Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton will start on pole for Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after title rival Max Verstappen crashed his Red Bull on the final corner of qualifying on Saturday (Hamilton 2/5, Verstappen 3/1 – Race Winner).

In a dramatic qualifying session, Drivers’ Championship leader Verstappen, who holds a narrow eight-point lead over Hamilton at the top of the standings, had looked set to better his rival’s time before he hit the wall on the exit for Turn 27 on his final qualifying lap.

To add insult to injury for Verstappen, Hamilton’s Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas (12/1 Race Winner) also beat the Dutchman’s previous qualifying time to secure a Mercedes one-two on the front of the grid for Sunday’s race at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Verstappen, who can clinch his first championship success if he outscores Hamilton by 18 points in Sunday’s race, was understandably disappointed by his late crash, but he is confident Red Bull still have the pace to come out on top on Sunday.

“In general it was a good qualifying, I knew the pace was there and it showed at the end,” the 24-year-old told reporters, as per Sky Sports.

“I don’t really understand what happened but I locked up, I still tried to keep the car on track and keep going but clipped the rear and had to stop.

“P3 is of course a bit disappointing knowing what lap I was on. But nevertheless it shows the car is quick and let’s see what we can do at the end of the race.”

Hamilton is also wary of the threat Red Bull will pose come race day, but the Briton was still delighted to see Mercedes lock out the front row (Pick Your Punt – Verstappen Fastest Lap & Hamilton Race Winner – 7/2).

“For us to get a one-two, I’m really proud of Valtteri and everyone on the team, this is a great result,” Hamilton said. “Those guys [Red Bull] were just so fast. They’ve obviously fixed something from their setup and they were rapid today.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc will start alongside Verstappen on the second row after beating the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez into fourth, while the top 10 was completed by AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris of McLaren, the second AlphaTauri of Yuki Tsunoda, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon and the Alfa Romeo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

Formula 1 Betting Odds