Sergio Perez stormed to a stunning maiden pole position under the floodlights in a crash-interrupted qualifying session on Saturday for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The Red Bull driver left his best for last as he lapped the 6.1km long Jeddah Corniche circuit on the banks of the Red Sea in one minute 28.200 seconds to deny Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz a Ferrari front-row lockout.

The Mexican's world champion team-mate Max Verstappen was fourth.

"What a lap, unbelievable," Perez, who edged Leclerc by just 0.025 seconds, said after the session.

"I can do a thousand laps and I don't think I can beat that lap.

"We were not really expecting to match the Ferraris on qualifying. Hopefully we beat them tomorrow," added the 32-year-old who has two F1 career wins.

Saturday's session, around the challenging Jeddah layout made up mainly of high-speed blind sweeps and flat-out straights, was halted by two red flags.

Mick Schumacher crashed heavily during the second phase of qualifying, bringing the session to a halt for nearly an hour as track workers repaired barriers and cleaned the track of debris and oil.

The German Haas driver, who did not appear to have any injuries following an initial assessment at the track, was taken to an armed forces hospital in Jeddah for precautionary checks, the governing FIA said.

Seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton made a shock early exit after failing to get past qualifying's opening knockout phase. The winner in Saudi Arabia last year will line up 16th in his Mercedes for Sunday's race.