10th place.

Schumacher has since been released from hospital and tweeted from his hotel: “Hi everyone, I just wanted to say that I’m ok. Thank you for the kind messages. The car felt great @haasf1team, we’ll come back stronger.”

Schumacher’s scary crash was the second time qualifying had to be red flagged, with Q1 stopped early on after Williams driver Nicholas Latifi lost the rear of his car under braking and hit the barriers at Turn 3.

Canadian Latifi was checked and given the all-clear at the nearby medical centre.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is going ahead as planned this weekend after extensive talks to allay widespread driver concerns following Friday’s attack on a nearby oil storage facility.



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Cardinals’ J.J. Watt plans to play just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm

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JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.

JJ Watt says he’s playing Sunday, just days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm.
Image: Getty Images

Arizona Cardinals’ defensive end J.J. Watt posted an alarming Tweet Sunday morning just hours before kickoff of the team’s game on the east coast against the Carolina Panthers. Watt stated that some news about him had been leaked and was going to be reported today. Immediately, most who caught this tweet were probably racking their brains and thinking, ok, what happened? From there, Watt went on to explain the following.

“I went into A-Fib on Wednesday, had my heart shocked back into rhythm on Thursday, and I’m playing today. That’s it.”

Wow! I don’t think anyone expected to hear that about Watt. Everyone is relieved that Watt is out of the hospital and seemingly “alright,” but the fact that he plans to play in this game today only four days after having his heart shocked back into rhythm is scary.

If the Cardinals won’t do it, someone from the league office or the NFLPA needs to step in and force him to sit this game out. After what we’ve seen in the past week, with Tua Tagovailoa suffering two concussions in less than five days, Watt needs to be held out of Arizona’s game today.

No, Watt didn’t sustain an injury to his head, but his heart was shocked so it would work properly. Even if Watt was cleared by his own independent doctor, precautions should be taken just in case. Yes, it’s football, we know that, and everybody is tough. You have to be tough to make it in the NFL, but these players also need protection from themselves regarding their health. It doesn’t matter if atrial fibrillation isn’t “considered” too serious. Take extra precautionary measures and be careful.

Last week, during coverage of the Tua incidents, multiple former NFL players were asked about head injuries along with others and if they’d ever lied to get back into a game. The answer was a resounding YES. Former Patriots and Chargers All-Pro safety Rodney Harrison went on Dan Patrick’s show and admitted to lying about head injuries and others. Harrison says he lied every time he had an injury to continue playing.

Rodney Harrison Discusses Tua’s Injury, Shares How Often He Lied About Injuries | 09/30/22

Patrick also told a story about Steelers legend Hines Ward grabbing his ankle after getting his “bell rung” because he didn’t want to come out of a game. It doesn’t matter if it’s the head or the heart. If it involves either, that player should be further evaluated and forced to sit out a game. We can’t continue to gamble with these guys’ lives.

If Watt ends up playing at 4:05 p.m., it could be the biggest story of the day on the heels of what happened with Tagovailoa over the last week. Left up to them, NFL players will choose to play virtually every time. The league doesn’t want bad PR, yet they continue to invite it at every turn.

The NFL is too concerned about trivial matters like players celebrating or not wearing the “correct” socks. The league fined Lions running back Jamaal Williams for a touchdown dance last week that may have been a little too provocative for their liking. A player can be put in harm’s way after clearly looking concussed and allowed to play a few days later, but heavens forbid a black player offends their audience by swiveling his hips after scoring, à la Ravishing Rick Rude. The NFL needs to be more concerned with the well-being of its players and protecting them as they claim.

Hopefully, someone steps in and talks some sense into Watt or takes the decision out of his hands.





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F1: Sergio Perez wins hectic Singapore Grand Prix as Max Verstappen misses first chance to seal title

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A heavy downpour 30 minutes before the scheduled start time led to an hour-long delay and the first wet start in Singapore since 2017 – when a first corner crash wiped out a Red Bull and two Ferraris, including title contender Sebastian Vettel.

