A late showing from Felipe Drugovich saw the MP Motorsport racer snatch pole in the final minute of Qualifying with a time of 1:40.422. The Brazilian finished ahead of Trident’s Richard Verschoor and Virtuosi racing’s Jack Doohan to take his first pole since Silverstone 2020 in another red-flag hampered session.
Boschung has been a consistent top 10 Qualifier since Round 4 of the 2021 campaign, and it was the Campos Racing driver who set the benchmark in Jeddah with a 1:42.096 at the end of the first flyers.
Breaking the 1m 42s barrier for the first time, Hughes took P1 before Théo Pourchaire – who had crashed in Free Practice - pulled to a stop on track and red-flagged the session with smoke coming from the back of his ART Grand Prix.
The time to beat when running resumed was Hughes’ 1:41.538, still 0.660s slower than Oscar Piastri’s pole lap from last year. The resumption was short-lived, though. Boschung was half a second up on his previous time when a crash from Logan Sargeant caused a second Red Flag.
Around half the field headed back out when the lights at the pit exit went green and it was Marcus Armstrong who emerged at the front, setting a 1:41.050 to put himself on provisional pole with five minutes to go.
Having seen his previous lap ruined by a Red Flag, Boschung’s next attempt was affected by traffic. Despite the momentary holdup, he still managed to go second, just 0.007s off Armstrong.
A final red flag period occurred after Vesti clipped the wall, which triggered the medical alert system. Although Vesti continued, as a precaution, the standard safety procedure was activated.
Those who hadn’t used up their rubber dove back onto the tarmac when running resumed - Armstrong and Boschung not amongst them.
Watching the remainder of the session from the pitwall, Armstrong thought he’d wrapped things up before Drugovich posted a purple first sector. Continuing to go green in Sector 2 and purple in the final sector, Drugovich found a phenomenal six tenths on Armstrong to snatch first place.
Verschoor - fresh off his Sprint Race win in Bahrain – was the only other driver to go under 1m 41s and dove into second. Meanwhile, Doohan managed to take third from Armstrong by 0.026s.
Boschung completed the top five ahead of Carlin’s Liam Lawson and DAMS’ Ayumu Iwasa. Calan Williams qualified eighth to put both Trident’s in the top 10, ahead of Hitech’s Juri Vips.
Jake Hughes finished 10th and will start from reverse pole ahead of Vips in the Sprint Race at 3.30pm local time today