20th March 2023 – (Jeddah) Red Bull’s Sergio Perez emerged victorious in the Formula 1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on Sunday, after teammate Max Verstappen fought back from a disastrous qualifying session to take second place.
Starting from pole position, Perez was overtaken by Fernando Alonso at the opening corner, but quickly regained the lead on Lap 4 and never looked back, securing his fifth career win and his first since last season’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Verstappen had a difficult start to the race after a driveshaft issue left him starting in 15th position. However, a Safety Car period on Lap 18 allowed him to make up ground, and by Lap 25 he had moved into second place behind Perez.
Despite complaining about problems with his driveshaft later in the race, Verstappen managed to set the fastest lap of the race and finish in second place, although he was never able to challenge Perez for the lead.
Perez was pleased with the result, having narrowly missed out on a potential win in last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix after losing the race lead during a Safety Car period. “Again, the Safety Car wanted to take the victory from us, but we did the right thing and it was nice to get it done,” he said.
Fernando Alonso took third place for the second consecutive race, but was initially demoted to fourth by stewards after not serving a five-second time penalty correctly earlier in the race. However, his position was reinstated after Aston Martin successfully argued that other drivers had not been penalized for similar offences.
In the Constructors’ Championship, Red Bull remain in the lead with 87 points, followed by Aston Martin and Mercedes in second and third place respectively.
Looking ahead, the next race on the calendar is the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne’s Albert Park on 2nd April.
Despite his strong start to the season, Verstappen faced a setback in qualifying for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when a driveshaft issue left him starting in 15th position.
However, the Dutchman quickly set about making up ground, and by Lap 25 he had moved into second place behind teammate Perez.
Although he complained about problems with his driveshaft later in the race, Verstappen was able to set the fastest lap of the race and secure second place, although he was unable to challenge Perez for the lead.
“I thought we both pushed more than we needed because in the end it was just one tenth between us – the result wouldn’t have changed. In the end, it’s a massive team result,” said Perez.
Verstappen’s strong recovery means he remains at the top of the championship standings with 44 points, just one point ahead of Perez in second place.
Fernando Alonso secured third place in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but not without some drama along the way.
The Spaniard was initially demoted to fourth by stewards after not serving a five-second time penalty correctly earlier in the race. However, his position was reinstated after Aston Martin successfully argued that other drivers had not been penalized for similar offences.
Despite the setback, Alonso put in a strong performance to take his second consecutive third place finish, behind the Red Bulls of Perez and Verstappen.
The result means Alonso moves up to third place in the championship standings with 30 points.
Mercedes drivers George Russell and Lewis Hamilton took fourth and fifth places respectively in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, ahead of the twin Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.