There was no such flying debris at the start this time around but still drama aplenty as Perez leapt past pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton lost out to Carlos Sainz for third.

Verstappen, starting eighth, found himself bogged down off the line and had only recovered to ninth when a safety car was required on lap eight.

Nicholas Latifi, recently confirmed to not be staying in F1 next season, squeezed Guanyu Zhou, who is, into the wall at Turn 5 and both were forced to retire.

Verstappen was quickly up to seventh at the restart before Fernando Alonso, in his record-breaking 350th start, put up stout resistance for his next overtake.

Alas, the Spanish veteran’s Alpine could not match its driver’s longevity and his engine blew on lap 21. A string of virtual safety cars was then began with Alex Albon hitting the wall shortly after the green flag and Esteban Ocon’s engine popping once racing had resumed once more.

The prime time to swap to slick tyres began to dominate thinking as the second hour began on the two-hour limit, with 61 laps a far too ambitious total (perhaps even in the dry).

Hamilton, pushing Sainz for third, came in too hot at Turn 7 and headed straight into the barrier. Fortunately for the Brit, the damage was merely a broken front wing and he clambered out between the sparring Lando Norris and Verstappen.

Moments later, the trigger was pulled by the remaining cars (George Russell aside, who while struggling from a pit-lane start leapt for slicks far too early) and Hamilton was left in ninth place.

Yuki Tsunoda became the sixth retiree after sticking his AlphaTauri in the barrier fresh on Medium tyres, prompting a second full safety car and the fifth interruption to an already-delayed race.

Verstappen, who could have won the title in Singapore had a series of events gone drastically different, locked up lunging at Norris for fourth place and darted down the escape road. Having to pit, he was last for a brief moment before Russell suffered a puncture when giving Mick Schumacher a bump as he overtook the German.

Finally, with half an hour to go, a proper race for the lead broke out. Now on slicks, Leclerc dragged Perez into his crosshairs.

Singapore’s propensity for being a tough circuit to overtake at helped the Mexican survive an onslaught from the Ferrari but Leclerc began to make errors and Perez broke DRS to build out a comfortable lead.

Red Bull came into the weekend with some hope of crowning Verstappen as champion at the chequered flag but it instead heralded a second win of the season for Perez, with a lowly finish of seventh for the championship leader reducing his chances of getting the job done in Japan next week, too.



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Singapore GP: George Russell to start from pit lane after changing his power unit

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Mercedes driver George Russell to start the Singapore Grand Prix in the pit lane after taking a new power unit which exceeded the spending quota for allocated engine parts; the Brit suffered a shock Q2 exit due to a throttle problem and was due to start the race in 11th place on the grid

Last Updated: 02/10/22 11:23am


Russell was frustrated after failing to make it into Q3 due to a problem with the car's brakes in qualifying

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Russell was frustrated after failing to make it into Q3 due to a problem with the car’s brakes in qualifying

Russell was frustrated after failing to make it into Q3 due to a problem with the car’s brakes in qualifying

George Russell will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the pit lane after taking a new power unit which exceeded his number of allocated engine parts.

Russell qualified 11th at the Marina Bay Circuit but he will be demoted to the back after Mercedes changed his power unit.

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The British driver has enjoyed an impressive opening season as Lewis Hamilton’s team-mate, finishing in the top five at every race he has completed.

But Russell will struggle to keep that fine record intact following his penalty.

There was a big shock in qualifying as George Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

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There was a big shock in qualifying as George Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

There was a big shock in qualifying as George Russell failed to make it into Q3 in Singapore

The 24-year-old, who was pipped to Q3 by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, apologised to his team on the team radio, saying: “Sorry about that I really struggled. Exactly the same issue as in practice. Ahhh!”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc lines up from pole position for Sunday’s race ahead of Red Bull driver Sergio Perez with Hamilton third.

Max Verstappen starts only eighth after Red Bull under-fuelled his car. The Dutch driver must win to stand any chance of taking his second title here with five rounds to spare.

Watch the Singapore Grand Prix from 11.30am on Sky Sports F1, with lights out at 1pm.





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